John Doe is pleased to present Observe Yourself Being Watched, a collaborative exhibition between MiA Collective Art and a Berlin-based artist, Youngho Lee, and curated by Grace Noh. The exhibition is on view from Tuesday, November 6 to Wednesday, November 21, 2018 with the artist’s reception on Thursday, November 8 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Observe Yourself Being Watched is a collaborative exhibition that originated from a question of our perception of “being watched” – not by human authority, but rather, by technological supremacy. By nature, humans care a great deal about being watched and the behaviors instinctively change under the condition of being alone or of having the gaze of others. As we wait for the subway, walk on the street, or relax on a park bench, we are constantly exposed to the gazes of people but also of various digital devices. Whether we consciously or unconsciously recognize the “surveillance” on us, we comply with the circumstances given to us and allow our traces to be marked.
Ultimately, the digital world is complexly linked to our contemporary lives. The click we make to add an item to the "shopping cart" may haunt us for days, showing up on miscellaneous online advertisement banners. This is nothing new to us, but it is becoming more pervasive and advanced. The exhibition poses questions to our understanding of digital data penetrating our contemporary lives. How much is our own and how much of ourselves are shared with others? How do we perceive the intangible digital remains of ourselves? Can we tolerate the anxiety of ambiguous boundaries and the influence of hyper-intellectual systems?
Observe yourself being watched presents Lee’s observations to these questions: the boundaries between the public and private matters and the extension of sharing with others arise from the process of transfer from material to dematerialization. Like Hansel and Gretel, our traces are marked in the digital world originated from the analog world. When an artist takes a picture of a sports car along the river with a smartphone, a single image content is created. When the image is uploaded online in a digital file, both the artifact and nature in the analog world are digitalized. At this time, the artist’s thoughts and actions, which cannot be seen, also become the raw materials of the digital product. Both the natural and man-made creations as well as the human thoughts, behaviors and actions no longer exclusively exist in the analog world, but can be transferred and infinitely replicated in the digital world.
Lee speaks about this penetration of digital data in our daily lives through film and mechanism – the materials that bridge and create a fantastical and ambiguous space between the analog and the digital boundaries. Through her photographic and film installation (Clinamen- Matter misprision), video projections and objects, Lee captures this obscure state of conversion of film from material to non-material data and the malfunction due to the deviation of the mechanism. Various visual elements of computer graphics, three-dimensional images and composite images of chroma keys collide and overlap. Together, the works in the exhibition are the new perceptions and creations due to these ironic influences – porous and plastic.
Youngho Lee (born 1979 in Seoul, South Korea) is an artist based in Berlin, Germany and in Seoul, Korea. Lee’s work is inspired by digging through visual devices, film, and social history where the artist recombines or restructures within her installation works. Lee has explored the relativity of advancement of technology and human, and the relativity is based on substantial Oriental sensibility and the point of view thereof. Lee’s work is quite composed of film installation or multi video installation. Needless to say, film installation or multi video installation plays an important role in making one’s own visual environment; however, instead of for so much of its own importance, it should rather be considered as one of the components of her work. Lee rather fumbles through the scenes of history to find her motives, reorganize them as her own language or make them anew by weaving them with films and create an environment in a space of fantasy that reflects the fact. Lee seeks to identify new relationships between the digital medium and human senses through the development of these synesthetic environments.
Lee is currently participating in the residency at Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany (2018-2019) and has participated in APEXART, New York, US (2017), Asia Culture Center/ACT Creator Residency, South Korea (2015-2016), Kuenstlerdorf Schoeppingen, NRW, Germany (2011), and took part in various exhibitions including Kunstforum Floesheim, Anita Becker Galerie, Staedelmuseum, Arko Art center, Daegue Museum, and Asia Culture Center.
MiA Collective Art is a collaborative media platform and project space for artists of inspiring minds, inviting ongoing participation of individuals through providing a curated selection of articles, interviews, exhibitions, and specific-themed projects in the fields of the arts.
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