Video (black-and-white, stereo sound)
Original format: ½-inch reel-to-reel
Running time: 8:00 min.
Three black-and-white video cameras, Dave Jones prototype modules (analog-to-digital converter, digital-to-analog converter, bit switch, video switch/sequencer, output amplifier) and Serge audio modules
The basis of this “sound/image construct,” recorded in real time, are three black-and-white still images: a keyboard, a flute, and an African drum. These motifs are altered through digitalization, solarization, and interframe switching. As they alternate, the images are accompanied acoustically by simple tonal routines of the instruments shown – little sequences of sound on the keyboard, some drum beats, a brief trill of the flute. The solarization effect of the images changes with the sounds. The work intensifies as it progresses, and images and sounds succeed one another ever more rapidly until a melody of the three instruments emerges. The frequency of the video images continues to increase, with the result that the images pulsate ever more quickly until they gradually overlay one another, producing a cinematographic effect through interferences. Parallel to this, the audio frequency of the melody rises until fundamental tones form, lasting several seconds. At this point, the three still images overlap one another in strips. The higher the keynote incrementally soars, the narrower the vertical strips become until all three motifs, superimposed line by line, create an overall image. Further manipulation of the signals causes the sound to change into new tones. After a number of transformations the image plane divides into vertical fields, in which segments of the three base motifs can be seen, corresponding to the tonal sequences. Together the modulated sounds and the increasing bands of images multiply to produce a kind of double moiré in which the composite image has become an abstract ‘machine’ or music box.
An Art of Limina: Gary Hill’s Works and Writings, by George Quasha and Charles Stein (Barcelona: Ediciones Polígrafa, 2009)