Astronomy by Day (and other oxymorons), 2003-04
Two-channel video installation, silent
Four video projectors with customized wall mounts, two-channel synchronizer, two DVD players and two DVDs (black-and-white; silent)
Dimensions: total projection size approx. 30 h. x 40 w. ft. (9.14 x 12.2 meters)
Unique commission for the Seattle Central Public Library, Seattle, Washington
A permanent commission for the Seattle Central Public Library in Seattle, Washington, Astronomy by Day (and other oxymorons) is a two-channel video installation projected on the 40 x 40 ft. east wall of the atrium, between levels 6 – 9. Conceptually, the work consists of a series of computer-generated 3D objects viewed from a continuous forward tracking shot that moves almost imperceptibly forward. Hundreds of objects - encyclopedic in nature - form a vast, almost infinite, landscape that the viewer drifts through. The objects have been placed on an imaginary spherical plane that is large enough to make the curve of the “horizon” barely visible. The sense is of one going around the world passing through things—a kind of memory of the object world in which coming, going, future and past are möbius and present. The video is a seamless loop, approximately 30 minutes in length, that is rendered entirely in wireframe mode and looks suspiciously like architectural drawings but with distinct differences. Various rendering filters produce subtle shades of gray, lending a strange dimensionality to the lines themselves, which are suggestive of ancient and hyper-futuristic visions. The image, being black and white and diagrammatical in nature, suggests more of a textual idiomatic space of “things” than an imagistic one per say. The image plane continuously fluctuates between very flat and deep space. Linear trajectories, webs, lattices and varying densities of faceted clusters hint at the architectural strata and “skin” of the building itself.
Hackett, Regina. “Videos, Talking Heads, and a Multilingual Floor.” Seattle Post-Intelligencer (May 20, 2004), F10.
Richman, Elise. “Beyond Decoration.” Seattle Weekly (June 16 – 22, 2004), p. 73.
Farr, Sheila. “’WOW’ intoxicates, vexes the senses.” The Seattle Times (November 5, 2004).
Melkisethian, Angela. “Public Art Projects in the Seattle Region.” Sculpture 23, 10 (December 2004), pp. 26 – 27.
Quasha, George and Charles Stein. An Art of Limina: Gary Hill’s Works and Writings. Barcelona: Ediciones Polígrafa, 2009, pp. 568.