On Kawara (b. 1932)

1. One Million Years

In 1993, in a decision unprecedented in his oeuvre, Kawara transformed One Million Years (Future) from a written to recorded state. The impetus for this metamorphosis was an exhibition for Dia Center for the Arts that ran from January 1, 1993, to December 31 of the same year. The exhibition was comprised of three parts, a selection of one thousand Today paintings, the ten volumes of One Million Years (Past) and the recording of One million Years (Future), in which a male and female voice continuously, year after year, count into the future. A segment of this recording was transformed into a CD. With the exhibtion the viewer plays a more passive role, entering into the space where the recording plays continuously, whereas with the CD the amount of time is limited, 74 minutes, and contains a set number of years (1994 AD to 2613 AD), thus transforming the infinite time of the exhibition into the finite time of the CD. With the CD the viewer is able to manipulate the duration and chronology of the CD, thus entering into a far more active relation to the work.