video still
Courtesy the artist and Donald Young Gallery, Chicago

In the 1970s, Gary Hill began exploring the technical possibilities of electronic image composition. In his 17-minute video Soundings, he experiments with the effects of changing environmental conditions that affect a particular loudspeaker. In a fixed shot, a camera films the vibrations of a speaker cone, from which Hill’s hypnotizing voice booms: imaging the sound, sounding the image. Gary Hill, whose hand is the only part of him visible in the video, subjects the loudspeaker to various processual rituals in several film sequences. He buries it in sand, burns it, and pours water over it in the attempt to physically change or overcome the sound it conveys—his own voice. Soundings thus examines the interplay of sound, image and text, and the process of translation between the different media.


  • original Title: Soundings
  • Date: 1979
  • Duration: 17′

This work is issued in following texts