MIDTOWN FLUTTER

Directed by
Yuge Zhou

Video art exploring the urban relationship between the city and its citizens

Yuge Zhu originally came to America from China to pursue a degree in computer engineering but the fascination with American architecture and urbanism took her on different path.

'Coming to America was a critical first step for me as an artist. I became deeply intrigued with American urban life, how people live in a city, the relationship they have with each other, as well as the connection they have with both architecture and nature. Searching for a way to express these ideas, I started to take art lessons at a local college. My first endeavor was paper collages that explored design and abstract patterns by drawing inspiration from my surroundings. At the same time, I photographed daily rituals embedded in micro narratives and architectural elements. About five years ago, I moved to Chicago to pursue a Master of Fine Art degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where I became intrigued with video art. This medium allowed me to explore the concept of time in relation to space. While keeping my focus on the urban environment and experience, I expanded my vision of what a city is from the formal qualities of its architecture to the actions of its people—the collective tapestry of its citizenry.'

I became deeply intrigued with American urban life, how people live in a city, the relationship they have with each other

'For Midtown Flutter, I shot a variety of architecture in midtown Manhattan, allowing passersby to interrupt the scene. By selecting and then composing the video footage according to the formal qualities of the architecture within the scene, the architecture in turn dictates the patterns and flow of the pedestrians. Midtown becomes a flattened, uniform construct for this play of texture, rhythm and interruptions. Midtown Manhattan is one of the iconic places in the world where tourists and working New Yorkers occupy the same space and co-mingle. It represents the brief, fragmented instances and moments in a city when somebody walks into our lives and then leaves. We encounter these people so briefly and everybody has their own story, and we are in that story for just an instant. That instant is an intersection of stories and lives. It is a flutter. It’s all part of the city experience and the mythology of New York. I think a lot of people come to New York because of this mythology. The piece also pays homage to architecture and uses the architecture to show and hide passersby.'

Midtown Flutter is part of The Humors, a four-part video collage and installation series that was inspired by the Ancient Greek philosophy of four temperaments (the sanguine, choleric, melancholic and phlegmatic). This idea goes back to the Ancient Greek medical theory of the four humors, which suggests four fundamental body fluids, and how they affect a person’s personality.

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