Kim Taeyoon received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Film, Video, New Media. His first solo show opened at One and J. Gallery on October 17, 2014. He has been included in group shows at One And J. Gallery, Seoul (2014 and 2013), Salon de H, Seoul (2014), Space 15th, Seoul (2011) Seoul Art Cinema, Space Cell (2006), Gallery Busker, Chicago (2006), Rodan, Chicago (2006) and Enemy Gallery, Chicago (2006).
I first met Kim Taeyoon in 2007 when he was at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In the following years his work was focused on commercial projects and innovative and new uses of video and media technology. We became reacquainted in 2009 through mutual friends and have since become good friends. Following his development as a media artist I realized that Kim is doing something beyond just making videos, that his work taps into the dominance of media and it’s role in our lives by transforming it into representations that show the ebb and flow of data used and forgotten. On the surface this density of information and data, however obscured, are playful, and engaging, even hypnotic images. Like our experience as users of the Internet and media Kim’s works draw upon what is not visible. They act as commentary on the disconnection between information programming and user experience, and the indirection of contemporary communication and information. Although digital there is a sense of analog urge for connection within his works especially ones like Chit Chat (2012 and 2013) where the work is based on social media.
The following interview questions, which where answered via email, are based on a conversation Kim Taeyoon and I had in June 2014.
Julia Marsh: As a student I understand you started working in narrative film and video. Your work now is almost entirely non-linear constructions in digital media. Can you describe the process or intentions by which you made this shift?
Kim Taeyoon: I wanted to simplify my working process. Rather than piling up my thoughts and present them altogether, I wanted to work spontaneously as they came. For me, (narrative) films were too complex in the process, at that time. But the influence of time is deeply rooted in me and I intend to use it in my work.
JM: You use fairly complicated algorithms that result in relatively simple shapes and hypnotic patterning. I see a relationship between the labor used, and trance music culture. Is there some spiritual connections between the work and the results? Or is it in the work alone?
KTY: I wanted show movement, in which the boundary of the start and the end are soft, as something constantly goes round and round. I have been looking for something like a movement, which we can just see purely without the expectation on the ending with the estimation of what will show up next, so that this led me to use algorithm. As well as I began wanting to simplify the shape/figure to emphasize the movement. Actually, the algorithm is not that complicated. Many parts of my work are influenced by the electronic music and sampling culture. Music culture takes a big part of me.
JM: Each of the pieces from 2013 seems to employ color and pattern akin to Minimalism or Color Field Painting. Would it be accurate to say that despite your practice being digitally generated that you think like a painter?
KTY: For some of my works, I plan a sort of system, in which the software actually draws the picture. Most of them have a structure that randomly generates a simple movement. I wanted to show elements like a certain motion, rhythm, and cut and dissolve in film, as a temporal image without narrative. I do not think myself as a painter, but I am under the influence, hugely, by painters.
JM: Your work Chit Chat (2012/2013) taps into social media and our usage of the same, while other works tap into the patterns of data produced on the Internet. What was the inspiration for Chit Chat and do you think that since making that piece social media has changed?
KTY: The reason I chose to use social media in my work is not to present the recorded objects, but to show the things that are presently captured, the data, which is generated in real time. The data can be many repetitive movements with the blurred edge of beginning and ending, as well as temporal images. The two words that are used in Chit Chat, in 2012, love and hate, were used so frequently in 2014 that the computer could not display the effect, on screen, in real time. The users and traffic increased that much. I am also now accessing more often, than at that time.
JM: One aspect of your work is that you interface with what is going on around you very easily; making use of the Internet and sources like Twitter for generating your images. What are you responding to in your environment?
KTY: I spend a major amount of time each day looking at the laptop screen. I do my work with the computer, receive information through the Internet and communicate with people through social media. And then a day just passes by. Naturally, the line between reality and virtual reality is ambiguous. I feel virtual reality has become tangible now, and the reality is becoming more and more something elusive. I am thinking about the meaning of relative time, which is under the influence of the environment like this. I wonder about those effects, which are created by fast Internet speeds and the information that is always accessible, the illusions that show on the electronic signboards on the street, the rhythm of the neon light and the faster transportation. I contemplate on how we can adapt ourselves to the real space that is increasingly narrowed, and the territory of virtual reality that is more and more growing.
JM: You described your work as being the wrinkle, or fold in the surface of digital media, as something that disrupt the surface. Can you elaborate on this?
KTY: The texture of the screen is slick. In the present day, where the technology is more developed, the pixels in the screen are denser and the image becomes smoother. It may seem that the speed of technological progress is faster and everything becomes dense, but like most of the computers have some bugs and report errors, there are creases hiding in the microscopic level of the external slickness. Digital media has an exceeding advantage on finding and showing those things.