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Artists: Benjamin Bacon, Vivian Xu


Horologic Solum is a case study and exploration into media memory, its configurative logic, materiality, cultural functionality, and the information that gets stored on it, distorted, decayed, and reinterpreted. The piece interrogates archival media modes, communication technologies and how they fail to transform and translate across expansive stretches of space and time. Using the NASA Golden Record as an artifact of human civilization, the contents of the records are run through a “system of decay”, as meaning and memory dissolve. The installation consists of two tables each with a tape machine, a timer clock, and a cassette tape running system. The installation works with 5 layers of time (see website for which 5 layers) and reality in creating connections between the past, the present, and the future. As the tapes cycle through the installation, their materiality is eaten away, the process sonified as the content is destroyed. The clock keeps a steady count of the time elapsed until the media dies.


There are 5 layers of time: 


1)  The time of the original Golden Record for the voyager when it was first created in the 70s. It was a cultural snapshot of our own perception of human culture. 


2)  The time of the Golden Record, as cultural repercussion of the original artifact. 


3)  The time of the tape deck machine, or machine time, is the innate time of the medium. Throughout the show, we recorded the number of repetitions before the tape breaks. 


4)  The time of the performance, from the beginning of the playing of the recording to the moment that the tape breaks, which we recorded in seconds. 


5)  Finally, the time and space in which the audience exists, exhibition time, which we recorded on archival bags that were used to collect the remnants of the tapes at the end of the show.


This work was funded by the STArts Festival (Shenzhen).

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Installation view of piece. Shenzhen Science, Technology and Arts (STArts) Festival, 2020-2021.

Horologic Solum, Documentation Video, STArts Festival, 2020-2021.

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