new-york

Gary Hill

Whitney Museum of American Art

The architecture of Gary Hill’s video installation Primarily Speaking, 1981–83, enforces a somewhat distanced response—there’s no particularly good position from which to experience the whole thing. Two white slablike structures face each other, forming a corridor perhaps six feet wide; four video monitors are mounted in each of these monoliths at a little above eye level, facing the four monitors in the opposite wall. Images usually appear on only one monitor on each side at any one time, with the other three monitors showing blank screens of color—the additive primaries blue, green, and red on one wall, and the subtractive primaries cyan, magenta, and yellow on the other; at various points during the presentation these color triads switch sides. Meanwhile a spoken soundtrack is heard from speakers mounted behind each wall, coming now from one side, now from the other.

Standing at the end

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