Today, we live in a variety of media floods so that the word media seems trite, but everyone defines the media differently and includes different outlines. The concept of the media is gradually getting caught but becoming blurer at the same time. Now, as media dominate and manipulate the lives of individuals, we must constantly look into the past of the media and ask questions about what is today’s media in order to identify the present and prepare for the future.
One of the characteristics of the media that dominates today is that it has brought the era of familiarity with moving image rather than text. People watch televisions and films instead of reading. The Social Network Service (SNS) page is full of images, making, editing, appropriating, and broadcasting on its own. This was made possible by the change of major media from text to moving images. The spread of personal video devices from the 1970s to the early 1980s led to this overwhelming change ahead of the spread of computers and the Internet.
Zeitgeist: Video Generation focuses on the artists born in the 1970s who have influenced their identity by the emergence of personal video devices, called home video devices, in order to examine the flow of media art around moving images. In the 1970s and early 1980s when the artists were newborns or infants, personal video devices, such as color television, video tape recorder (VTR) and camcorder (Camera + Recorder) became popular. These devices emphasized (1) the subjectivity that can be photographed, recorded, and edited by oneself, (2) the use of various colors, the personality, (3) convenience, mobility and cost reduction and it caused a great change in visual culture while people making their own documentary and home video shooting, and formed a new culture throughout society. As the culture as a whole changes, the artists have embraced video devices as their main media from their childhood and shared a so-called “video culture” and embodied them. Those who are accustomed to visual media rather than text media have been always experiencing the possibility that they can directly watch, edit, and show videos by themselves because of the high frequency of video exposure, and sharing cumulative cultural sensitivity through various television and video programs. In addition, especially in Korea, the experience of the launch of the civilian government in the mid-1990s emphasized culture, pursued a constant transformation rather than an authoritative, established culture, and strengthened the tendency to focus on micro-narratives rather than macro-linear-narratives when dealing the history.
The curator of this project understands that these experiences have had a great impact on the artists’ works using the video media and composing the narrative after they became grown-ups.
Onejoon Che (b.1979), Nguyễn Trinh Thi (b.1973), Kelvin Kyung Kun Park (b.1978), Ben Rivers (b.1972) who are invited to the exhibition concern about how to build narratives in moving images. They create unique three-dimensional montage and mise-en-scène by using found footages and faction documentary images and associate personal history with social history.
Since the influence of video devices were not limited to fine art, video art encounters documentary film and the digitization of the film at the point of deepening the image grammar. The artists’ works naturally synchronize with the documentary in that they form narratives based on the recorded images and documents of the reality. The boundary between film and video artwork breaks down. The images that existed in the three-dimensional exhibition space ask how to construct the narrative and montage that can be immersed into the two-dimensional plane, and the films that existed on the two-dimensional plane come to the three-dimensional physical space constructing special mise-en-scène.
In this regard, the exhibition invites the film director John Torres (b.1975), who has been working on the exchange of reality and fiction in a similar way to the participating artists, using the abundant use of found footage and the method of eliminating causality of shot, to present diverse practices in dealing with moving images.
In addition, inviting artist duo Benjamin & Stefan Ramírez Pérez (b.1988) for the last, who were born in the 1980s, but who have been working as a video generation between film and video media arts, this exhibition expands the identity of video generation.
Zeitgeist: Video Generation explores the video works of the artists who were born in the 1970s and 1980s, exploring the form in which they use images and construct their own narratives. It also introduces the three-dimensional video installations to realize the different physical and media differentiation from the two-dimensional works, asks about what is moving image in this era, and presents the physical and phenomenal experience to the visitors. During the exhibition period, Screening Day will be held to show the works of the exhibition at the film theater. Through the exhibition and Screening Day, visitors will be able to see how each artist implements the physical and phenomenal experiences of visitors with ‘similar but different’ moving image grammar.
Written by Sun A Moon
In Mansudae Master Class, Che pursues and records the overseas activities of the Mansudae Art Studio in North Korea, especially the activities in the Africa. The photographs and footages based on this research are crossed with the historical documents and found footages to capture the political and historical situation between North and South Korea hidden behind the Cold War ideology with a unique aesthetic and objective perspective. The themes of ‘division of Korean peninsula’ and ‘modernization’ which he has focused on more actively encounter in this work. The work is presented as a three-channel video installation and a feature-length documentary. While the installation of three-channel video at the exhibition level emphasizes visuality enabling the continuity and concurrence of the image through the three screen montages, the feature-length documentary is more concentrating on the continuity of narratives.
Nguyễn presents ‹Letters from Panduranga› as a single channel installation and a mid-documentary. The news that the Nuclear Power Plants will be built in Ninh Thuan (formerly known as Panduranga) has raised concerns about the collapse of the Cham community, and the artist records and juxtaposes the landscape of Ninh Thuan area and the portrait of the indigenous Cham. The voice-over format, in which a man and a woman exchange letters, and the screen composition of the single channel and two-channel format, cross the Vietnamese complex past, present and historical memories in multiple layers crossing the line between fiction and documentary. By constantly gazing the objects closer with camera, the artist narrows the distance between the viewer and the image and completes observational but poetic montage.
Park sheds light on the time-by-products and scenes hidden behind modern Korean myths of high growth and economic development through the metaphor of iron, centering on the Cheonggyecheon area, a mixture of pre-modern and modern. His camera observes the various ironworks, casting factories, and mold factories in Cheonggyecheon, and his work captures footage and pound footage. The installation ‹Cheonggyecheon Medley Assiba› presented at the exhibition maximizes visuality by emphasizing sensuous and conceptual images of iron. Here is a mix of chorus and machine sounds, and the work constitutes a rather stimulating montage. The feature documentary “Cheonggyecheon Medley” extends the story of Cheonggyecheon to the history of modern Korea by emphasizing the essence through the voice over form.
Benjamin & Stefan Ramirez Perez introduces the life of Doris Bizetic, a former social actor and Serbian pop singer, as a short channel installation and short documentary in Confluence. A mix of various footage, his crosses of life now go through fiction and documentary, and are introduced in the form of a lecture performance and an interview, and the history and political situation of Serbia buried under the bases of personal history are revealed as he talks about the past war trauma.
Ben Rivers presents the landscape of the Vanuatu republic and the remote volcanic archipelago from the short documentary installation and short documentary “Happy Land”. Since the region was destroyed by Cyclone Palm in early 2015, his footage is a documentary about the space that existed before and a memorable memory. Through the voice over which a poetry woman of Henri Michaux makes a mistake repeatedly, the artist forms the distance between reality and the image and creates multiple points of view between the exhibition space, the space with the speaker, and the space with the image And composes a dreamy montage.
Torres is experimenting with the possibilities of documentary by linking his experience of confusing subject and object in the past with the anti-Semitic Balance myth of the Philippines in the feature documentary “Strange Lucas”. It records film preparation and filming process, such as recruitment and casting process, and mixes it with various pound footfits to show montage which is unblinkingly broken in connection and causality. Especially, it makes many subjects of utterance make it impossible to know who is going to the movie. At this point, completing the overall narrative of the movie is another speaker who projects his personal memory and experience to his work It becomes the visitor who is the final talker.
What is the Zeitgeist of today? It refers to emotional states, thinking tendencies, attitudes and attitudes in a certain age. Of course, the formation of this spirit is influenced by the surrounding environment, material culture, and interface. The curator is interested in how the zeitgeist is realized phenomenally in the present age. And by dismissing Hegel ‘s concept of ‘zeitgeist’ by emphasizing the position that the spirit of one age passes through the age and changes the face and the various’ times’ spirals overlap each other to form the world. Through this, we will look at the multi-faceted changing times and try to illuminate the future.
In particular, the curator looks at the development of different attitudes by generations in parallel with the changes in the universal media they enjoyed, and then estimated the validity of the differences, and how each generation responded to changes in the social infrastructure and communication structure. The first exhibition ‹Spirit of the Age: Non-Psychic; Blue› was held in Itaewon from May 23 to June 19, 2016, in Amado Art Space. This exhibition introduced the work of the artists born in the mid 1980’s and early 1990’s in terms of post-internet art (post-internet art).
Sun A Moon
Moon majored in philosophy and art theory co-organized a “gentle relationship” at the Korea National University of Arts and Mullae-dong in 2012 and served as a reporter for the monthly “Public Art” for two years from 2013 . He participated as an assistant curator at the opening exhibition “Plastic Myths” at the National Asian Cultural Complex in 2015, Blue in the art space. He has worked as a producer of documentary theater ‹Lee Sangkuk› and ‹I am Monica from Pyongyang›, which was held at the National Asian Cultural Center and Artsonje Center in 2017, and ‹Brace for Impact›, which was held at the de Arphel Center in Amsterdam in 2018 did. In 2016, he was awarded the 2016 Prize for Exhibit Planning and Criticism, followed by the Tate Intensive program in London in 2017, and the DeAffe Curet Real program in Amsterdam from 2017 to 2018.