Time River

Time River


Light Emitting Diode, IC, Electric wire.

100.0x 1300.0 cm

Site specific installation at the Gwangju Biennale.

Courtesy Gwangju Biennale Foundation
Photo: Myoung-Rae Park


Tatsuo Miyajima was offered to participate in the Gwangju Biennale with the theme 'Participation of viewers,' through dialogues with philosopher Yasuo Kobayashi. The theme means making an artwork together through conversation with people other than just by the artist selected by the Biennale executive office. Miyajima had conversations with Mr. Kobayashi several times, and the philosopher offered the following keywords for the work: 'Divided', 'Human rights', 'History' and 'River'.

Miyajima was inspired by these words, and made a ditch-shaped artwork like a river on the floor in the middle of the exhibition room. He laid more than 400 LED digital counters at the bottom of the river. The devices symbolize lives and progressively count from 9 to 1. As the river is 1m in width, 80cm in depth and 13m in length, it is not easy for people to go across. There is a bridge placed in the middle of it. People are not able to go to the next room without crossing the deep river. It is a metaphor for the '38th Parallel', and the numerals shining in the river represent other countless lives and deaths. Here is Miyajima's message: 'You must cross it.' The smallest LED (1 x 1.3cm) counters are specially made to embody the images of innumerable lives and deaths.