Doug Hall

American (San Francisco, California, 1944)

The Terrible Uncertainty of the Thing Described

1987
video installation | three-channel video installation with sound, electronics, steel, and Tesla coil
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  • The Terrible Uncertainty of the Thing Described

    Doug Hall, The Terrible Uncertainty of the Thing Described, 1987; three-channel video installation with sound, electronics, steel, and Tesla coil, 144 in. x 360 in. x 480 in. (365.76 cm x 914.4 cm x 1219.2 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Purchase through a gift of the Modern Art Council and the San Francisco Art Dealers Association; © Doug Hall


This large-scale video, sound, and mechanical installation takes its title from Edmund Burke's Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757). Hall expresses states of awe and revelation that are traditionally associated with the sublime through a tumultuous vision of the contemporary landscape.

Multiple video monitors and projections present televised imagery of storms, fires, floods, and industrial processes in a fast-paced confluence of the natural and the mechanical. A blackened steel mesh fence tips precariously toward the viewer while a Tesla coil intermittently discharges arcs of lightening. The artist perceives weather conditions as concrete forces of destruction and renewal that symbolize the erosion of our social and emotional lives.


144 in. x 360 in. x 480 in. (365.76 cm x 914.4 cm x 1219.2 cm)
Acquired 1989
Collection SFMOMA
Purchase through a gift of the Modern Art Council and the San Francisco Art Dealers Association
© Doug Hall
89.4.A-S

Tags

storms, fires, floods, industrial, landscapes, Tesla coil, electricity, television


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