Transitory Nature of Earthly Joy is a set of five single channel videos played on digital monitors completed between 2016–2017. Each of the videos shows five different form of unfired clay vessels being dissolved slowly by pouring water into the interior of the vessel. For a brief moment the vessel seems to hold the water contained in it before it starts to break apart and slowly dissolves into the water surrounding it. The process itself is contained inside a glass container. I recorded the process for each of the five vessels at different times but under the same setting. The vessels themselves were hand made and hand built properly as if they were to be fired into ceramics as functional objects. They have relatively thin walls, so it only took a few moments from when the water is poured until they all collapsed into several pieces. But the completion of the dissolving process took between one or two hours, so each of the videos have different durations.
After the recording, I then copied each of the videos and reversed them and joined seamlessly with the initial video, so that they created a video loop. The videos show that the vessels that were destroyed at one point came back, were reformed and reconstructed slowly into their initial forms. Because they each have a different duration, after several loops, even though they all start at the same time, the five videos begin to show different stages of the process. Some are collapsing while some others are reforming. At some point the dissolving / reforming process is so subtle that it is hard to know which way it's moving. They look almost like still images or photographs. I wanted the videos to somehow resemble a still life photograph, reminiscent of the tradition of still life painting. I imagined the clay vessel to be the metaphor of a human corporeal body. And because these vessels were never fired, they never went into the transition process of becoming a different material—ceramic, so they stay in their perpetual state of form/formless, becoming/un-becoming. By reversing the videos to create a time loop, I wanted the work to capture the sense of time and the subtle transition in the process. It feels like even though the actual physical vessels are gone, they are in fact captured in this perpetual cycle of time and become immaterialized.