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Focus: Gary Hill

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

Enchantment is the province of the image, and the image is never more enchanting than when it is unmoored, hovering in the indeterminate realm of fascination. In Gary Hill’s Between Cinema and a Hard Place, 1991, video monitors with their outer casings removed punctuate the dimly lit space like volcanic debris. Pastoral images move across the disembodied screens, as magical as the Romantic landscapes believers conjure from such tortured stones. The spoken text is from Heidegger. A fragment: “When the word is called the mouth’s flower and its blossom, we hear the sound of language rising like the earth.”

Hill’s work is seductive in part because it is nothing like most video art. A shockingly static form, too long in thrall to its “specificity,” video art continues to display the traits that have marked it since its inception: an overt reliance on the hardware, idioms, and relentless flow of

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