new-york

Mary Lucier

Lennon, Weinberg, Inc.

A larger-than-life-size digital projection shows a short-haired black man in a suit and tie sitting against a white backdrop. Obviously deaf, he gesticulates vividly, even urgently, while emitting various grunts, moans, and other nonlinguistic vocalizations. There is such a communicative fervor to his performance that it is easy to forget that one cannot understand him. The camera recording all this is not stationary but moves unobtrusively, as if sensitively following the story; the tape has been subtly processed so that it is slightly jerky. At one point the scene splits into two superimposed images, as though the man were condemned to play the roles of both speaker and listener.

It is impossible not to stand transfixed before this impenetrable tale—a fact that becomes all the more remarkable when one realizes that the teller is not using any known system for deaf communication. My

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