I produce a collision between the pleasure of urban superficies and the unease in their nature by engaging situations where ambivalent meanings have been encoded throughout modern history. Through interdisciplinary research and video-based ephemeral bodily tasks, installation, and photography, I create projects that focus on the way modernization and neo-liberal capitalism reshape our social, political, and cultural topography.
As a creative tool, irony can produce new insights and meanings. I see the function of irony as both aesthetic and political: it constructs form to create new sensibilities and perspectives, while influencing people to determine how they relate to given subject. In this sense, irony can be a strong intermediary when deals with historical, political, and social subjects.
My work references various theoretical and pedagogical catchphrases in the realm of social practice such as relational aesthetics, social sculpture, participation, and site-specific art. In addition, personal experiences, ranging from serving a 2-year military duty in the U.S. Army in South Korea as a KATUSA soldier(2008-2010) to participating in recent Occupy movements, have become the pivotal background of my subject matter.
All men are created equal Bullshit 2011 consists of two slide projections of myself transporting water through mouth, from river to ground, as I write Thomas Jefferson’s immortal phrase, “All men are created equal” - to which I add: bullshit. I created a condition "struggle" for this action by taping myself up. The laborious action appears absurd in light of New York City’s skyline, emblematic of the overdeveloped city in contrast to the potent struggle of the masses against neo-liberal capitalism.
The perfect lovers 2011 is a performance-based video which redirects the given meaning of Felix Gonzalez-Torres' art historical objects. The video projection splits along a vertical axis into two frames. Each frames show myself holding a wall clock in two different locations; one is near U.S. Army base in Korea and the other is New York City. Two identical clocks, as the original work does, are put together along the vertical line, at once separating and joining, partitioning and linking, dividing and connecting the multiple locations, functioning as a metaphor of an ambivalent military relationship between Korea and U.S.
The memory of Korean War 2011 is a single-channel video in which a performer uses a gun-projector that I altered a beam-projector by attaching a BB gun with a 100m electrical wire. The projector becomes portable so that the performer can take it out. The performer in this video shoot the images of bombs on smoke and moving trains. The projected images are the historical bomb-drop done by U.S. army during the Korean War. The images with the memory of war soon disappear as the smoke evaporates and the trains pass by.
Big Seoul 2011 is a video work which is the time-based documentation of a window installation in the city of Seoul. Big Seoul borrows its title from the work of Kim Kwang Seop's poem in 1971, which concerns the fast modernization of the city of Seoul after the end of the Korean War in 1953. This video work, "Big Seoul", consists of the series of old pictures in 50s and 60s' Seoul which demonstrate left-over memories behind the modernization. In the video, the series of old pictures on the window are juxtaposed with the present view of the city. I focus on the transitional moment from pre-modernity of Korea to global influence of modernization in order to re-think about who we were and who we are "now-here".
Sometimes history becomes present 2011 is a series of photographic documents in which I put a blank transparent sheet on a window pane. A smoke beyond the window was captured within the transparent sheet by a camera, and I took another picture of the smoke spread out into the air beyond the outline of the transparent sheet. I changed the color of the first picture resembling to a yellowish old, fainted war photograph. These pictures remind the historical bombardment during the Korean War as well as a current tension between North Korea and South Korea, even though the smoke was a simple fire in a construction site in Seoul. For cannon-projector, I altered the slide-projector by attaching cannon wheals to it. So the projector functions as it is a weapon. The projector shoot the images of bomb as a cannon does.For the series Window Project 2007 - 2009, I went up to new buildings and placed translucent silhouettes of skyscrapers from across the globe on the windows, imagining Asian cities' extraordinary growth. Contrasting the real exterior view with the added silhouettes, I intended to create a new urban landscape of overlapping scenes which serve as a metaphor for the city's own growth. The translucent building silhouettes were put up and photographed, but soon removed from the window and again compiled and remade in the form of destructed nature such as dying birds. Throughout the whole process, a city was constructed, de-constructed, and reborn in the form of a natural disaster. I believe this serves as a metaphor of a contemporary fast-paced city and it's uncertain future in terms of natural crisis.