In Hannah O’Flynn’s WAITING she set out to wait for nothing. The artist imposed on herself a fictional situation where the inherent objective of the action was cancelled, altered to void. Yet the frame set by the action was still valid. Her subject therefore got caught. In the situation, she was forced to concentrate on being.
Waiting is a duration of time experienced in the action/state of expecting a pre-determined objective. Doomed with no positive purpose to achieve, O’Flynn navigated the absurdity of purpose. Her lifetime spent, documented by a present video camera, played as a parody to the search of meaning: there has to be an active ‘for’, even if it is for a pure form of negativity.
In the video the viewers observe how her being was afflicted with anxiety, frustration and boredom. The subject was too pre-occupied with the prospect of a certain point in the future – be it the acquirement of a pre-defined meaning or the achievement of a pre-determined purpose – to stay in the here and now of being. Nonetheless she was in the here and now of a Beijing communal space. The contradiction of her being and her action was manifested by the emotions she experienced.
In the stillness of her action her being is brought visible. In fact, one’s being never ceases, despite of it not being paid attention to most of the time. The condition of being is presented with clarity.
At the end of the video an event occurred, ruthlessly crashed the aesthetical monotony of the artist’s attempt for void. However, the occurrence answers the conceptual framework dictated by waiting: it appears that she had been waiting for a friend to come. Yet any visible event would be equally irrelevant. The achievement of purpose is as futile as the assumption of it. Time was spent. The action/expectation was present, in justification of one’s being.
- Liu Chao