Site Cite, 1993
Gary Hill, George Quasha, Charles Stein, and Joan Jonas
Intermedia performance for projection screen, two projectors, two video cameras, wooden fulcrum (balanced boom for mounting and maneuvering cameras), video recorder capable of noiseless reverse play, four headphone microphones, sound system, assorted objects including a wrench, small handheld mirror, crystal spheres, stones and various texts
Site Cite was performed at The Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, California, on December 3, 1993, at the opening of Gary Hill: Sites Recited, curated by Carol Ann Klonarides.
The performance took place in the early evening on the grounds outside the museum. The material for the piece comprised selected texts prepared for improvisation and a group of objects—stones, wrenches, crystal spheres, mirrors, and other items, many of which were brought to the performance by Charles Stein from an ongoing continuously reconfigured work he refers to as the pile. The objects were manipulated in a quasi-ritualistic manner and incorporated verbal exchanges. The words, uttered backwards, were mainly either acts of naming the objects or short characterizations of them. Meanwhile Joan Jonas, holding a piece of slate that faced chest-out and writing on it with chalk, continuously drew and erased abstract symbolic markings instigated by whatever was taking place at the time. The activity of taping the piece figured integrally in the live action. Thus a “stereo video camera” was installed on one end of a long boom balanced on a fulcrum and used to track two performers at once during exchanges—Gary Hill and Charles Stein attending to objects and talking backwards; George Quasha and Charles Stein making abstract sounds (sound poetry) while manipulating crystal spheres and their inverted reflections. For the duration of the piece Hill and Quasha video-monitored other scenes as necessary. Towards the end of the performance the video was shown in reverse on a large outdoor screen so that the uttered words now sounded the “right way,” a procedure first developed in Why Do Things Get in a Muddle? (Come on Petunia), 1984.
Quasha, George and Charles Stein. An Art of Limina: Gary Hill’s Works and Writings. Barcelona: Ediciones Polígrafa, 2009, p. 591.
Premiered at the opening of “Gary Hill: Sites Recited” at the Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, California, on December 3, 1993.
Quasha, George and Charles Stein. Viewer. Gary Hill’s Projective Installations 3. Barrytown, New York: Station Hill Arts, 1997, p. 84.
Gary Hill: Sites Recited. Long Beach Museum of Art, 1994. VHS tape.
Darke, Chris. "Gary Hill: Museum of Modern Art, Oxford." Frieze 14 (January/February 1994), p. 55.
Quasha, George and Charles Stein. La performance elle-même in Gary Hill: Around & About: A Performative View. Paris: Éditions du Regard, 2001, pp. 78, 108.
Gary Hill: Selected Works and catalogue raisonné. Wolfsburg: Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, 2002, GHCR 80, p. 176.
Quasha, George and Charles Stein. An Art of Limina: Gary Hill’s Works and Writings. Barcelona: Ediciones Polígrafa, 2009, pp. 37, 69, 492, 493, 591, 604.