• Embassy Listings • Ambassador Listings • Medical • Education • Hotels • Travel • Automotive • Real Estate • Foreign Film Directory • Diplomatic Spotlight • Classifieds


Korean Artists Explore Digital Challenges of Modern Life

By David Jahng

On Oct. 5, the Korean Cultural Center opened “Interface: A Cross-Genre Exploration,” a new mixed-media exhibition by Korean artists Seung Yun Shin, Seungjo Jeong and Gene Kim, whose works evoke new perspectives on the everyday digital experiences that shape our modern lives.

The 20 pieces in the show examine the overwhelming technological changes we are confronted with on a daily basis, where interactions “between users and systems, objects and images, or memories and mechanics [are] increasingly complex,” according to the cultural center. The three use artistic expression to separate reality from virtual reality and remind us of the constants in our world, including the power of nature and the individual.

Shin showcases moving mechanical sculptures and illusory images. She said nature and memories inspire her works, and she wanted to integrate her art with various media, especially technology.

However, her view of the world had been temporarily altered. Pictures of a cloudy sky filled with smoke or a smoggy landscape with little color were in fact consequences of Shin's optic neuritis, an inflammation that damages the optic nerve and leads to vision loss.

Seungjo Jeong stands in front of his work featuring lockers that represent a personal space within a group. 

"I couldn't recognize. I was losing colors and shapes at the time," Shin said. "I just couldn't let that experience go, so I decided to leave those images in my art."

Shin could not see clearly for six months, almost losing her vision completely. Her ordeal left lasting images of blackened skies and blurry faces in her mind. She used a processing program to code pictures of what she saw through lenticular lenses, an array of magnifying lenses designed so that when viewed from slightly different angles, different images are magnified. The resulting film, which can comprise three to six different images, creates the illusion of movement in an otherwise stagnant photo.

Now fully recovered, Shin intends to further develop her process with lenticular film. She currently lives in South Korea but enjoys visiting the United States for inspiration, hoping to work and reside in the U.S. in the future.

"[The] variety of human beings and cultural things, that makes me very excited," Shin said. "That would be very helpful to my artwork."

Gene Kim’s portion of the exhibit featured digital works of computer-generated images and film. 

Jeong also travels to gain new experiences. He is currently living in London and has been exploring interface, the common boundary of two bodies, as a concept for four years. Jeong analyzes how objects like a locker can act as two bodies, creating a personal space even when part of a group.

He draws from memories of his parents' old loudspeaker, school lockers, shelves and VHS tapes he used to watch. His paintings are simple, consisting of only a few colors on a linen canvas, but they are made with the purpose of eliciting similar nostalgia among his audience.

"I want to provide the viewers with the extra pleasure of having had an interaction with the object in his or her own memories," said Jeong.

Jeong finds much value in the ability of painting to give meaning to the painter and the viewer, and he wants people to speculate on an artist's creative process. As a former software engineer, Jeong is interested in the inundation of digital images in the current artistic landscape. He is excited for the future and increased access to paintings and other art that it will portend.

Kim has fully embraced digital possibilities with his art, which consists solely of computer-generated images and film. His most recent work examines the relationship between real objects and fabricated images, with a focus on the chaos of animation and artistic production.

Kim was unable to attend the opening of the exhibition, but Ji Young Yun, a curator at the cultural center, explained that his work is more straightforward than the other artists' pieces.

"He would like to tell the people what's real in their lives," said Yun. "Is that the actual object ... or is it the image that is created by technology that is real?"

Eunice Fun Yu, a Taiwanese native who immigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s, enjoyed the art with her husband Kai Fun Yu, who is from Hong Kong. They said the exhibition provided something interesting and atypical from the traditional Asian antiquities housed in the Korean Cultural Center.

"This is sort of outside the box ... I see a new creativity," said Eunice, referencing Shin's "Cloud," a sculpture composed of feathers intertwined with metal and hung from the ceiling.

For the couple and all of the guests, the exhibit was a chance to learn more about contemporary art styles in an ever-evolving digital age.

"Interface: A Cross-Genre Exploration" will remain on view through Oct. 31 at the Korean Cultural Center on 2370 Massachusetts Ave., NW. For more information, visit http://www.koreaculturedc.org/En/

David Jahng is an editorial intern for The Washington Diplomat.




Save the Date! The Washington Diplomat's Annual Embassy Golf Tourmament will be held Friday, May 17 at Bretton Woods Golf Course in Germantown, MD. Be sure to attend this diplomatic tradition. Click here to learn more or to register. For sponsorship opportunities, please call (301) 933-3552.


This event will connect businesses with U.S. government contracts and with international business in Morocco and Africa. March 29, 2019. Click here.

List your upcoming events here. For $275 per listing (as low as $150 with a term contract), your event listing will reach our thousands of  subscribers. If you are reading this ad, you know it works. Call (301) 933-3552 for more information.

Subscriber Services

• Advertising • Contact us

You are receiving this message because you provided your email address to us for The Diplomatic Pouch. If you do not want to receive future emails from us, please click Unsubscribe to be removed from the list.

About the Pouch

The Diplomatic Pouch is an email newsletter distributed to opt-in subscribers and produced by The Washington Diplomat, an independent monthly newspaper. The Pouch covers the diplomatic community, international affairs, politics, arts and culture, and social life in Washington, D.C. Although a complement to The Washington Diplomat newspaper, all content is original and exclusively written for the Pouch.

© 2017 The Washington Diplomat. All rights reserved. Unauthorized distribution, transmission or republication is prohibited.