'Observing the Human' presents a journey into human perception, and in particular observation, that is enhanced or rather distorted by technological advancement. We have partnered with the collective project, Noonssup, and present to you a unique exploration of human nature. Five South Korean Artists have taken on the challenge to present their interpretation of observation, raising questions about the act of observing, the identity of the observer, the role of the artwork and technology within this act and human nature as a whole.The exhibition presents distinct concepts of observation that are powered by the new opportunities that technology brings. In fact, each artwork is uniquely tied to technology as an NFT.
In her video work Prologue and Messenger(s), the artist Sejin Kim observes and comments on the inherent imperialistic ambition of human nature: the desire of man to expand territories repeatedly seen throughout history is now going beyond the Earth. Both artworks deal with 'Sputnik Crisis' and its effect on science, technology, education and humanistic values. Prologue introduces us to the launch of the first artificial satellite Sputnik 1, that reached the Earth's orbit and burst into flames after 21 days, while the Messenger(s) narrates the story of the mission Sputnik 2, the first satellite with a living creature to orbit the Earth. The protagonist of the artwork, ‘Laika the Space Dog’, gave her life for her country, involuntarily fulfilling a canine suicide mission, with Russia announcing the cause of death 50 years later: excessive heat and stress coming from the heat adjustment error of the spaceship. The Messenger(s) reborn with a 3D digital motiongraphic’ is a tribute to the living beings that sacrificed their lives in the quest for a better life for humanity. The sad story of Laika, and the melancholy of the artwork leaves us wondering: Mankind conquered the planet Earth and is now moving towards conquering outer-space.
Gihun Noh’s work focuses on the act of observing physical space in relation to human nature . The View Point Blue series consists of pictures from a camera installed at specific locations on Jeju Island, each exposed for 12 hours between sunset to sunrise. The locations have been chosen carefully by the artists, and they reflect each incident of the 'Jeju Uprising’-Monjugial, Jeju Port, Goneul-dong, Sonammeori and Jeongbang Waterfall. The scenery is mediated through the eyes of the innocent victim, as the series capture the viewpoint of each victim during their last moments.
Daniel Schine Lee explores the relation between the act of observing and external stimuli. How does audio, visuals or even physical contact affect the way we perceive the world? The artist plays with the concept of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. ASMR is the term to describe a tingling, static-like sensation in response to specific triggering audio, visual, and physical stimuli . Not everyone experiences ASMR, but for those who do, they describe a pleasant tingling that starts at the top of their head and sometimes travels down the spine and limbs, accompanied by feelings of blissful relaxation and drowsiness. Sorisomoon offers a multi-sensory & participatory experience: videos of polaroid pictures and stereo sound playing in loop, while the viewer is invited to take part in the hunting game of animals by playing the custom-made instruments. According to the artist, hunting is a game of seduction that requires the stimulation of the prey’s senses by sound,touch and vision.
Ga Ram Kim is interested in observing the human nature in relation to the world: Is there a relation between our environment and the way we perceive ourselves? The influence of other humans on the self - how others observe you based on actions and opinions, images and facades - is a prominent topic spanning Ga Ram Kim’s practice. New Still Life: Black Pink draws on the human aspiration for the ideal, the appeal of celebrity, distorted diet, and social media culture driving behaviour. Kim, a performance artist by nature, invites the viewer to question what impact these influences - influences that are often edited and retouched, far from the realm of reality - have on our self view.
However, the innermost thoughts and feelings of human beings have their roots in the subconscious, and their ultimate expression in dreaming. Humanity has always sought the meaning behind the set of information contained in our dreams in the same way that Bongsu Park’s artworks seek to better understand human nature through the observation of dreams. Her ongoing ‘Dream project’ is profoundly inspired by the Korean tradition of buying and selling dreams as a way of sharing personal contemplation. By storing dreams in a Metaverse collective space, the Dream Library, and allowing the viewers to share, exchange and explore already existing dreams, the artist subverts the very same nature of dreaming. The personal and intimate act turns into a social and collective one. How can one enter the library? By purchasing the Dream Library Pass: the NFT artwork that serves as the entry ticket to this digital dream world.
The ongoing exploration of the vast world of dreams has led to many different forms of the dream project such as Dream View. The artwork was developed out of a series of multimedia performances at The Coronet Theatre in London in 2019. The immersive performance interlaced dance and live electronic music with visual projections and it served as preparation ritual for the trading of dreams, the Dream Auction. The kaleidoscopic mirrored images of the dancer echoes the morphing patterns of the data visualizations.
One of the latest evolutions of Bongsu's project is a physical artwork, Dreamscape. These works, made as plaster, wood, and glass panels on canvas, reflect the outcome of a concept known as ‘social dreaming’ in which dreams are collectively exchanged and shared. During Bongsu’s solo exhibition Dreamers’ Gathering (2021), a select group of participants recorded their brainwaves whilst dreaming. These recordings were subsequently paired down to the REM period of each person’s sleep cycle and translated into data visualizations which were then etched onto layers of glass. The sculpture displays an abstract data landscape of the participants’ interpretation of their emotional and visual experiences of dreaming.
The journey of ‘Observing the Human’ is a journey that promotes questioning: the artworks invite the viewer to shape a new outlook on humanity and discover a new version of themselves.
Ga Ram Kim 1
Bongsu Park 3
Daniel Schine Lee 3
Gihun Noh 5
Sejin Kim 3