Dao Tung


History of Now


Art book: paper and mirror-effect decal

21 x 18.5 x 3 cm each; two books total

History and time are parallel concepts. History refers to a period of time that has passed – a past that will continue to affect the present and, in turn, alter the future. This linearity may seem absolute but, in reality, it is susceptible to distortion. When history is manipulated, often by the ideology of the day, how will this impact the relationship between present and future, and the supposed linearity of time? Is there a way to expose all of history, truthfully, without distortions?

To answer these questions, Dao Tung created the art book History of Now. In an attempt to prise apart the linear structure of time, the artist forwent indicating the year when titling the book, thus refusing to situate it in any definable period of history. The book itself does not contain any words or images: all of the pages are opaque mirrors that reflect the viewer and the space they occupy, representing a small slice of history at the very moment the book is being “read”. When the book is closed, it retreats to the past; when it is opened, the viewer pulls it into the present and opens up possibilities for the future. 

(Edited from text excerpts provided by the artist)