|Location||USA / Los Angeles|
|Residency||18th Street Arts Center|
|Year of the Grant||2006|
|Work||Measurement, 100 Minutes Per Day|
Artist Statement: Measurement
A tall ‘space’. Width: 444.5 cm. Length: 494 cm. Height: immeasurable, at least higher than 600 cm.
Windowless. The skylight on the ceiling brought in bright sunshine everyday. I began to study this ‘space’ that I would be in for the next 4 months by measuring, using numbers to measure numbers.
I could not install light fixtures in the ‘space’. Therefore, I give colors to my numbers for the first time in this room of pure white and simplicity. Although I did not have control over the shadows due to the lack of light fixtures, I was subtly surprised by the natural silhouettes created by the sunlight in the afternoons.
I used differently-sized square pieces of paper as units. I drew, cut, and came up with two measurements of the ‘space’. Two parallel lines, two results.
Questions that were asked during open studio:
No. 1: How did you stick these numbers up there?
No. 2: Why numbers?
No. 3: Do you use words in addition to numbers?
No. 4: Are these numbers arranged in order?
Despite these basic questions, some people asked if my work was related to this ‘space’. Some saw the lack of meaning in the squares on the floor and conversely the realness in the numbers on the wall; some even discovered the shadows that were upside down.
In addition, I did another project using numbers to measure numbers. It was about my own height.
100 Minutes Per Day
I began my project 100 Minutes Per Day on June 1st, 2008. I wanted to see a city in a different perspective, breaking out of the box from the city’s own stereotypes.
For the whole month of June, I would find a location in New York City and take 100 photos in a rate of one photo per minute.
I would decide on the backdrop first. Then I would look for a spot where I could sit and set up my mini tripod. Finally, I would sit with a bottled water in hand and wait until 100 minutes had passed. There were 30 days in June. 3000 photos were taken. These photos were edited into a video piece that lasted 30 minutes. The audience would see real time condensed into 1/1000 in this video.
There were little incidents during my photo shoots. For example, a nice cool spot would turn into a smoking grill directly under sunlight in 40 minutes, a giant trash bag would suddenly appear in front of the camera, a taxi would take up the whole frame at the last 15 minutes of a shoot, some pungent smell out of nowhere would somehow infuse the air on the 52nd minute, etc. Some people would stare at me, or sneak glances at me to be more precise. Some would ask me what I was doing. It was perfect opportunity to establish some good relationships. Too bad I only had one camera.
100 Minutes Per Day enabled me to become an authentic tourist in New York. I supposed that I would probably be going to galleries and museums and performances all day, everyday if not for this project.
Being a not so eager person, I still went to plenty of exhibitions while I was in NYC. Honestly speaking, however, few shows actually inspired or touched me. On the other hand, I had unexpectedly gained a lot from this project.
I did not have sense of direction. So I erased the New York map in my mind completely. I would get on a train and get off at a random spot. Then I would go on a random street, wander around, and choose a location for a photo shoot. Having grown up in a city, I had been used to moving at a fast pace. Moving quickly from one spot to another, rarely pausing to see the scenery on the road.
Then I paused because of this project.
I sat on the side of the street, not listening to music, not thinking. Doing nothing but sitting there for 100 minutes. I watched people and shadows move around me. My mind was crowded with complex and disordered thoughts. At first, I felt like I needed to use this 100 minutes for something productive. Gradually, however, I found myself blanking out. And this whole 100 minutes of blanking out was such a wonderful thing. Everything happening around me seemed to be unrelated to me. It was such a wonderful thing, indeed.