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The Black Box, The Project of Behaviors in the Laboratory (No.1) , The Maneuver in Darkness
Project TOP M50, Shanghai
Date: 07.03, 2011

Artists: HU Jieming 胡介鸣 | 

The Maneuver in Darkness, which performed on the opening of the exhibition. The Futures Holidays by Hu Jie Ming and NuNu was the first experimental project of The Black Box. The word "Maneuver" was from the French word "Maneuver", which has the meaning of military exercise, movement, motivation, strategy, trace and drill, it means much more on military and aviation exercises which were carefully guide or manipulate. Translating "Maneuver" to "演习", which means "Military exercise" in Chinese might not be the most accurate word, but I really could not find a more appropriate one.

NuNu and I have started to discuss about the cooperation one week before the opening, we communicated with each other about the project, and focused on the key words: darkness, no vision, and bodies without identities. Our discussions have been started from bodies, NuNu made a lot of assumptions from the specialty that bodies in dancing. The discussion went through very well, since bodies, as a starting point, has made every questions seems to be on the same platform.

The principles of "impromptu and interacting" have made the manipulating smoothly. The results of our discussion seemed easy. There will be a moving element and a stationary element in the scene, NuNu would dance impromptu and interact with the perceptions in the darkness, and as a stationary element, I would "sit and wait"there , and encounter everything in the darkness.

Then The Futures Holidays has come, and it was really kind of "future". I was in a hurry,it might be the most hastiest opening as I could remember. The opening has started at 4:00, but until 3:50, I was still watching the workers hanging on the curtains. Suddenly I realized that the curtains were actually not important, I turn around and ran to the black box, there were already some audiences inside the box, but terribly the testing sounds were still be played, which confused the audiences, whom might be guessing the concepts of the totally unrelated music.

About 4:15, the behaviors have started, NuNu changed to a white jumpsuit with a hat, and he started the impromptu performance by sliding himself into the site in the dark. And I found the relationship between bodies and space through the monitor of infrared rays cameras. Sometimes, NuNu knocked the walls gently, or stuck his body to the walls or on the floor, and maintained the relationship between he and the audiences filed into the space. After few minutes of observing and considering (people will get slightly sense of sight after the pupils adopting to the darkness), I felt for a space to sit down on the floor.

All of these were clearer than what I have imagined. In the performance, I was a stationary element whom sat there without any actions, and I could feel the slight changes around me, the only thing that bothered me were the lights brought by the audience whom came in and went out.

The feeling in the scene was basically matched to what I imagine before: when a person go into the black box and lost his or her vision, the other senses are highly sensitive, and after experiencing the absolute darkness, a slightly sense of sight came. It was unable for one to judge things with the slight vision. Because of the short memory of vision loss, the slight sub-vision was especially precious. The audiences who filed into the box, except some who were conquered by the darkness and came out immediately, have felt the strangeness between bodies under the condition of having their vice-visual. One could not distinguished the identities of the others' bodies with their vice-vision, NuNu perform through the audiences who came in and out of the box, sometimes he stretched and sometimes shrunk, the tempo of his movement have shown his considerations to the environment before the performance. He perceived the distances between the fast moving bodies, and felt the reactions by the audiences whom he touched intentionally or unintentionally. The reactions are from physics, psychology, experiences, and memories.

Me, as a stationary element, have lost the ability to estimate the distance, which made me anxious. As a passive "stationary subject", it was "safe" for me to estimate the distances between the slow moving bodies and myself in the darkness. Observed, felt, estimated, presumed and accepted were the series experiences I have been experienced. These experiences were actually helpful to the following of my researches and plans.

In these three hours, even NuNu lay down on the floor, there were no "crushing and stepping events", happened, which were what I have been thought about before. The audiences were self-distrust and cautious, and their movements were so slow and limited, my body was touched very carefully by the oncoming audience's bodies for several times, as a result, the space which looked scary was actually safe to me.

Looked to the vague outlines of the bodies moving slowly, the motivations and the intentions of people seemed to be spare. Everyone in the scene tried hard to understand what was going on and guessed about what would happen next.

In my experiences, this seems to be an event without clear meanings.

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Related Exhibitions:
Contemporary Art Top Events 07.03, 2011 -07.31, 2011

Black Box Lab ,


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