Installation on a living object
Peking, 1999



In the exhibition area a bird cage was hung up in a tree provided with:
– small loud-speakers on the bird’s swing
– a photography laid on the bottom of the cage

In addition:
– a small monitor was placed in the branches of the tree
– plastic transparencies applied with chinese letters describing the installation were glued to some of the leaves.

The photograph in the cage was lit from below. This showed a playground-scene with children in red uniforms under instruction in the art of making patterns.
From the loudspeakers in the cage these instructions appeared regimented. These were edited to be played as a loop.

On the monitor a hand guides a pencil across a page in counting four vertical lines /fifth diagonal, four vertical lines /fifth diagonal and so on . After a while the lines disappear. Montaged on top of the page are two Chinese policemen keeping time by marching on the spot.

The plastic transparencies remained on the leaves for two weeks thus ensuring no chlorophyll could be produced. When the transparencies were removed the Chinese letters were printed on the leaves and only disappeared over the course of a number of weeks as the leaves again generated the missing chlorophyll.