Yajing Hu

MA Photography

Yajing Hu

The inspiration for this work initiates from the heartbeat. Just as every one of us has a heartbeat from the moment we are born, it will also cease at the moment of our death. The heartbeat is our proof that we are alive. Since our heartbeats are ‘natural’, we tend to ignore them as we go about our daily lives. Or perhaps because our resting heartbeats are too slight to be noticed, we only tend to notice them after rapid, intense stimulation. What I’d like to express in my work is that the heart still moves without stimulation; we are alive in the world even if we fail to notice our hearts beating.

My work consists of two parts. The first part is a performance. A sensor placed over my heart sends the rhythm of my heartbeat to a perforating machine.

In turn, this machine punches a hole into a strip of 16 mm film. Each 30-minute performance will record on 100 ft of film. The second part of the work projects the perforated 16 mm film at heart height onto a wall. This work is inspired by my mother’s death.

On her deathbed, as her breathing was shallow, I couldn’t judge whether she was still living or not. I could only tell by feeling her pulse as I held her hand.

At that moment I was struck by the symbolic nature of the heartbeat’s relevance to life; something I myself had taken for granted.

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