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Project 1 Assignment 1

Animate the Inanimate The space of wonder You walked into the space; you saw those daily objects lying on the ground, highlighted by lights; you thought why they were there. The similar situation was talked about in “Inside the White Cube” where Brian O’Doherty that gallery space has its power of evoking or strengthening spectator’s perception towards what they see. As a space, it creates strangeness and distance between viewer and the exhibits. Therefor, although the objects we choose was originally picked from our daily use, its appendant memory of familiarity, ownership and obsession were no longer there. And as a set of installations, its inappropriate existence and weird allocation could hardly build any bond to the audience, while the inharmonious or unfamiliar combination between objects and space creates a “mental stage”.

The space of screen Then the lights went off. After several seconds the projections showed up by reflecting a beam of dazzling light onto the objects. As the viewer quickly got accustomed, they also saw the former insignificant shapes, which were wrapped around the objects, properly showing themselves by “glowing” in the dark. Since it’s a theatrical space, there’s no need pretending but exaggerating. With the help of projection, the familiar objects are transformed into abstract shapes, which are not able to find in daily life. And that lead us to the “show” when the “screen” itself vanishes and the meaning, the narrative rise up. That explained how Mitchell Whitelaw described digital media:” They are everywhere and always material, yet often function as if they are immaterial.” They are the invisible entities. And the set emphasized this point by presenting the dual perspectives of the material and immaterial on the same object. In the same time, the visual contrast between the soft silhouette from physical lighting and the hard edges from projection also brings the viewer’s awareness of weirdness into a higher level.

The space of sound Attention was gradually paid on the footage. It was the on and off of illumination, rhythmical, animated. You slowly felt its similarity to your breath though it was mute. What’s a real quietness, an open space without people or a dark recording room? Absolute muteness can hardly be found in everyday life and people always take sound for granted. The reason that showing room was

considered a fairly quiet place is because besides viewer’s attention to keep voice down, it was also absent from suggestive sound. “Sound can direct you or misdirect you. It can make you take tours or detours. It ultimately locates you. And to located the mood.” Due to he absent perception in regards to sound, our brains tend to seek explanation and look for similarity. “In the installation, absences are sounds too, that make rhythm.” Same as what Giuliana Bruno said about Jane and Louise Wilson’s A Free And Anonymous Monument, our work was using the power of brain synchronizing senses together to present viewer their ability to find equivalence or similarity to fill in the vacancy, in this case, is the breath. So, the interior became a space of mind.

The space of muteness Gradually the video occurred on another body, the footage changed into a shadow swinging from time to time. It picked up a bit of the pace, and the rhythm was like a clock with irregular beats. Then the third video appeared, it was bouncing water that created even more vivid oscillation. How do you describe the sound of heartbeat in words, lub-dub lub-dub, de-doosh de-doosh or ptu ptu? Different people create their own version based on there personal perception; same as how they generate personal feelings towards art works, especially when the attention of the work is put into human body. It was not hard to figure out that the tempo of the footage was similar to our heartbeats, however it was not merely a mimic, but an interpretation and furthermore, a creation in vision. A perception built by the creators at present in accordance to their temporal situation that viewers also find themselves familiar with. And it’s hard to deny that in front of us, a synaesthetic trigger from acoustics to vision, was the eloquent muteness. That’s where the bond between viewers and the installation, viewers and creators is.

The space of reality In the peak of the showing, the videos were all gone in a flash. Nothing was visible anymore and the space was left soaking into darkness. The lights were on again, and everything went back to stillness. When the show came to an end, question was raised: Apart from the overall experience, what’s the scene about? The work was originally inspired by Giuliana Bruno’s points of view towards Jane and Louise’s installation, in which ideas were raised, such as light and its equivalence of energy of life:”An electric reservoir of energy: light as a force of life.”; the architectural interior and body interior: “As we travel through the installation, we enter the lab’s intestines.” ; and the animated space: “With such invisible mechanic built into its body, the building feels corporeal. This space is an organism in its own right.” Hence, the idea of “animate the inanimate” occurred to us. In terms of the atmosphere, we tended to use color and texture that was similar to light, the living force. And we extracted the pulse and heartbeat from vital science as our means of animating, while the insignificant movement throughout the presentation was meant to imitate subtle corporeal motion. Polypropylene was used as a major material wrapping over 3 objects. It’s like a skin covering the real body, as well as a threshold between conscious and illusion. The contrast between the real daily objects and the delirious scene, presented by projection on the geometrical shapes in the same place, brought viewer to a not-sure but intimate circumstance, a space similar to illusions.

Yan Ping (Amy) Wang Jingyi (Cici) Gao Yan

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