Zeroing In is an early video experiment by Nancy Holt. In this just over a half hour video, Holt and the experimental novelist and critic Ted Castle visually explore the urban landscape of New York City.
Sarah Hayden notes, this video is “a conversation, a game, and an experiment. It is also a live, instructional demonstration by Holt of the artful means and elemental technologies by which her work intervenes upon and enlivens everyday acts of visual perception.” The pair view a recording of a New York City street intersection, made with a wide-angle view, looking down from the window of a high-rise building. Two props are involved: a cylindrical tube and a black piece of board, from which five circular, and closable, peepholes were cut. These obstacles are placed between the camera and the vista to reveal different sections of the view.
Persistently Holt asks, “what do you see?” Holt and Castle discuss their visual and cognitive perceptions, attempting to suspend identification of what they see, struggling against the instinctual urge to categorize and label. As objects are alternately obscured and identified, disoriented and located, a rich dialogue emerges on ideas of viewership, identity, cognition and experience.