Lien Fan Shen
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statement | technical 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.