Why Do Things Get in a Muddle? (Come on Petunia)

  • Gary Hill, Why Do Things Get in a Muddle? (Come on Petunia), 1984, single-channel video, color, sound; 33:09 minutes, Smithsonian American Art Museum, © 2015 Gary Hill / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Museum purchase made possible by the Ford Motor Company, 2007.33.15

Exhibition Label
Gary Hill's first scripted screenplay, Why Do Things Get in a Muddle? (Come on Petunia), is a complex theatrical essay on the ordering principles of language. The script is adapted from Gregory Bateson's book, Steps to an Ecology of Mind. Hill recorded portions of the video with the performers speaking the text phonetically backward and similarly, performing their actions backward. These sequences are played from beginning to end in reverse, betraying an uncanny physical movement and muddled speech that is nearly intelligible, and revealing the inverted logic of the video.

Watch This!: Revelations in Media Art, 2015
Title
Why Do Things Get in a Muddle? (Come on Petunia)
Artist
Date
1984
On View
Not on view.
Dimensions
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase made possible by the Ford Motor Company

Mediums Description
single-channel video, color, sound; 33:09 minutes
Keywords
  • Architecture Interior
  • Figure female
Object Number
2007.33.15
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI