Works that interest me most have a fragility or an indeterminacy to their form, surface, boundaries – works that, in Cage’s words are “less like an object and more like the weather.” (Hannah Rickards in conversation with Adam Chodzko)
Fogo Island Arts is pleased to present a major new piece by Hannah Rickards. Grey light. Left and right back, high up, two small windows (2014) is a two-screen projected video installation with eight channels of sound. Structured rhythmically around the pattern of a foghorn sounding, the piece finds its origins in the notion of the foghorn as an auditory marker for non-visibility, or imagelessness.
The piece is a choreography for camera and two performers developed on the basis of recordings of Seldom Community Hall, the only meeting room on Fogo Island within which the foghorn is audible. One screen presents slow, punctuated tracking shots of the hall, that were used as a ‘score’ for the performers and camera, whose shifting series of gestures and interactions are shown on the other screen.
The sound presents a detailed spatial image of Seldom Community Hall, with the room acting as a container for those sounds generated by the atmospheric conditions outside, such as the percussive clack of the air vent, the radiators and the foghorn itself; this varies in audibility, and is at times registered only in the paused movements and gestures of the performers.
Across the six movements of this piece, which takes cues from the compositional approaches of composers such as Morton Feldman and John Cage, the dynamics of action, causation, form and improvisation shift across the two screens of the work and beyond it into the staging and framing of the exhibition: objects, images and diagrams used as props within the footage are also present in the gallery.
The work’s non-linear structure involves a series of overlapping frames of reference. Within this, a continuous drift back and forth between different forms of attention allows one to look as one might listen, and listen as one might look.