Hui Wai-Keung

The Turtle Dreamt Another Sun Last Night

  • Year : 2011
  • Title : The Turtle Dreamt Another Sun Last Night
  • Material : Video generated by processing programming, based on a still image (20 mins Loop)

** developed during residency in Kuenstlerhaus Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany

This work was inspired by the Sun’s orbiting path believed in ancient Chinese cosmology. In the daytime, the sun is carried by a golden bird that flies from the east to west (yang side). After sunset, it is carried by a turtle (or dark fish) that swims from the west back to east in the water beneath the Earth (yin side).

I asked for a turtle as my pet while staying in Kuenstlerhaus Dortmund as artist-in-residency. When it was sleeping at night, I used an electronic sensor to record its breathing rhythm in digital format. The data was then imported into a processing program, where a video was going to be generated. The program logic simple applied the rhythm on a still image.

The still image is a documentary of Ivy Mike detonated on November 1, 1952. Ivy Mike was the codename given to the first United States nuclear test of a hydrogen bomb, in which a major part of the explosive yield came from nuclear fusion. Nuclear fusion is the power that lies at the heart of the sun. The bomb was detonated on Elugelab Island yielding 10.4 megatons, almost 500 times the one dropped on Nagasaki.