Space within Time Series: Past and Present

When I thought of art and museums, I always had this image of a renaissance painting that sits in a humongous room. However, as I get older and more aware of the contemporary art, I realized that the most important artwork is no longer the one limited to the most refined skills; it is about the idea that the art is trying to communicate with its audience, or even our society. Rather, some of the most powerful artworks nowadays are composed of simple matter. For example: video.

Project 35 is s selection of 35 international curators who each choose one work by an artist that they think is important for audiences around the world to experience today. I was beyond excited when we have the chance to present it at Stamp. The combination of diverse interests from all over the world made the project more value added as a whole. It is even more interesting to see the regional and global connections among practitioners and the variety of approaches they use to make video. One of the unforgettable pieces I had strong feelings toward was Prilla Tania’s Space within Time Series.

Space within Time Series is a series of video works in which Tania employs stop-motion photography to record herself against a background of white chalk images on a blackboard. I found the integration of a 3D subject with a 2D context very creative and interesting. The images change based on Tania’s movement, and the following sound effects add liveliness to the artwork as a whole. Through some background research on the artist, I realized that her work focuses on the elements of environment and exploration with unexpected media such as paper and cloth.

Now looking at the video again, I realized the theme about the environment through the direct contrast between the subject and the background, and the theme about the tensions and connections between us and the environment. The utilization of chalk images on a blackboard naturally simplified the environment we live in. The surroundings are now white chalk lines, and it contrasted the subject and made the audience to focus more on the actions. On the other hand, as the artist performs her daily occurrences, the chalk images alters corresponding to her actions; yet, the chalk marks from previous images can still be seen even after it is being erased. I began to wonder if this were intentional, and if the marks were left there to imply the memories of the past. The ambiguity made me appreciate the art more, for all the possible interpretations that lie within this four-minute long video. Either way, the artist successfully demonstrated the tensions between the changes in the past and the present, through the most subtle and natural way without any artificial efforts.

Space within Time Series portrayed the idea of interacting with the environment and surroundings smoothly. Through the choice of materials, Tania was able to guide the audience to think creatively, and reflect on their own actions. Thanks to Tania, I was able to image myself living in a world of chalk images, and to ask myself: what are some of the chalk marks that I would leave behind, and what are some of the chalk marks that I would create.



-Yvette Yu


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