Fissure presents - Sim Chi Yin (b. 1978, Singapore)
Most people were silent, 2017
Two-channel video installation with sound, 3:40
"My work focuses on histories and memories in land and peoples, through a research-based practice and photographic and filmic installations of landscapes — human and non-human — with unseen, unspoken pasts."
This video diptych, made on an exhibition commission for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017, pairs two landscapes with unseen complexities.
From the north peak of Mount Paektu — an active volcanic mountain divided between North Korea and China — we look into North Korea, which has conducted six nuclear tests since 2006.
The Cascade Mountains in Washington State, USA, was the source of the water for the Hanford B Reactor which manufactured the plutonium used in the world’s first nuclear test, Trinity, and in the bomb dropped on Nagasaki in August 1945.
The two scenes, with a sound track that begins with propaganda music played on Pyongyang’s streets every morning, and ends with the words of the “father of the atomic bomb” J. Robert Oppenheimer — accompany a set of photographic diptychs of nuclear landscapes in North Korea and the United States, inviting the viewer to draw parallels, suspend their sense of place and ask questions of our moral judgements.
"In making this piece, I reflected on the aesthetics of horror, and on the tradition of the sublime in landscape painting and photography, as well as the nuclear sublime."
[Video and audio editor: Gabriel Ellison-Scowcroft]. Image credit - Sim Chi Yin; Most People Were Silent still.
Artist bio - Chi Yin; Bio