Cabin Fever, 1999
Mixed media installation
Two modified 4-inch black-and-white monitors (cathode ray tubes removed from chassis) with projection lenses, two adjustable metal brackets, variable number of strobe lights, four speakers, carpeting, false window, computer with controlling software written in DOS, time code reader, strobe controller, two-channel synchronizer, two DVD players and two DVDs (black-and-white; stereo sound)
Edition of two and one artist’s proof
Cabin Fever consists of a series of low-level (black-and-white) computer-generated images (a bed, a chandelier, a table, a staircase, etc.) projected on opposing walls of a completely black, light-tight space with one structural/false window. Short phrases of spoken text, which incorporate fragments of text from Maurice Blanchot’s The One Who Was Standing Apart From Me together with the artist’s own text, are heard between varying periods of silence. Strobe lights flash intermittently, coinciding with the speech and bringing out subtle voices of the speaker’s correspondent – an exchange of the self with possible other selves. The brief bursts of light expose the architecture of the space and illuminate any other viewers present. The low-level projections slowly emerge from the blackness and the images seem to hover against the walls within the space.
An example of this work was first exhibited in a solo exhibition at Galleria Lia Rumma, Milan, Italy, November 18, 1999 – January 2000.
Donald Young Gallery, Chicago, IL, January 21 – February 26, 2000.
“Gary Hill: Remembering Paralinguay,” in SITU Fabienne Leclerc, Paris, France, March 10 – April 21, 2001.
“Gary Hill: Selected Works,” Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, Germany, November 10, 2001 – March 10, 2002. Travelled to: Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal, October 10, 2002 – January 12, 2003.
Quasha, George and Charles Stein. La performance elle-même in Gary Hill: Around & About: A Performative View. Paris: Éditions du Regard, 2001, p. 102.
Cena, Olivier. “Les Vacances de M. Sorin.” Télérama 2672 (March 28, 2001), p. 72.
Piguet, Philippe. “L’art vidéo de Gary Hill.” L’Oeil (April 2001), p. 96.
Baqué, Dominique. “Gary Hill.” art press 269 (June 2001), pp. 80 – 81 (French and English).
Gary Hill: Selected Works and catalogue raisonné. Wolfsburg: Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, 2002, pp. 206, 229 – 233.
Barro, David. Gary Hill: Poeta da percepção, poet of perception, poeta de la percepción. In Portuguese, Spanish and English. Porto: Mimesis, 2003, pp. 16, 38, 60.
Odin, Paul-Emmanuel. L’absence de livre [Gary Hill et Maurice Blanchot – Écriture, vidéo]. Marseille: La Compagnie, 2007, p. 286.
Quasha, George and Charles Stein. An Art of Limina: Gary Hill’s Works and Writings. Barcelona: Ediciones Polígrafa, 2009, pp. 521, 571.
Gary Hill: Viewer. Moscow: GMG Gallery, 2010 (in Russian and English), pp. 34, 35.
Note: The following incorporates fragments of text from Maurice Blanchot’s The One Who Was Standing Apart From Me together with the artist’s own text. There are variable spaces of time ranging from 10 to 45 seconds between the phrases of spoken text.
It begins again
“This is the point you have reached, this is what you are.”
“We’re completely alone”
“Yes we’re completely alone.”
Time was circulating
An immediate thought....
“Just how immediate are we talking?”
Looking at the large bay windows I saw that someone was standing on the other side. As soon as I noticed him he turned to the window and, without pausing where I was, he stared intensely at the expanse and depth of the room. I was still next to the table, I wanted to turn around quickly to face this figure, but I was surprised that I was now very near the windows and yet felt I was still in the middle of the room. This forced me to look strangely at a point that was not given to me, closer than it seemed to me, close in an almost frightening way, for it did not take into account my own distance. While I looked at the figure almost randomly, I noticed, in a flash—a flash that was the shining, tranquil light of summer—that I was holding this figure against my eyes, a few steps away, the few steps that must still have separated me from the windows, and the impression was so vivid that it was like a spasm of brightness, a shiver of cold light.
“It’s dark isn’t it?”
“It’s not very dark, it’s the light that’s dark.”
“Don’t you want to stretch out now?”
“Yes, I think I’m going to stretch out, it's large a bed, perfectly made. Do you want me to describe things to you as I see them?”
“Describe it the way I want to see it.”
“I’m not looking at the window because I’m turned toward the room that lies a little farther on. You see how things are?”
I acquired enough heaviness to go forward (you haven’t reflected enough yet, you must become heavier).
I can imagine how much time that lasted.
The ordering of things
A kind of faith?
The back of the light
Below the horizon
An infinite hesitation
I was all too obliged to fill it with expectations.
The need to exhaust the space made me stand up
There was a wall and I believe a mirror
At least a lightly shining surface
I tried to recognize the spot
“I have the impression this is where I live.”
“Are you sure?”
“I find this room strange.”
“No, it’s fine”
It wasn’t human yet
His movement, or what I believed to be his movement, drove me from one room to the other
I saw a figure
He thought I felt
The very sharp fine point only became sharper and finer
I tip myself back lightly, joyously, trusting in space, in its indifference and its inattention
“I think someone is there”
“Just now someone was looking through the window.”
“Through the window?”
Words spoken in a tone of voice so uncommon, so quiet, that I in turn began to feel a kind of fear. What frightened me was that he seemed to repeat my words without altogether understanding them, and this thought occurred to me: Does he know what a window is?
“Why are you laughing?”
“Because I’m not alone.”
I cleared my throat for a possible further exchange
Mysterious words of encouragement
Hmmm perhaps in need of some repair
“Am I the one who is dying or is it you?”
“You’re not altogether sure are you?”
You mean in relation to one another
At long last
Is it the words, the time, the space, the sound, the images, the question, what is it that makes the boiling doubt?
The silence closed on me again
I momentarily gave it this name: responsibility toward solitude, deliverance to captive images.
Bring back the goods
“Well another day has past hasn’t it?”
I tried, in turn to wonder about it too.
This is not the frame of memory now but the opening of space
“Now” that’s all I can say for NOW.
The silence was poor—more desolate, as though it lacked something to be real silence
“Talk, describe things.”
“Why describe? There’s nothing to describe, there’s almost nothing left.”
Why this voracious hunger for facts that he perhaps didn’t understand but that he wanted to have anyway, this blind hunger in him that I immediately felt in myself as the uneasiness on nausea
After a lengthy pause I made this remark:
“Aren’t we close to each other now?”
“Yes, too close: I’m not thrusting you away, I probably wouldn’t have the strength to, I don’t have the desire to either. I mean that if this desire exists, it doesn’t succeed in making a choice between you and me. Can I make this choice? That’s the question I’m asking you.”
He appeared astonished by this flood of words
Day one again
Followed by infinite patience
Where is the end?
Events seemed to have receded extraordinarily.
Do you believe what I am saying, word for word, syllable for syllable, nuance for nuance, breath for breath?
“Did you say something to me?”
“But didn’t you just speak to me?”
“Wouldn’t it be convenient if I could name you?”
“You would like to give me a name?”
Yes, such is the dream
At this moment, I am sitting on the edge of a bed, I will no doubt get up, soon it will be day.
I woke up with certainty
On the contrary
I felt I was passing through one world after another with no end in sight
I thought, one never sees everything in a room. Yes, the joy of being here.
And the word “here” changed into “far from here”
“Don’t you want to help me now?”
“I can’t help. You know that—I can’t do anything.”