Nothing Happened Today No.2 video 1
Single channel video
Color, sound, 24’12”
Courtesy of Antenna Space, Shanghai
Nothing Happened Today # 1-4 (2012). The self-evidence of the statement included the title of this series denies itself. We see here again how Li Ming works with paradoxes, and how such a meticulous preparation is eventually aimed at acknowledging a banal truth.
Every “chapter” of the series highlights a process of “awakening.” In the first part, Li sails along the shores of the Tongting Lake on a small powerboat, shouting "jintian wushi fasheng” (nothing happened today), subsequently recorded on a megaphone and reproduced at regular intervals. In the second video, a similar situation is re-enacted on a van on the streets of Li’s hometown: shouted in a solemn way, the sentence in this context seems to mock the propaganda slogans diffused in the same way. An effect of displacement arises from the fact that the content does not match to the context. Because the scene is shot from behind the loudspeakers releasing the “message”, viewers are given the opportunity to roam the streets with the artist, and meet the puzzled gaze of passers-by.
In the third chapter, the diffusion of the same message is entrusted to a small electric dirigible taking it up in the sky. Inside the exhibition space it becomes a big background projection evoking the real size of the object.
In the fourth final chapter, the same characters and pinyin transcription are carved on a signboard, set on the back of a bicycle and carried around at different times, in a bare landscape along a river, or a snowy field somewhere in the periphery. In the opening and closing sequence the board is placed on a balcony and firecrackers burns behind it releasing sparks, from sunset to nighttime, the artist sitting in a corner at last, contemplating the spectacle.
These recorded “actions”, linked to the specific time they were made, becomes pages of a visual diary.