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Wei Yuan: Groan, 2013

26.02.21 - 05.03.21

Performance, single-channel video (HD, color, sound, 233min 45sec)

Work Description: a rented van playing the sound of groaning, appropriated from film clips, via loudspeakers while driving through the city streets.

Artist’s Account

"Groan" is a reaction to China's rapid urbanization. The work takes clips of groaning sounds from a variety of films, depicting situations including: collective chanting, screams of fear, hissing, desperate and helpless moaning, pleasure sounds, hysterical sobbing and more. This is compiled into 4 hours of audio, the estimated time to drive through Wuhan. The audio is played using loudspeakers mounted to a van, while driving around the city streets.

In this process, the penetration of sound directly relates to the crowds, buildings, streets, trees, air, etc. in the urban space. The virtual sound meets the real scene in progress, stimulating people's listening experience, breaking the daily rules of sound, evoking a strange sense of familiarity, and triggering a new scene. Through this kind of collision and behavior, another space map is drawn. At the same time, the camera is used to record the urban landscape while this unfolds, creating a new form of audio-visual hallucination and reflecting on the problem of spatial power.

The high-pitched loudspeaker flourished in the 1960s and 1970s as a tool for spreading political propaganda. In the wave of China's reform and opening up, this symbol of socialist ideology has gradually transformed into a commercial microphone. In the process, it has changed its original practical function, replacing the main body of voice, and cast it in the context of the urbanization movement.

Artist Profile

Wei Yuan was born on November 2nd, 1983 in China, and is based in Wuhan. He graduated from the Oil Painting Department of Hubei Institute of Fine Arts in 2005 and now teaches in Jackie Chan Film and Media School of Wuhan Institute of Design and Sciences. Since 2010, he has been practicing art through performance, video, installations, etc. He has been the curator of the Microneme Rooftop Art Project since 2018.

The Holden Gallery   Microneme

Presented as part of Microneme x Holden Gallery collaborative programme.