Public Art Installation, Chicago, IL, July 15 – October 29, 2010
WANGFUJING • SANLITUN • WICKER PARK • BUCKTOWN
Two video projections onto windows of vacant storefront
WPB Make Believe Project
This project introduces two videos of commercial districts in Beijing, China to the streets of a commercial district in Chicago, IL. The 30 minute videos focus on public advertising that changes and/or moves rhythmically while the everyday human activity of a busy urban area transpires around them. The videos are looped to appear continuous, meaning that they have no conceptual beginning or end. Passersby can watch as much or as little of the videos as they wish and still understand the ideas being communicated.
Aside from evoking thoughts about the role of public advertising in urban space, the public presentation of these videos asks viewers to think globally about their own economy, space, and behavior. The videos act as a cultural mirror allowing Americans to see their activities and spaces reflected in the Chinese culture thousands of miles away.
The Wangfujing video was made in the Wangfujing District of Beijing. It depicts a multi-layered street scene that unfolds beneath a long, changing billboard. The billboard changes between its three messages every 30 seconds. During the billboard’s transition, the video is slowed to extend the transition and accentuate its effect on the space. The far right end of the billboard is broken and is out of synch with the rest of the sign.
The Sanlitun video was made in the Sanlintun District of Beijing. It focuses on a public television screen that is emitting a variety of messages, images and promotions. Unlike Wangfujing where the viewer’s interest is eventually directed away from the advertising, Sanlitun challenges the viewer not to become mesmerized by the video within the video.