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100 Years in 1 Minute, video & Sound Installation

Description Author: Hu Jieming Jul,2010

The video and sound installation consists of 1,440 storage bags, arranged in the form of a matrix screen. 10 high definition projectors are used to project 1,100 videos onto the bottoms of these storage bags and, due to different sizes of these images, some will take up several bags. The audience can watch the videos via the mouth of the bag matrix. The video images are excerpted from a wide spectrum of the archive of international art, which is a genuine gem of human civilization from the past century, a treasure of modern and contemporary art, and a light leading us to explore the world of art.

Based on classic modern and contemporary art works, my team has transformed them into video clips by means of improvising changes directly onto them. The absurdity reflected in these 1,100 one-minute videos imbues the images shown on the storage bags with a kind of weird timelessness, blurring visual memory and values to the maximum extent.

The audio sources for the work consist of two kinds. The first is for broadcasting. These sounds are preset and played via MP3 players. There are 30 different sound sources, and each output to 4 loudspeakers via the amplifier. There will be 120 loudspeakers in total. The 30 kinds of sounds are selected from past events and mixed together. They can be divided into 3 categories, which include:

Human sounds (language) – historical, daily or common sounds of the human world, e.g. the first recording by Edison, Armstrong's words from the Moon, sweet nothings between lovers, and even screams during sex.
Produced sounds – sounds that have historical significance and have changed the cultural landscape, e.g. John Cage's work.
Natural sounds – sounds that are beyond the control of time or human beings and will never come to an end, e.g. the sound of wind, rain and rivers.

The second source comes from live transmission. Omnidirectional microphones are set up on site. The 30 kinds of sounds broadcast on site are processed by custom programmes and then output to 10 loudspeakers, integrating with the 30 kinds of sounds (broadcast by the 120 loudspeakers).    
The mix of the two audio resources will give rise to a total of 31 sounds (of which 30 are from past events and 1 is collected onsite). To some extent, such a mixture can be deemed as a continuance from the past to the present.    
All these sounds are broadcast via 130 independent stereos hung from the ceiling.

Creative motivation:

Based on metaphysical classics and the methodology of deconstructionism, traditional materials, logic and methodology are used to compete with traditional classics.

From the perspective of deconstruction, the complex for reevaluation still widely spreads within contemporary cultural systems. The efforts of deconstructionists to dissolve subjects still carries on. When looking back, we find that languages, visual patterns, beliefs, institutes, the internet, systems, academic regulations, and even the power mechanism cannot be regarded as subjects. They are merely a pile of fragments, leaving a series of obscure traces behind. Or there's also another possibility: the fragments are dominated by these obscure, yet omnipresent traces and some kind of frame hereof is formed. Hence there's the possibility for deconstruction and rearrangement in terms of time. The free games and dances that have given rise to languages and philosophies are open-minded and boundless, which are the prominent features of deconstructionism.

Any attempt to reflect history will have to be faced with restrictions. In the face of such a wide spectrum of facts and subject matter, we are destined to feel helpless and powerless. 100 Years in 1 Minute doesn't have the ambition to offer a panoramic view of history. Neither does it intend to reflect upon the present by resorting to the past. It's more like a bold experiment, to explore the possibilities of different combinations of the past century's visual memory within one minute. During the process, some widely-known classic images are exposed to the "torture" of absurdity, to degrade a familiar item to a peculiar substance in a lab experiment.

The development of history follows a certain path, or in other words, will experience several stages. An analogue can be made between these stages and the human life cycle. Besides inheritance, the evolution of human beings is heavily based on continuous differences from and constant negations of the previous – as do historical stages. The beginning and ending of each of these stages also comply with natural laws.

What I expect from 100 Years in 1 Minute is more possibilities in terms of the time line. The extraordinary scenes brought about by random overlapping and encounters are a major motivation to create this work. The somewhat uncertain and even absurd utopian scenes are what I look forward to and what the work will represent.

To closely observe a historical fragment is like painting a portrait for a familiar friend, during the process of which we get the chance to take a closer look and reevaluate. In the end, probably we'll find that this familiar friend is merely a pile of memories consisting of a variety of time fragments.

Thanks to our memories, we can be familiar with all of these. When elements that compose our memory are edited, this sense of "familiarity" will be gone, leaving us only with a sense of absurdity. Even the most familiar things are not reliable. When absurdity is commonly recognized, our belief (which is supposed to be reliable) is in danger.


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100 Years in 1 Minute


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