In Between Cinema and a Hard Place Gary Hill uses video images to explore the metaphors, rhythms and intonations of language. In a darkened room, twenty-three television monitors (both black and white and colour) are stripped of their outer casing and arranged in lines, like stones marking a boundary. Across the screens, visual sequences unfold and fragment, moving from left to right. Initially, it seems as if the images are triggered by a voice reading from The Nature of Language, an essay by the German philosopher Martin Heidegger. However, as the work continues, the precise correlation between sound and image becomes increasingly unclear. Monitors switch on and off, images flicker and blur. Scenes transfer from screen to screen, or extend across multiple monitors.
The images explore the relationship between domesticity and landscape, and reflect on concepts of emotional and geographical closeness which are at the heart of Heidegger’s text. Some were filmed from a moving car and include houses, windows, bridges, fences and signposts - the frontiers that define or delimit space.
As its title suggests, the work also questions the relationship between cinematic and real space. The physical presence of the hardware contrasts with the immateriality of the video imagery; the immediate gallery environment with the televised landscape. The spaces between the monitors insistently fragment the flow of images, underscoring the sense of dislocation expressed in the text.