On the Outskirts

On the Outskirts

“Had I simply lost consciousness and awakened with a bird’s eye view of a cinematic event? Perhaps I was only peering into an optical contraption—a prototype of some kind—swimming through its seductive illusionary space having forgotten it was pressed up against my own face. Or, had I embarked on a somnambulistic journey that night? I live on the outskirts of a desert border town—a place of quietude conducive to a sleepwalk of any length that would have me nowhere in no time at all.” – Gary Hill, Cutting Corners Creates Mores Sides

Revered for his masterful use of diverse media, Hill skillfully crafts phenomenological encounters. His concentration on the dynamics of perception results in deconstructed image boundaries. Through this dismantling, Machiavellian elements of media, most notably surveillance and seduction, are laid bare. On the Outskirts presents the works Cutting Corners Creates More Sides and the SELF ( ) series.

Five acrylic sculptures make up the SELF ( ) series. In an echo of optometry, the seemingly-clinical objects feature padded eyepieces that occupy the center of the artworks. A glimpse into their interior chambers reveals a live feed of the viewer. Embedded cameras are angled to exclude the subject’s face in a beguiling act of disassociation. The sculptures act as instruments of surveillance, yet reveal abstract reflections. This displacement is characteristic of Hill’s disregard for normative viewing processes. By eliminating se­lf-recognition, SELF ( ) supplants instant gratification with inspection. The series includes SELF A–F, yet omits SELF E in an effort to replace the banalities of selfie culture with disorienting portraiture.

Hill’s artworks often create exceptional viewing experiences that verge towards synesthesia. On the Outskirts unites the cunning idiosyncrasy of media with experiments in image comprehension. Cutting Corners Creates More Sides is a mixed media installation narrated by voices emanating from a long plane of embedded speakers. A diptych of two-channel video projects a patina of fantastic shapes and colors. The images sway in and out of focus, miming myopia as the camera traverses a bizarre landscape. As the viewer attempts to match the focus of the dual screens, moments of harmony emerge in congruent instances. What once appeared as phantasmagoric color fields slowly transfigures into quotidian objects as the narrator queries, “Was it simply a question of synchronicity?”

On the Outskirts

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