Dual Language/Language Duel (1980) was a collaboration with Michelangelo Pistoletto that included two audio tracks and slides projected onto mirrored mylar. The work was the product of a month-long collaboration commissioned by the City of Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs. Pistoletto and I met repeatedly during the month over-elaborate, family-style dinners at a house provided by the city. We made notes and talked about a range of possible directions. We were fascinated by the process of the piece’s development, which became the central focus of the work, especially as it was complicated by the work’s short gestation period and our communication issues (his poor English, my nonexistent Italian).
We made a series of slides “orbiting” each other, often with articles of clothing and personal effects—jackets, eye glasses, and wrist watches—exchanged between shots so that we visually merged our outer appearances. The slides were projected onto mirrored mylar, further blurring our physical images and reflecting “our light” into the gallery, thus constantly modulating and “filling” the space. Simultaneously, loudspeakers in opposite ends of the room played tape loops of us recounting our recollections of each day of the process. Our often-contradictory accounts of various meetings highlighted the illusiveness of memory, personal aesthetics, and language.