The video Forever (1994) was done by attaching a video camera to the left wheel of a tricycle. The lens was oriented outward. Switched on the camera, I rode this tricycle 10 km along the city’s streets. The camera was circulating along with the motion of the tricycle and recording turning-around images.’
Forever is masterwork by ZHU Jia. In this very piece, a disused tricycle was adapted into an installation with a small video camera fixed on its left wheel. As the vehicle moved forwards, the camera captured urban landscape in Beijing. Accompanied by a loud snore, the rhythm of rotation in the pictures was mainly dominated by traffic on road, which dragged its viewers into a huge whirlpool of dizziness.
Forever was completed back in 1994 which witnessed the early stage of experimental video art in China when the relationship between images and psychological and visual experience received attention from artists. ZHU Jia attached the camera on the wheel, an action which simultaneously freed itself from the control of human eyes and hands. That reminded spectators of the existence of camera as well as the behaviour of viewing itself. Revolving and peculiar, the images outlined a unique visual experience that perceived the existence of cities. Meanwhile, the background sound conveyed a message that appeared both paradoxical and unexpected: forever revolving and forever monotony were peacefully woven together and disturbed audiovisual perception reconstructed an unusual experience.
In 1997, Forever was first exhibited in Uncertain Pleasure - Special Topic Exhibition in Art Beatus Gallery in Vancouver. And in 2002, the piece was shown in Tempo, the Works Show of Contemporary Art in 20th in the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York.
Tricycle and video camera sets, television, DVD
Installation size: 288×92×105cm
Video camera’s type: SONY Hi8
The video is the monochromatic–DVD.
Duration: 27′16″, played in loop
About Zhu Jia 朱加
A seminal figure in contemporary Chinese video art, Zhu Jia trained in oil painting but has worked exclusively in photography and video since the late 1980s. His work, stylistically minimalist but not without a visual punch, interrogates aspects of the quotidian during a time of profound economic, social, and political transformation, touching upon socially taboo topics and the mundane. In works like Forever (1994) and Continuous Landscape (1999-2000), Zhu takes his camera on a dizzying course through Chinese cities, offering new means of making sense of a rapidly changing urban environment. Recent Chinese history, including the legacy of the Cultural Revolution and the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, and the state’s uncomfortable relationship with contemporary art, also bear heavily on Zhu’s work.
Chinese, b. 1963, Beijing, China, based in Beijing, China