A Moment of Happiness

by Aleksandar Kujučev
April 30th - May 5th, 2007

In our family photo albums and home videos, we are trying to preserve moments of happiness, to freeze them in time, prevent them from fading out from our memories.  This project consists of two parts, first being a series of photographs and the second consisting of two videos.

Photos:

Since the birth of my son, I’ve spent lots of time taking photos of him on our family album.
Photos presented here came along… He’s not to be seen on any of them. There is only secondary evidence of his existence – his toys in the surrounding of our apartment.

These photos cannot be regarded as a family album material since they are not documenting any distinct moment of his life. Photographed without any reference to the particular place in time, separated from their function, these toys are just assembly of lifeless forms that will continue to exist much longer than any of us, simply due to their more lasting molecular structure. Enlarged to huge dimensions these photos are meant to be sort of a sinister reminder of our fragile existence.

Videos:

The first video is the typical home video – a holiday video of my son in a swimming pool, edited into an endless loop. Opposed to the first clip featuring the youth of a child, preserved forever, I attempted in the second video to abandon its standard use for preserving fragments of time, by trying to simulate the passing of it.

Source clip was some recording of me being happy. The final video is produced by making copies of the same clip using two VCRs, switching between two tapes in them. The image quality slowly deteriorates as each 5-second fragment of tape is repeatedly duplicated from the previous strip, effectively making a copy of the copy and so on.

This technique coincides with recent theories dealing with the process of aging. During our lifetime, new cells of our body tissues are constantly produced, replacing the old ones. Our genetic material gets duplicated too and it is incorporated in new cells. Over a long period, since our genes are duplicates of a duplicate, inevitable duplicating errors are building up, leading to progressive decay of our bodies. The final stadium is death, leading to total decomposition – transformation back into the chaos of elementary particles of which all the matter is created from.

In a certain way, it resembles the video noise that is the final result of constant videotape rerecording, resulting in progressively deteriorating video image quality.

In normal video recording, particles in the magnetic layer of a videotape are well organized and they are providing a high-quality noise-free signal. In the case of a deteriorated recording, video noise is increasing as magnetic particles are approaching a state of chaos.

Moment of happiness
photographies & video, Aleksandar Kujučev
April 30th – May 5th, 2007