Get down to Island6 Art Center’s new exhibition “Absolute 0:00” and witness an amazing display of mind-bending concepts which takes time to conceptual depths.

The show focuses on mankind’s “willingness to invest emotion and thought into [questioning] human perception of time” according to the in depth essay penned by curator Pete Bradt. The collective of artists, technicians and engineers who call themselves Liu Dao have created pieces in the gallery’s adjoining studio interpreting that theme.

Absolute 0:00 is a reference to zero degrees Kelvin, the temperature at which motion and time theoretically stop. “I like the connotations of stopping and controlling time,” explains Bradt. “It’s as if all energy is [reduced] to its absolute essence.”

Most pieces tackle this concept’s weighty complexity in a lighthearted spirit. Slurp is an LED display of a pixelated man and woman playing piggyback. Their childishness is augmented by cartoony flashing neon lights. As if spitting at the idea of maturity, their juvenile game becomes a defiant stance against the normal progression of time.

In some instances, the artwork incorporates technology in order to demand human interaction. In Mademoiselle Mao, the image of a woman coquettishly preening appears in a mirror when motion is detected by a sensor. Another piece, Cranky Little Fellas, cunningly invites viewers to lift cloth flaps slung over cages. Light sensors are triggered, which prompt robotic birds inside to squawk insults and obscenities.

The exhibition is most effective in encouraging a re-examination of the process of consciousness. All the gadgets involved–sensors, motion-tracking devices, GPRS and sonar range finders–create an eerie feeling of surveillance. By interacting with the motion sensors, one becomes conscious of one’s body, then perception turns inwards and one becomes aware of consciousness itself.

It’s all very meta, but, lest the mood get too abstruse, quotes wittily referencing time are scrawled on the wall. “Your wife likes to spend time shopping because you don’t,” is one we liked.

Our favorite? “Shanghai is the future for 19 time zones.”


What: Absolute 0:00 at Island6 Art Center’s

When: Now until August 15

Where: 2/F, Bldg 6, 50 Moganshan Lu

Tel: 6227-7856