In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Simultaneous Echoes
  • Youngsil Sohn, curator, educator

The Simultaneous Echoes exhibition presents works by 21st-century Korean media artists who incorporate media technologies such as digital video and interactive installations into their work. At the same time, it aims to analyze the formative language of the medium and examine how the featured artists’ works reflect the evolving views of media and contemporary Korean society. Hosted on the 30th anniversary of Nam June Paik’s satellite project Good Morning Mr. Orwell, this exhibition examines Paik’s view of media and his influence on Korean media art, with works by current young artists considered in a parallel manner to suggest discourses of Korean media art continuing in the present.

The Korean media artists presented in this gallery grew up experiencing rapid changes in the artistic environment as a result of the inflow of digital technology; at the same time they adopted media art with a new sensitivity. These young artists who emerged after the 2000s became an interface for the creation of new relations and contexts. They present differing viewpoints of contemporary Korean society through varied approaches such as interactivity. Their works stimulate the imagination and simultaneously change the trajectory of media art by utilizing new developments in technology.

The year 2014 is meaningful as it was the 30th anniversary of Nam June Paik’s satellite project Good Morning Mr. Orwell. The live TV broadcast of the program provided a turning point in the flow of Korean media art, and Nam June Paik, as a founder of video art, directly influenced the emergence of the first generation of video artists as recognition of this new art form spread.

This gallery presents works of a new generation of media artists emerging after the 2000s. It aims to analyze the formative language of Korean media art and examine the meaning of its practice regarding media. The exhibition also considers Paik’s view of media as well as his influence on the development of media art alongside the works of these emerging artists. The result is a continuing discourse about media art that spans different artists’ works and across time.

Nam June Paik recognized early on the social and formal importance of video art and gave birth to a new genre of video art by utilizing television sets. In collaboration with technology experts, he developed new tools to create electronic images and continued to improve the content of his works, visual images and formative shapes by integrating high-tech computers and digital technology in his artworks. His video works and constantly changing images are not only historical documentations of the past but they also serve to present Paik’s wish for and visions of a future of open mass media in which the imaginations and participation of individuals from around the world—and of local communities—are reflected.

Since the mid-1990s, single-channel video works have become more prevalent than video installations, often reflecting interest in subjects related to daily life and reality and exhibiting a participatory tendency rather than just showcasing new technology.

Artists working with single-channel video offered their independent views about personal and private issues or about Korean society, demonstrating a critical consciousness of reality in a descriptive way. By the late 1990s, media art was accepted as a genre in Korean modern art. As media became more accessible and varied, the public, especially in Korea, entered an era that seemed to allow more room for self-expression and individuality.

Simultaneous Echoes investigates the tensions derived from distinctive and opposing relations in Korean society, a shifting terrain where political, religious and cultural identities are being recharted. These contrasting perspectives inherent in Simultaneous Echoes—such as those of society and the individual, art and life, technology and art, Korean modern art and media art—could very well lead to a new vision of reason enriched by creativity and imagination.

The media artists featured in this gallery express diverse values and cultures and harmonize new concepts through media and aesthetic experiences. The works reveal differences and gaps between the viewpoints of Paik and today’s young Korean media artists about media art and society, simultaneously providing important implications for the transformation of media...


Additional Information

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pp. 381-382
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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