For artist Frank Yu, the inspiration for Back to the 1980s, a sound installation activated by user interactivity, comes from the ubiquity of the bicycle as a mode of transportation in 1970-90s China. “Beijing, my hometown was once the Kingdom of Bicycles. Bicycle had played a very special and important role in the life of each single Chinese, as a status symbol every citizen had to have three things: a watch, a sewing machine and a bicycle during the old time. People could hear the random collection of the sounds of bells during the rush hours and these phenomena had been continued until 90s”.
This sound, now absent of the streets of contemporary China, understandably generates a sense of nostalgia, “The sounds left a deep impression for me and were a sweet memory, which accompanied me to grow up since childhood. I have no chance to hear them anymore since I moved in Toronto or even now in modern China. Therefore, the idea of this project comes up with such kind of memory. That’s why the shape was designed as a clock that represented the past time and three arms rotated backward represented that I wish I could turn back time”.