Impermanence

Radio Interview, Weekend America by Tania Ketenjian 2006

Radio interview, The Unobserved by Tania Ketenjian, 2006

Video Interview, Art Street Miami by Merille Eduardo, 2010

The New York Times, June 11, 2006
By KAY LARSON
Up the California coast, in Half Moon Bay, the filmmakers and designers David and Hi-Jin Hodge recounted how they discovered itinerant Tibetan monks making a sand mandala in a tent in town. ”I said, ‘What’s a mandala?’ ” Mr. Hodge recalled.
Mesmerized by the monks’ exacting application of streams of colored sand through tiny funnels, they returned every day. At the end of 10 days of creating exquisite beauty, the monks dragged a brush through the sand and returned it to the ocean, stunning onlookers. ”It was arresting because, being artists, people who make things, to spend all that time and say, ‘O.K., let’s burn it ‘ ” Mr. Hodge said.
”We were struggling with impermanent things in our own life,” Ms. Hodge said. They had just put Mr. Hodge’s mother in a home for the elderly, she explained, and were getting rid of a lot of things she had been attached to. ”We thought, why don’t we interview other people about the topic of impermanence? It was a way of researching.
” The result is their first video installation. They started off intending to conduct just a few interviews but ended up with 122. As word of the project spread, a maharaja showed up at their door; his voice and image now join that of a Jamaican window washer, a Web master, a 12-year-old boy, a Trappist monk, an ex-gang member, a Presbyterian minister and others on 12 small video iPods perched atop tripods arranged in a circle.
Mr. Hodge, a jazz musician, said he was deeply saddened by the death of the saxophonist Stan Getz, who was a friend. ”Why does it have to be this way?” he asked at the time. His project has helped him become more accepting — a message, he said, ”you could apply to everyday life.”
Or perhaps everyday life itself is the message, brought to new awareness.

Tribune art critic, November 2, 2006
By Alan G. Artner
The most fashionable things here are some of the artists’ means, such as impermanent installation, video and the iPod. But what the artists attempt to say with them is usually removed from the pop-culture entertainment that now prevails in art and the solipsistic withdrawal it has helped breed. The majority of works on view, no matter the medium, are literally about life and death and how we perceive each of them. It presumes, as art more strongly linked to fashion does not, that we are fully sentient beings as capable of impacting positively the life of others as deeply living our own. For the most part, then, this is art with a spiritual “message,” which means some will dismiss it as New Age visual babble. Inward-looking contemporary art that does not parade ego often meets that fate. But there are many arresting, exploratory pieces here, created by artists from 25 countries. The works that use their materials most inventively and poetically come from Katarina Wong (installation), El Anatsui (tapestry), Laurie Anderson (video/sculpture), Long-Bin Chen (sculpture), Lewis de Soto (inflatable), Kirsten Bahrs Janssen (interactive installation), Sanford Biggers (video and jewelry) and David & Hi-Jin Hodge (iPod installation).

Lifescapes, Oct 2006
By Shana Nys Dambrot
David and Hi-Jin Hodge are responsible for the show’s most powerful piece, “Impermanence: The Time of Man.” They recorded 120 interviews on video, and their library of Westerners’ thoughts on the nature of immortality and impermanence were projected on a circle of a dozen video iPods. The installation is a circle of small screens mounted at eye level; all are plugged into a single monitor at the center, whose cords and patterns radiate outward, representing unity. The sound tracks move in and out of chaotic simultaneity, periodically resolving themselves into single streams with sound bytes such as “…damage is permanent, creativity is impermanent; it can be damaged; don’t be a vandal…” emerging from the gentle din. In its union of an ancient oral tradition and cutting edge technology, functional form with expressive composition, suggestion and explication, this work embodies in itself the most poignant aspects of the entire program.

Yoga Journal, June 2006
By Richard Rosen
At the conclusion of the exhibit, the artists’ work will be either auctioned or offered for sale, with the proceeds benefiting the committee of 100 for Tibet and the Dalai Lama Foundation. It their mission statement, the Project’s organizeers say they hope their work will act as a catalyst for peace, even as “peace will always be elusive, or missing, in our world.”
It’s an interesting point, say husband and wife filmmakers David and Hi-Jin Hodge. Will there ever be peace on the planet? The couple attempt to answer that question in a video installment, “impermanence: The Time of Man, ” which features 108 interviews on the future of peace. What the Hodges found was that most people thought it to be unattainable. But, says David Hodge, Perhaps peace is possible if art can be used as a talking point that stimulates an internal dialogue on the subject. “It starts with the individual,” Hodge says. “and if someone can find peace within themselves, they tend to create peace all around them”.

YOGA Chicago Jan 2007
By Anna Poplawska
Husband and wife artist team David and Hijin Hodge created another video piece entitled Impermanence: The Time of Man, in which they taped 122 people talking about impermanence. David Hodge explains, “The recognition of impermanence is large. It puts brings you face to face with the unknown and inconceivable. Even after creating this artwork, I’m still not sure if I’ve fully grasped its scope.”

The Mercury News, 12/11/2007
By Sara Wykes
Several artists in the “Missing Peace” exhibit are from the Bay Area – one of the show’s most popular works was created by David and Hi-Jin Hodge of Half Moon Bay. The couple asked more than 100 people to talk about change. The process would stop, the couple agreed, when their subjects began to duplicate one another. But that never happened. And when technical problems led the Hodges to use iPods with video screens to display the many mini-films, this practical choice provided an appropriate visual wallop for our gadget-culture weary eyes.

Miami New Times, Nov 5th 2009
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus
The show opens with a sound and video installation by filmmakers David Hodge and Hi-Jin Hodge. In Impermanence: The Time of Man, they used 16 speakers and a 16-channel video on iPods to explore the temporal nature of life. For their eye-catching piece, the duo interviewed 120 people to gather their thoughts on the fleeting nature of life, who we are as human beings, and how people coexist in the world today.

Standing in front of the crowd of talking heads that appear on the tiny, business card-sized screens, viewers might become confused by the overlapping voices drowning out each other’s opinions. At first, the crowing cacophony is reminiscent of a raucous City of Miami commission meeting, until the voices reach a crescendo and almost sound like prayerful chants. The piece evokes the sense of people coming together to celebrate the universal aspirations that bind us in a common humanity, rather than the seemingly inexorable differences that separate us.


Impermanence Book review

“This collection of interviews recorded in both book and on DVD will be beneficial to both the people who are ignorant of the idea of impermanence and those who are well acquainted with this concept. After reading this book and watching the DVD, those who are new to the theory of impermanence will realize the impermanent nature of things and how to face changes in life, and those who have good understanding of this theory will think deeper and wider on this concept.”
The Tibet Journal, March 11 2010

“You will be surprised…touched and inspired as participants express themselves on aspects of impermanence such as awareness, peace, presence and death…(An) unusual, original and uplifting book-artists using technology to speak from and to our collective heart and soul.”
Light of Consciousness, Summer 2009

“A fine documentary of the modern condition.”
The Bookwatch, April 2009

“It could be seen as a visual-auditory experience of Dependent Origination with the medium becoming the subject and vice-versa. A beautifully crafted book inviting one to experience the uncluttered peace required for quiet reflection. The artists were challenged to reduce the abstract topic of impermanence and change into tangible form – to give the impermanent a permanent footing. They succeed in capturing fleeting moments of thought as they arose in an array of human beings and stringing them together like a necklace of pearls. Just as each pearl makes individual ‘sense’, but the whole string creates a different but related impact, so too in this book, the individual responses carry personalized meanings, but taken together, capture the essence of the universe.”
Eastern Horizon

“… focuses on the Buddhist concept of change which teaches that instability, change, impermanence, call it what you will, is a fact of life. Accepting that sands inevitably shift is a necessary path to stability and peace of mind. Impermanence is a valuable way station on this rocky, cliff-hanging journey… a mosaic of faces and a soft cacophony of voices. It is interactive. Let the film take control …. you are launched into the exhibit as if you were there.”
Feminist review Apr 2009


Watertime

Oakland Tribune 06/14/09
By Bonny Zanardi
David and Hi-Jin Hodge spent a year filming the Pacific Ocean at the same time each day from their Half Moon Bay home, creating the film “Watertime,” a meditation on variability, time and change. They had careers as industrial designers before founding Hodge Pictures in 1999. Since then they have produced commercial and promotional films, documentaries and artistic installations.

Art Daily 3/14/09
Exhibition Highlights
The exhibition presents the many faces of Mami Wata—who is frequently portrayed as a mermaid, snake charmer or a combination of both—as well as other African water spirits. The presentation demonstrates the pervasiveness of the water deities, the centuries-long centrality of water and these spirits in the lives of people across many cultures and the relevancy and adaptability of Mami Wata images and beliefs in an ever-changing world.
A large video projection by artists David and Hi-jin Hodge called “Watertime” is suspended overhead in the gallery to evoke the presence of the ocean and other bodies of water that are so sacred to Mami Wata. A selection of key objects provides an overview of movements, images and ideas that have played major roles in the arts of Mami Wata.


In the Memory of the Forest (in collaboration with ODC)

sf chronicle 2009
By Mary Ellen Hunt
As with most of Way’s work, arresting visual design helps to mold a multilayered and semi-abstracted
story, and “In the Memory of the Forest” accomplishes a lot through video projections by David and Hi-
Jin Hodge, which place us in a web of trees peering through misty memories. Jay Cloidt imbues the score
– which also includes additions from Paul Dresher – with hints of hip klezmer, and the voices and strings
enhanced by electric effects enlarge the perception of a cavernous, humid forest space.
The 12 dancers surge forward in lines, drift like irresolute ghosts wandering the forest and crawl across the floor in churning masses of humanity against a back-projection of trees. Life-size projections of the dancers dart though the trees as their onstage counterparts flit across the stage in a compelling bit of video magic reminiscent of artist Bill Viola. But Way and the Hodges are canny about their use of space, often allowing the performers to inhabit the darkness at the bottom of the screen, while lighting designer Elaine Buckholtz artfully contrives a seamless transition from the video space to the stage, meshing images with the reality.
It almost goes without saying that “In the Memory of the Forest” is one of Way’s most personal pieces – she’ll discuss the work at a lecture Thursday evening, at the Contemporary Jewish Museum-and it’s also
one of her best and most affecting.

San Francisco Bay Guardian Online 03/18/09
By Rita Felciano
Way’s elegiac In the Memory of the Forest was inspired by her mother-in-law’s escape from Poland in 1941 to find the man she loved. The work ended with parts of a recording — incorporated into Jay Cloidt’s musical score — of Iza Erlich telling her story. The audio was fragmented, pensive, and a little scratchy, just like Way’s choreography. Instead of fashioning a narrative, Way explored the anxiety, uncertainty, and determination — as well as the innocence and sense of loss — inherent in Erlich’s experience. More than anything, this is a piece about remembering. Cloidt’s music was multilayered and supportive; in the hands of Elaine Buckholtz’s set and lighting design, David and Hi-Jin Hodge’s video work looked first rate.

Voice of Dance.com 2009
By ALLAN ULRICH
What the dance does is to approximate the state of mind of a person in flight between a world of madness and death and an uncertain future. And for this, Way has lined up an impressive team of multimedia collaborators. Video artists David and Hi-Jin Hodge have provided a film of a forest in which dancers emerge from the brush and sometimes retreat into it. The performers sometimes blend into their live selves, and if it looks a mite confusing, well, our memories sometimes don’t earn points for logic, either.



Closer by the minute

Chicago life, August 19, 2012
“Nine Moments Online” By SIGALIT ZETOUNI

Pamela Ambrose, director of cultural affairs at Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) met artists David Hodge (b. 1955) and Hi-Jin Hodge (b. 1974) in the fall of 2006. The married artists had arrived at LUMA to exhibit an audio-visual installation entitled “Impermanence,” setting a circle of sixteen video iPods that simultaneously played sounds and images of over a hundred people discussing the meaning of change. Ambrose was struck by the work’s powerful exploration and the manifestation of its hypnotic sound. Each person interviewed for the work reflected on life and death differently and a picture of human contemplation was drawn. The artists stated: “In our work, we pose questions that probe individual hopes and resolutions. We hear the conversation of humanity striving for the comfort of permanence, all while recognizing that everything constantly changes around them.” (Artist’s Statement, www.davidandhijin.com)

Currently LUMA is presenting an online exhibition of nine video works created by the Hodges. In “Closer by the Minute” the artists employ digital technology coupled with meditative methods and through careful observations address issues of interpersonal, metaphysical and public interests. Specific themes portray a meditative study of the ocean, an exploration of what people leave behind when life ends, and personal stories of couples, how they met, fell in love, and the relationships they formed. In “7 Days With Clifford,” the viewer meets Clifford—the artists’ neighbor—who tells seven stories in seven days, revealing a far more complex and interesting life than one ever imagined. The most recent piece is a video featuring the remarkable story of the city of Niagara Falls, New York, devastated by pollution and job loss. The exhibition interweaves speckled perspectives to tell compelling stories about life and change. Minute by minute, the artists surprise the viewers through thought-provoking editorial content and innovative digital treatment.

While interviewing Pamela Ambrose, I learned that the exhibition was initially going to be installed at the museum as a nine-segment installation, but since the works were all videos, she decided that the best way to ensure that people viewed the workszxx.. was to present it online. In her introduction to the exhibition Ambrose wrote: “Our lives are contained in the parentheses of birth and death, but the natural forces of this universe are a counterpoint to the short time we spend on earth. In many ways, “Closer by the Minute” is a collective mnemonic account of where we stand today, both as individuals and as a society, trying to live in the moment. During the past four years, I have seen this project expand from a single work to nine interrelated videos and I am grateful to David and Hi-Jin Hodge and all those who participated in the interviews for allowing LUMA to bring this exhibition to Chicago.”

“Closer by the Minute” continues through September, and it can be viewed at http://luc.edu/closerbytheminute. Additionally, through October 28, LUMA is showing an on-site exhibition entitled “David & Hi-Jin Hodge: Who’s Counting and Temporal State of Being,” showing photographs that look at the number of items that the artists have in their home—everything from teaspoons in a kitchen drawer to pillows on the bed.

Published: August 19, 2012
Issue: Fall 2012 Issue




Niagara Falling and Life on Wheels

There’s nothing wrong with Niagara Falls, the natural wonder. That much is clear in the immersive video experience Niagara Falling showing in the de Saisset Museum through Dec. 6.

The problems, the Falling to which the title alludes, plague the city of Niagara Falls, which has seen its population fall so far—from a peak of 102,394 in 1960 to 49,722 in 2012—that it no longer even qualifies as a city under U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development guidelines.

It’s a sad story and one that artists David and Hi-Jin Hodge tell in unique fashion, using dual continuously playing, floor-to-ceiling video projections.

Projected onto one wall is Niagara Falls, the waterfalls, in all their powerful, pristine glory. In front of this, on a translucent sheet, the viewer is taken on tour of Niagara Falls, the city, past boarded-up downtown buildings, eerily quiet neighborhoods, forlorn government offices.

Interviews spanning generations of residents explain how the phenomenon of U.S. manufacturers relocating overseas devastated Niagara Falls’ economy. Then came Love Canal, the environmental disaster created when a chemical company buried 22,000 tons of toxic waste on its production site. Abnormally high rates of miscarriages, mental illnesses, and cancer followed. No one wanted to live anywhere near what became the country’s first designated superfund toxic-waste cleanup site.

In the video, one resident is heard to remark, "Love Canal was for Niagara Falls what Rock Hudson was for AIDS"—in this case the poster child for daunting, negligent industrial pollution. But to other longtime residents, Niagara Falls remains a hometown with culture and resilient roots. You hear words of longing for what once was.

Heavy traffic

Niagara Falling is one of two exhibits by the Hodges installed at the de Saisset under the title Closer by the Minute. The other, Life on Wheels, also fills a gallery with video and complementary imagery. This time it’s a model of a highway, about a foot wide, which winds through the center of the room. The toy roadway is covered with more than 500 identical shiny green Hot Wheels-size cars, bumper to bumper in a miniature traffic jam. A spotlight shines on the cause of the backup: a crash involving four cars.

Video playing continuously on all four walls includes engrossing interviews with four survivors of car crashes, and all kinds of car-related imagery: car washes, drag racing, road construction, auto shops, car commercials. At one point viewers are taken on a drive up the Bay Area’s U.S. 101 to San Francisco. Hillsides roll past, traffic stalls, the twinkling nighttime glimmer of the city comes into view.

But statistics flickering across the walls paint a less-beautiful picture. On average, around the world, two fatal car-involved crashes happen every minute. About 2.35 million Americans have been injured or disabled from road accidents, another slide states. Owning a car in the United States is said to cost about $8,000 a year—18 percent of the average household income—but cars are used roughly 5 percent of the time.