Jul 16, 2015 - Oct 4, 2015

Super-spreader: Media Virus

Nam June Paik Art Center

Super-spreader: Media Virus
Super-spreader: media virus examines the role and influence of media that are currently undergoing a change as various forms of media are distributed to a greater population. The exhibition also investigates issues that emerge from the rapid dissemination and spread of communication. The subjects of focus in the current exhibition are the establishment of media as a powerful authority and the change in the lives of individuals in the current period are. In the past, media was mainly used as a means to maintain authority or sustain a system through surveillance, control, or blockage of information. In the 21st century, however, different forms of media influence each other through sharing, participation, and diffusion. It is now changing into a strategic tool for individuals or minority groups. The current change is in the same vein with the prediction made by Nam June Paik, who observed even televisions would cease to function as a means of one-way communication and become a participatory, interactive medium. In contrast to the generations from the past, the current ‘media’ generation of artists recognizes media as a living organism. When they work together, they sometimes disseminate information or opinions on certain events of the society in a terrifying pace, overthrowing existing systems and networks of information or proposing new ways of interpretation. The participating artists of the current exhibition are those that were born between the 1960s and 1980s, a period in which media started dominating households and the lives of individuals. Living through such a period, they have experienced diverse media, ranging from television, movie, and videotape to the internet, moving images, and social network services. They are the generation accustomed to such phenomena both in their lives and works. At the same time, they are artists that take a critical view on a society dominated by media. While the artists use the media they are most accustomed to, they simultaneously deconstruct and connect the existing concepts - taste, language, knowledge, communication, agency, technology, community, and family - through their own unique interpretations. In the meantime, they also reinterpret diverse information and its fragments displayed on different flat screens. Presenting their reinterpretation in intriguing ways, they raise questions for the contemporaries living in the media-friendly age on how to establish relationship with media.

On November 23, 2014, Sony was made aware of a hacking of its server. Among other attacks, a series of emails between Sony executives were leaked. The threats involved a planned release of a movie The Interview, a comedy involving a scenario that appropriates the Cold War themes of security, defense, and secret infiltration into a rouge country. The hacking turned the company into a national security concern as the FBI doubted that the attack was made by hackers in China and North Korea. Critics opinionated that the scandal might have been fabricated. When the IP address of the attackers was revealed by other hacking organizations, the responsibility of the hacking had already become unclear. By examining the incident, the artist reminds of the fact that we are still exposed to a conventional way of information distribution, its fragility, and dangerous situations.


Since the beginning of video art, Nam June Paik developed a range of strategies to shape the medium, yet unique to this medium is rapid technological change and it’s social implications.
In 1964, Paik came to New York, where his “discovery” of the Sony Portapak and video art has become one of video art’s most enduring, if apocryphal, legends. According to this tale, Paik bought one of the first Sony Portapaks to be manufactured for the consumer market. He made his first tape the same day, recording Pope Paul VI’s visit to New York from a cab window; the tape was then exhibited at the Cafe a Go Go.

Suffering of the Corporate Body

Question: Thank you, Mr. President. I’ll start on North Korea . that seems to be the biggest topic today. What does a proportional response look like to the Sony hack? And did Sony make the right decision in pulling the movie? Or does that set a dangerous precedent when faced with this kind of situation?

The president: Well, let me address
the second question first. Sony is a corporation. It suffered significant damage. There were threats against its employees. I am sympathetic to the concerns that they faced. Having said all that, yes, I think they made a mistake.

Transcript of president Obama’s remarks at year-end press conference (all women questioners edition), December 19, 2014.

Weapons Directed at the Eyes of Consumers

Similarly to The Interview, Skyfall was co-produced by Columbia Pictures. Columbia Pictures is owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment. All movies distributed by Sony Pictures have included Sony’s brand.
James Bond used Sony Vaio laptop and Sony Xperia T mobile phone. Nothing special or excessive in this product placement: only Vaio’s logo and a glimpse of the new Xperia.
The corporate website sonymobile.com promotes its newest star-product utilizing spy imaginary.:
.“Also entering the field is our global “Intelligence Gathered” advertising campaign . it’s an integrated offering across TV, cinema and print that’ll be supported by on and offline activity on our sites around the world including Facebook and Twitter as well as local retail.”

In her work, Ann-Sofi Sidén throughly embraces the video technique of surveillance cameras that observe different activities of people in one space, which reminds of a classical concept of surveillance or the modern notion of a ‘Big Brother.’ Sticky Floors shows nondescript 24 hours of a pub in Ireland. Through nine surveillance cameras, the owner of the pub and its customers are observed. In presenting moments in lives of diverse types of people and almost boring scenes from monotonous daily routines, the artist shows them in a manner of ‘carving the time’ as if she prunes a tree and trim its branches. She does so by composing images and editing the source video, rather than using the original video as it is. Installed with objects that include beer glasses, nine monitors, and trays used in a pub, the work invites its viewers to ‘observe’ the lives of those that appear in the video from certain distance and eye-level for watching a video installation.

Rho Jae Oon has been producing works that give new meanings to images, texts, and sounds he collected from the internet and induce change the way of thinking, appropriating the technique of montage, a technique in film editing. Rho tells that we should enlighten ourselves about the danger of the transcendent speed that is accelerated by ‘smart’ platforms such as social network services. Rather than discussing the stereotypical optimism or hostility to the digital and the internet, we shall recognize the fact that the velocity of technology might induce us to unconscious conformity towards the myths created by the establishment. Monstermind is an interface* created by the artist, which plays a role of an attitude that responds to information and temporality of the current time and functions as a platform that combines them in a different dimension.

* Interface: A term to describe a physical or imaginary medium created to enable communication between objects or humans. For example, a landline telephone or a mobile phone can be examples of an inter-human interface in its physical forms. Virtual forms of the inter-human interface can be cable and wireless networks.

* Monster Mind: In everyday use, ‘Monster Mind’ is a programme for protecting against cyber warfare without order or command by human and it is supposed to sense an attack automatically. Beyond that, it means a supernational and artificial intelligence.

The virtual space of today has enabled the existence of a utopia, a perfect world where everything is in opposite to the real world. In The Flight of the Hen, Albert Merino stages a process where a desirable, ideal policy on public art is realized. With a specific setting of time, space, organization, and characters, the video is produced with an excellent visual style and directorship. Although the work narrates a fictional story of solidarity among artists that takes place in Barcelona, it induces viewers to doubt whether the story staged in the work is real. In addition to raising confusion and suspicion, the work even transforms a dramatic tension into a solid experience for the viewers. Through a well-staged fictional account, The Flight of the Hen raises a question on how solidarity among individuals can impose positive influence on the public policy as specific forms of media are developed with the passage of time. In this work, the most contested issue on contemporary media is delivered in the form of comedy, with questions done in an entertaining yet insightful way.

Ourhouse employs a familiar format of soap opera in presenting language, music, or conversations for communication that change at different periods of time. However, the content of his soap opera is structured in a deconstructive manner: It refuses to have a holistic meaning or interpretation, showing characters that represent fragmented parts of the popular psyche where people crave to find comfort only within the partial structure of mass media as if they are isolated from the world. Mellors’ soap opera tells a story about an unordinary family that receives a stranger (a figure that consumes books). Living in a suburban mansion, the breadwinner of the family, Charles Maddox-Wilson, is part of the middle class. The mansion changes its size depending upon the state of Charles’ mind. Mellors grew up watching British and American television shows. He tells that “a special interest in television” influenced Ourhouse. The characters appearing in Ourhouse exist in different forms that encompass fictional characters in a soap opera and moving sculptures, often transform into other forms to be presented in exhibitions.

nsane Park collects countless images delievered by different media that we encounter in our daily lives. He edits the images taken from television, internet, movies, and magazines through duplication, dispersion, and magnification. In his work, texts appropriated from advertisements, captions of television shows, or memorable lines from movies are often mixed with disparate images to generate mutant images. Such a way of creation resembles how information is produced by the mass media. The main subject of Park’s works in the current exhibition is ‘ideology is gone, but image is left.’ By collecting and editing images or texts that drift around incidents and phenomena that took place with the generation of certain ideologies, it tells about how the mass media edit images or what ideology is produced through the workings of the mass media.

Mioon is an artist duo composed of Kim Min Sun and Choi Moon Sun. Specialized in video and media installation, the two artists have been working together before working as a collective became a popular mode of working in the Korean art scene. Mioon produced a number of works with an interest in the audience, the crowd, and the group. Since 2008, Mioon has been creating works with a slightly different point of focus : individuals in the crowd, along with relations and situations that surround them. A new work for the current exhibition, Solaris* Ocean focuses on the chronicle of Mioon in the art scene for the last fourteen years. The work captures the continuous expansion and extinction that exist in the art scene as momentary states, visualizing them as an organic network. Based on items in publicly available databases online, Mioon and the environment around its work (i.e. various formations of human resource and different institutions) are represented in diverse colors and materials.

* Solaris: A science fiction film by Andrei Tarkovsky. In the film, Solaris appears as a planet covered by a gelatinous ocean as if it is an enormous brain. The scientists from the Earth one attempting to find out about the sentient ocean of the planet Solaris.

Ji-ryang Cha is an artist interested in those who are both ordinary people influenced by the system and individuals with independent orientations. Through his artistic practice, Cha has been telling stories about the contemporaries who accumulate discordance they feel in the real world in an unresolvable storage of the online. Virus of Timeline, Timeline of Virus is an expansion of a work with the same title presented in another exhibition in 2014. Delving into the communication
structure of dominant social network services, the work operates upon an open account on a social network service of which an ID and password are publicized to everyone. Watching a timeline* created by multiple individuals, which excludes the historical and social membership such as nationality, corporation, or school, viewers are invited to encounter the new individual that will born out of sharing and dissemination.

* Timeline: A list of entries on social network services (e.g. Twitter and Facebook), which displays entries made by a user and his/her friends in chronological order.

My Meds shows video clips collected from Vlogs* on the internet. As people in different clips tell his /her own story, their faces start to be layered in a certain pattern. The individuals in the clips express their yearning for intimacy and being part of a community. They are a reflection of the contemporaries who isolate themselves while sitting in front of digital screens or computer monitors. In this work, Bookchin presents a way of communication in a certain format that is available in the modern, technological society. Bookchin does so as she takes notice of two phenomena that have influenced the human communication with the development of the internet : the internet has enabled everyone to talk with the public; it became easy for anyone to express and reveal his /her opinion unilaterally; and at the same time, the internet has given us anonymity. A contradiction occurs at this point where one can increase his /her exposure while hiding oneself from such exposure.

* Vlog: A shortened expression for video log or video blog. Vlog is a blog that mainly contains video documentation that conveys contents about the lives of individuals, their thoughts, opinions, and interests, which are often created in a journalistic manner.

Euclid is an artist duo from Japan, which has been communicating with the audience using interactive media, dealing with issues of the confusion in individuals’ identity, extinction, loss, feeling of membership in society, indifference to unwanted exposure of personal information, and the phenomenon of becoming numb to such incidents. Under this context, the duo has been producing works that attempt to realize an experimental combination of diverse media and technologies. In Pool of Fingerprints, fingerprints of visitors swim around, mixing with other fingerprints to a degree where it is difficult to find one’s own fingerprint. The fingerprint finally appears out of the swarm and returns to its owner. The viewers of this work are induced to reflect on ways to express their identities and their sense of presence. In addition, they are led to encounter their other selves that are detached from their bodies.

Yangachi has been creating works that break in the gap within the complex, intertwined structures such as absurd situations or systems, and the state and society that surround them. He has been maintaining a cautious attitude towards the monopoly of power and its course towards the center. The work for the current exhibition represents political events and social transformation behind Korea’s economic growth on a double-sided screen, crossing between time and space related to the economic change. While the screens (media) relentlessly spit out different issues, viewers to the work are isolated from them. Different layers that lie behind media and atypical diffusion of information that one cannot identify its authenticity are transformed to sound, realized through a feedback of the light.

Nam June Paik Art Center
Credits: Story

Super-spreader:media virus by Nam June Paik Art Center
2015.7.16 - 2015.10.4

Curator | Hyunjeung Kim, Jihee Kim
Technician | Kijun Lee
Exhibition Coordinator | Liwon Kim
Educator | Minhwa Jo, Sun Young Kim, Juwon Mun
Publicity | Ha Young Lim
Administration | Younghwi Park, Eunkyung Seo, Byunghyun Kang
Docent | Eunju Park
Curatorial Support | Kyunghwa Ahn, Sooyoung Lee
Archivist | Sangae Park
Project Assist | PR & marketing team, Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation
Facility | Lee Jae ryong, Kwak Jae geun, Kim Byung jin, Kim Sang Kyu
Security | Han Sang heun, Woo Tae ho, Ha Byung ju, Hong Sung jin
Clean Team | Kwon Oyeol, Kang Chang sun, Park Jeong yeo, Wie Gwang sun

Reception | Gil Eun ji, Park Hye seong, Choi Seul ki
Usher | Yeom Kyung jin, Park Eun Ji, Yoon Na ri, Yoon Sang ki, Lee Eun sung, Jung Su Hyeon, Han Jin Lee

Exhibition Space Construction | SM Total Solution
Transport & Installation | TNL DASAN ART
PR Signs | Probe
Photograph & Filming | Nils Clauss, Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation Communication Dep't
Translation | Jaeyong Park, Haerin Shin, Hyunjeong Kim
Graphic Design | workroom, Yeseul Sung
Exhibition Organized by | Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation, Nam June Paik Art Center
Supported by | Japan Foundation, Embassy of Sweden, Korea Sweden Arts and Culture Society, Arts Council Korea, CJ Cultural Foundation, Hwaeum Project
Sponsored by | Cafri, SHILLA STAY, POOG

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Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.