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PRINT November 2004

SPEAKING VOLUMES: THE ART OF SUSAN HILLER

The following article obeys two rules likely to make aficionados of Susan Hiller’s work smile wryly. One: The writer will tell the truth. Two: She will not use any first-person pronouns.

Readers not thoroughly familiar with Hiller will want an explanation. In fact, the rules are borrowed from the artist herself. Lurking in small print, they inhabit the footnotes to a talk/performance she gave in London nearly thirty years ago. Rule One begs questions, to say the least. Beyond a deliberate factual misrepresentation, what would constitute a critical “lie?” Who cares if critics dissemble, as long as their comments are pertinent? Rule Two, on the other hand, seems the syntactical equivalent of a ball-and-chain, given the writer’s self-referential stance. But rest assured: There’s method in this masochism. Responding to “Recall: A Selection of Works 1969–2004”––Hiller’s acclaimed summer 2004

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