The Past is My Present to Your Future 2014

About This Project

Love is a basic element of human relationship. It is what binds the family and, arguably, the human society together. We often wonder how love comes about in our lives, and how it subsides. Filled with countless number of questions in mind, in the end we accept the reality regardless. Perhaps it is the inherent mystery of human consciousness that gives rise to the unsolvable origin of love and un-love.


In this work, new media and technology artist Ivan C. H. Liu explores the notion that love is so profound that it changes the world for a person in love or losing love. In collaboration with dancer/choreographer Julie Magneville, they combine the body movements, the theater and interactive installations together to experiment a new way of storytelling.


The design of the installation consists of a wearable electronic system that manifests the relationship between the body, the consciousness and the world, and the interactions with the heartbeat and the brainwave are used to strengthen this notion.


The choice of objects and materials used in this work originates largely from the artist’s experience and perspective of his surrounding while living in Brussels.


This work continues the notion of his previous work that, the universe is constructed on top of human consciousness. Therefore, a few elements always exist in this series, including a human figure or a mannequin to represent the conscious being, and wires connecting this figure to the installation to represent, in some sense, the neuron networks. The installation itself would also reflect certain aspects of the world around us.


Liu discovered that the Belgians love second-hand and vintage objects. In Brussels, one can find second-hand book stores, furniture stores and markets everywhere. And the DIY culture is also deeply rooted here. Making one’s own furniture is a common thing. As the local saying goes: “Every Belgian is born with a brick in the stomach”, which just shows how strongly recognized this tradition is.


Inspired by this local tradition, the artist collected used wooden grates from a produce market nearby, and combined them with LED lights to make an installation. The lighting is dynamic, controlled by electronic system and programs built by the artist himself. He incorporates a brainwave sensor so that the performer can control the color of the lights by her brainwave. A heartbeat sensor is also used to control a lighting device and an electro-mechanical sound device to produce an on-the-fly audio-visual effect of the performer’s heartbeat.


Additional Information:

Residency at iMAL:

Chinese Press Release:

Dancer/Choreographer : Julie Magneville