Low Technology

I would say the most exciting show that I went to this winter is this show, "Low Technology" at the Seoul Museum for Modern and Contemporary Arts in Seoul. 

When I think of an exhibition on the concept of technology, I tend to think about artists who employ high-technology, like ultra high definition television, 4D technology or the technology used in the next Iphone.. things that I won't come across in my daily life as a student. Contrary to my presumption, this show was actually focused on using "low technology" (duh?) a.k.a the technology that we are familiar with and perhaps too familiar with in our lives as ordinary people. Some of the works were multiples pieces or installation pieces that employ very unique medium such as air fans and a massive yet light-weighted cube. (Pictured below)

"Metropolis Metaphor" Bei Kyong Lee 2014.

"Metropolis Metaphor" Bei Kyong Lee 2014.

This installation by the Korean artist Bei Kyong Lee is made of air motors and ultraschall sensor. I don't exactly understand how each of these media works, but basically, the sensors react to detect the position of the light cube that is floating over the air motors and make the air motors that are positioned just below the cube to work. As a result, the cube remains afloat in air and smoothly glides in air. 

Seeing something float is already a pretty surreal experience, but seeing that big of an air motor beneath the cube made me feel like I entered the hard drive of a computer. There is something ironic to using something as complicated as "ultraschell" sensors and motors to accomplish something that is as simple as the basic law in Physics, that forces make objects move. (I never took Physics, so don't quote me on this). I liked how smoothly and mysteriously this cube floated and glowed in air and how the volunteer at the museum had to occasionally come to touch up the air motor whenever this cube went a little crazy and the momentum pushed it outside of where air fans could reach. 

"Urban Creature- Galapagos" Lee Byung Chan 2014

"Urban Creature- Galapagos" Lee Byung Chan 2014


This one is a monster or an insect made of nylon bags, air mortor, LED light and optical fiber. The object moves, and makes those sounds that sort of resembles those of when I grab handful of dry leaves in autumn and rub them together- that sort of dry, light sound. When the light comes through the surface of this monster, the amazing colours become apparent, and it looks very very beautiful. The way this creature moves actually reminds me of Howl's Moving Castle: slow and heavy.


I actually forgot to write down the name of the artist and the title of the work for this one work, oops. But I like the juxtaposition between the florescent light and the stones. The way the light is set up resembles the movement of water, something much softer and more organic than the light itself.

"Skin Paster" Ji Hyun Jung 2014

"Skin Paster" Ji Hyun Jung 2014

I was super surprised when I saw this one piece- not because I could read the sentence in Korean (I couldn't,) but because the concept of the work was very very similar to one work that I created in IB Art back in November. 

I created out of post-it a mosaic of a Chinese politician and created a collage of about the same size as this piece by Ji Hyun Jung. The way the outline of each square is visible and how the size of  square is identical to one another is the exact same to how my mosaic looks, so I was surprised to see I came across a work of someone who had a very similar idea to me! 

This piece got my mom and I very confused the first time we saw it. At the start the scene looked like inside an ordinary house in Saturday afternoon or something- a chair, a tree, a bookshelf and a clock. But later, the scene begins to change to different seasons and the tree go through the transition through the four seasons. And at the end, when it reaches the winter, everything suddenly turns off, revealing that the whole scene was actually projected by a projector onto white outlines of a desk, table, a tree and a bookshelf. 

I feel like "low technology" can be worth as much as the "high technology" from the art standpoint. There are a lot of exhibitions focused on using the newest technology, but with creativity, more unexpected and exciting art can be created from low technology. 

I also saw A LOT of works by Nam Juik Paik during this Korea trip. I got very excited seeing his work everywhere because I researched about him for one of my art projects this semester and I really loved all of his pieces that I came across online. I had read that he is the founder of the Video art, but I didn't realize how popular and famous he was until I came to Korea and saw his works displayed in literally every single museum that I visited there. 

At this museum, though, the work was turned off, so unfortunately, I could only see and take a picture of the monitors turned off. I can only imagine how impressive the work looked if all the TVs were turned on and played videos. 

This is "Fatigue Always Comes with a Dream" by Yang Jung Uk 2013. 

This work shows a series of images on a TV of a man walking forward and backward. As the the man walks inside this TV, the TV moves, corresponding to the man's movement. This makes an unnatural feeling because the audience knows it's the TV moving and not the man moving. 

This piece made me think about unnecessary use of technology and our obsession with technology and innovation today. Now that I think about it, it's sort of funny how obsessed we are with technology... It really makes me think I should go on a tech cleanse sometime soon. 

I should get back to my sleep now... Tomorrow I will be going to visit Wang Jian Wei's studio and interviewing him! Keep and eye out for the interview articles!