The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts Presents the Exhibition "Hiller/Martin: Provisional Realities"




Hiller/Martin: Provisional Realities

January 23-March 29, 2014

San Francisco, Calif., December 13 -- The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts will present the exhibition Hiller/Martin: Provisional Realities January 23 through March 29, 2014, in the Wattis Institute galleries, located on the San Francisco campus of California College of the Arts. The exhibition is free and open to the public, with an opening reception on Thursday, January 23, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Hiller/Martin: Provisional Realities draws upon works by two artists of different generations, Susan Hiller and Daria Martin. Both were born in the United States (Martin was born and raised in San Francisco) and are now based in London. The selection of works spans different moments in each artist’s practice. Martin works exclusively in 16-millimeter film, and Hiller operates across multiple mediums. 

Hiller’s installation Belshazzar’s Feast (1983-84) and Martin’s film Soft Materials (2004) are the conceptual points of departure. Though they were created 20 years apart, both reveal a deep sensitivity to the fraught, yet potentially transformative, relationship between humans and technology. The exhibition also approaches such expansive subjects as the unconscious, dreams, affect, feminism, and intimacy as well as more unusual conditions such as telekinesis, as in Hiller’s Wild Talents (1997) and mirror-touch synaesthesia, as in Martin’s Sensorium Tests (2012).

The “provisional” of the title is meant to imply a specific kind of temporality, a conditional suspension of the present that favors a visionary way of thinking. Hiller's and Martin’s respective artistic practices resist the security that a single, finite reality provides, and instead propose that parallel, alternative, and corrective realities can alter the way we perceive the past, present, and future. As a perpetually shifting concept, the present is often aligned with a progressive notion of passing time.

But, given that the present is ephemeral and the future cannot be predicted, we must also wonder about the stability of the past -- specifically, the collective and individual memories that have shaped it. How can memory destabilize our perception of the present and our understanding of the realities that inform it? Hiller/Martin: Provisional Realities offers an opportunity to consider these questions and others. 

Visit for current information concerning related programs and events. A special screening of Daria Martin’s film One of the Things that Makes Me Doubt (2010-11), followed by a talk with the artist, will take place on Friday, January 24, 2014.

Hiller/Martin: Provisional Realities is curated by CCA alumna Heidi Rabben (MA Curatorial Practice 2013) as part of the 2013-14 Kadist Curatorial Fellowship. Rabben is an independent curator and writer based in San Francisco. She earned her bachelor’s degree in art history and English literature from the University of California, Berkeley.

About the CCA Wattis Institute

The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts was established in 1998 in San Francisco at California College of the Arts. It serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of international contemporary art and curatorial practice. Through groundbreaking exhibitions, the Capp Street Project residency program, lectures, symposia, and publications, the Wattis Institute has become one of the leading art institutions in the United States and an active site for contemporary culture in the Bay Area.

For more information about the Wattis Institute, visit

About California College of the Arts

Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) offers 22 undergraduate and 10 graduate programs in the areas of fine arts, architecture, design, and writing. The college offers BFA, BA, MFA, MA, MBA, BArch, MArch, and MAAD degrees. It has campuses in San Francisco and Oakland, and currently enrolls 1,950 full-time students. CCA students are encouraged to work in an interdisciplinary manner, undertaking projects and collaborations with students in other majors and engaging with outside communities.

Noted alumni include the artists Nathan Oliveira, Jules de Balincourt, Robert Arneson, Robert Bechtle, Viola Frey, and Peter Voulkos; the Oscar-winning filmmaker Audrey Marrs; the illustrator Tomie de Paola; the conceptual artists Harrell Fletcher, David Ireland, and Dennis Oppenheim; and the designers Lucille Tenazas, Michael Vanderbyl, and Gary Hutton. For more information about CCA, visit


January 23-March 29, 2014

The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts presents the exhibition Hiller/Martin: Provisional Realities

Location: CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, 360 Kansas Street (between 16th and 17th Streets), San Francisco

Opening reception: Thursday, January 23, 2014, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Gallery hours: Tues.-Fri., noon-7 p.m.; Sat., noon-5 p.m.; closed Sun. and Mon.

Cost: Free

Info: 415.355.9673,,


Brenda Tucker, 415.703.9548,

Laura Braun, 415.703.9541,