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Lien Fan Shen
Ching-Fang Chiang
Caroline Quinlan
Edward Schocker


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artist statement | technical statement | process



artist statement

'Reconstruction' is a multimedia DVD project focusing on issues of confinement. It makes a statement about small confining space capturing the tension of both serene and disturbing emotions. Based on still images, Reconstruction is made into a virtual environment with motion pictures and the surrounding sound.

Space and emotion are investigated through an old Illinois State Hospital that was abandoned on 1970's. The architectural structure of the old Illinois State Hospital was built on the top of a hill in a small town called Bartonville at the end of the 19th century. The hospital grew into a huge structure, erecting and occupying more than 35 buildings on the nearby site. At one point, it contained more than 3000 patients in residence.

The main theme of 'Reconstruction' is not about recreating the particular room of the particular building but a collective experience that came from all sources, including the photographic experience, the research result, and the viewing responses of the audiences. It is the spirit of that place, an unusual atmosphere of the hundreds of the empty rooms with thousands of the deceased hospital residents, that the artists wish to convey.

'Reconstruction' consists of three major parts: 'destruction', 'reconstruction', and 'documents'. The 'destruction' contains two parts. First is the photographic documentation of the current condition of the abandoned hospital. Second is the collection of the research documents, mainly the black and white archive images of the old Illinois State Hospital from the collections of the Peoria public library, and Zeler mental institution library. The 'reconstruction' part recreates the hospital through digital video. 'Documentation' is a video documentation of the installation exhibition 'Within the Walls.'

'Reconstruction' is a digital video with surrounding sound based on still images by using new technologies to create the atmosphere into a virtual place. The 'documents' contains text documents, including artists" biographic information, credit and the complete version of the artist"s statement.