Yajing Hu – Heartbeat

Posted by Fabio 28 June 2018

The inspiration for this work initiates from the heartbeat. Just like every one of us has a heartbeat from the moment we are born, it will also cease at the moment of our death. In other words, the heartbeat is actually 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 heartbeats are too slight to be noticed, we only tend to notice our rapid heartbeats after intense stimulation. What I’d like to express in my work is that the heart still beats even without stimulation. We are still alive in the world without noticing our hearts beat.

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 16mm film. Each 30 minute performance will record on 100ft of film. The second part of the work projects the perforated 16mm 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 heartbeats relevance to life; something I myself had taken for granted._Yajing Hu