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Gary Hill

The Psychedelic Gedankenexperiment

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Artist
Gary Hill
Title
The Psychedelic Gedankenexperiment
Year
2011
Duration
22 min 48 s
Format & Technical

Multimedia installation (Single channel 2D version, Projection, polystryrene seats, wall text

LOOP Edition
Ed. 2013
Presented in LOOP by
In Situ/ Fabienne Leclerc

The Psychedelic Gedankenexperiment is a declaration claiming the

the psychoactive event of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) as a “found performance” and as “the art experience par excellence”. The claim is expanded upon, suggesting that over time it will be heralded as the most influential work of art of all time.

First the artist contextualizes and frames the “variable qualities and dimensions” of the work. This is followed by a list of attributes of the work of art, suggesting a comparison with other art (experiences) and showing compelling reasons why the power of The Psychedelic Gedankenexperiment would not only be difficult to dismiss but forces a re-evaluation of the entire historical paradigm of what constitutes great art. The artist’s “performance” takes place in an anechoic chamber which has been computer-generated. After unfolding an abstract origami-like object that turns out to be a table with forced perspective, the artist delivers the text while constructing a large molecular model of lysergic acid diethylamide which takes the time of delivery to complete. The entire work is performed backwards, including both movement and speech, which has then been reversed to “correct” it into a comprehensible form. This process was first used by the artist in the 32 min. videotape entitled Why Do Things Get in a Muddle? (Come On Petunia), 1984. In front of the projected image are specially fabricated foam “chairs” based on the molecular diagram of LSD. Framing each seating area are a pair of speakers on tripods offering detailed hearing and adding to the performance-like presentation.

Stills