Rear Windows

single channel video projection, nine channel audio soundtrack, nine speakers

Guangdong Art Museum

Guangzhou, China

2003
 

Nine apartment windows on a high rise building are video taped and edited so that are positioned in a grid format on the video screen. Nine mundane lives on a particular evening are simultaneously presented to the viewer. The grainy quality of the videos indicates that they are shot from a long distance. The windows are often empty, with people coming into view only occasionally. However, the evidence of life is abundant; such as a light being flipped on in a dark room, the revolving shadow of ceiling fans, the glow of television screens. I am the voyeur. Based on what is observed, I composed a audio sound track for each window. The sounds include noises from household chores, televisions and radios, snippets of one-way phone conversations, two-way exchanges between inhabitants—from talking, bickering to lovemaking. In an attempt to make a connection with the untouchable, unknowable life on the screen, the sound track projects my mind’s interior landscape onto others. 

In our increasingly antisocial society, we experience life and relate to others anonymously and remotely, from afar and through mediated communications. Television and internet allow us to hide behind the comfort of our façade, presenting ourselves in false pretenses, and observing life through projections of our thoughts, beliefs and wishes. In this imbalanced and detached state, our needs to connect with other beings become all the more urgent, yet the attempts only highlight the acute distance between us.

© 2019 Jennifer Wen Ma

Jennifer Wen Ma

Littlemeat Productions

New York, NY

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