Boedi Widjaja
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A Tree Rings, A Tree Sings 树龄°述铃

2021. Commissioned by The Institutum for Open to Interpretation conceived by Boon Hui Tan, co-presented with Gasworks, London, and supported by the National Arts Council Singapore and the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore Residencies program.

New findings in epigenetics suggest that we inherit ancestral memories. Could we then possibly inherit images and sounds–audiovisual signals–through genetic transmissions? In 2012, I returned to my grandfather’s hometown for the first time, and snapped close to 700 photos in 5 days using my smartphone camera. In 2021, I decided to re-shoot those photos into moving images. I wanted an analogue process; where the visual outcome encodes the artist’s presence. The camera lens was inverted, producing hazy, oculus images that required manual focusing and refocusing. The video soundtrack uses inverted gamelan sounds, a metallophone instrument from my birth country Indonesia. The music score is a hybrid DNA code. It consists of my Y-chromosome; DNA of the Chinese parasol tree (which my grandfather is named after); and an encoded text - a chimera of person, plant and poetry. The video is generative, an algorithmic composition that plays differently every time, and almost infinitely. The version that is presented here is a 20-min recorded slice.

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