in collaboration with George Quasha and Charles Stein
Video (color, stereo sound); 7:19 min.
Figuring Grounds was created for the Collector’s Edition of An Art of Limina: Gary Hill’s Works and Writings + Figuring Grounds (Barcelona: Ediciones Poligrafa, 2009), edition of 150; signed and numbered.
Color video camera, microphone and closed-circuit video monitor
Figuring Grounds – like Tale Enclosure, 1985 – was edited from three hours of recordings made at the Stained Glass Studio in Barrytown, New York, where Hill’s Why Do Things Get in a Muddle? (Come On Petunia), 1984, was also taped. Facing one another, Quasha and Stein begin vocalizing from the very grain of language, and the improvisational search for voices passes through recognizable swarms of phonemes with a possible word or phrase briefly coming into focus now and then. Camera movements and continual focal play mirror the highly nuanced vocal expression, tightly coupled with body and facial movements. The voices build upon one another, rising and falling in volume and pitch, sometimes in unison, other times in “conversation,” in a seeming attempt to let the primary roots of language speak for themselves.