00:00 (Zero Hour) is a series of dreamscapes filled with the hidden truths concerning death and memory in our everyday, ranging from portraiture, landscapes and objects. Photographer and artist Amy Li began working on the series in late 2014, but it wasn’t until the Flint water crisis took hold that same year, where cost-cutting measures led to tainted and toxic drinking water, truly got the project going.
“I was thinking about rising political and social turmoil that was happening in the US,” Li recalls. “Race relations were tense and the discussions surrounding water were starting to take place. The water crisis in Flint was the initial inspiration of the project because it had involved two subject matters that were extremely important to me: racism and environmental concerns. It had never occurred to me that those two separate discussions could happen simultaneously.”
The series begins with an open Nike shoe box (a size 6 of Air Force 1’s to be exact) filled with overlapping childhood 5x7s. “For most people, their first introduction to photography is the family photo,” says Li. The cardboard box takes on the role of the family album, encasing each stored memory as a nonlinear daydream. These snapshots play on the photographer’s love for the vernacular image.
I really love vernacular photography for its mystery and intimacy. I always strive for those characteristics within my personal work.
Suspended in Amy’s world, we catch ourselves taking in the contrasting warm and cold lights of these nameless places and nameless faces. “I think the way the internet presents photography is very similar to looking through photographs in a bin, box or album.”
In the digital realm, where time and space is disintegrated, flattened and illuminated by a bright screen; images are forced to sit at a stand still — a purgatorial dimension where they drift aimlessly. The bright light blinds us all but we still gaze longingly.