Happenstance (part one of many parts), 1982-1983
Happenstance (part one of many parts), 1982-1983

Gary Hill
Happenstance (part one of many parts), 1982-1983
Video (color, stereo sound)U-maticRunning Time 4:17 (4:17 EA/Voyager) 6min 30 sec
Edition of 30 ex + 5 AP
l'artiste & Galerie In Situ - fabienne leclerc, Paris



     The opening sequence of this black-and-white work shows the square, circle and triangle as the basic elements of the formal repertoire. They are joined by letters and words, whose configuration suggests the shape of the triangle. Simultaneously sounds are linked to the visual elements : a bass drum to the square, crash cymbal to the circle and a kind of 'twang' sound to the triangle.


    After first concretizing themselves amorphous electronic forms (almost like reading stars, a bird, a fish, a snake and a frog  seem to appear if for only moments) become lost in abstract structures as individual words and sentences play counter point. The interplay between language and image builds to a text filled page : "vanishing points" which shifts down the page into "points vanishing". The letters, which initially morph to a pyramid, now turn into the humus from which grows a letter tree whose leaves fall to the ground as characters, partially forming words there.


    Hill is creating a kind of choreography of thought which - as already seen in Videograms (GHCR 43) - gives rise to an area of tension between the images and the spoken or written texts. At the textual level, he addresses the ephemerality of linguistic meanings inside the 'nature' of language. Musical and sound elements underscore the character of the individual passages and the complex intertextuality of the work.



Catalogue Gary Hill, Selected Works + Catalogue raisonné, edition Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, 2002