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* Eyeball interviews will focus on the people in overseas, including Koreans who are engaged in the media arts.
2007. 11. Interviewee: Jeon Jong-deok, Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation Managing Director


Eyeball: Many people have a keen interest in The Nam June Paik Art Center. What was the motivation for this project, led incidentally by Gyeonggi-do and not the Korean government?

Jeon Jong-deok: The project began when Name June Paik and the Gyeonggi-do Governor agreed to set up The Nam June Paik Art Museum in November 2001. With its establishment, its aim was to bring together all of Nam June Paik’s artistic achievements; provide a forum for domestic and overseas artists to discuss and work in video art; and for the public to meet and enjoy work by the founder of video art.


Eyeball: Tell us what is happening on now.

Jeon Jong-deok: Gyeonggi-do and The Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation started the project after the agreement between Nam June Paik and Gyeonggi-do governor in 2001. In 2002, we purchased Paik’s works from him then invited domestic architects to submit architecture designs to house the work. As we could not select a design, we opened an international architecture competition in December that same year. In 2003, we constituted a museum building team, purchased more artworks, and signed a contract with Kirstin Schemel, the competition winner. In April 2004, the design was complete, and the groundbreaking ceremony took place in May of the same year.

Eyeball: What’s the remaining schedule and the process you particularly put emphasis?

Jeon Jong-deok: As of October 2007, an opening preparation team is in operation. It will prepare the opening program in accordance with our plan for opening in July 2008. We are preparing an opening program, with the aim of including many world-renowned media and experimental artists and of presenting a new art tendency.

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©Copyright2007 The Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation


Eyeball: As The Nam June Paik Art Center deals with a specific art field, it seems expertise is required. And, because it will present, not only the historic meaning of Paik’s art, but also its theoretical basis, such experts may feel a degree of pressure, given Paik’s importance.
I wonder, is there an aspect of Paik’s art The Art Center plans to emphasize and, what is your judgment of the Korean research personnel who study Paik’s art and media art?

Jeon Jong-deok: Initially it was The Nam June Paik Art Museum, but now we have officially named it The Nam June Paik Art Center. Based on in-depth study, it will provide a wide variety of programs, exhibitions, education, and residency programs. We will involve eminent domestic and overseas people in the advisory committee, to stimulate an exchange of information, programs, and Art Center personnel.
We will also make the Art Center the research hub of Paik’s art, based on the material collected on Paik’s video art, his life in Germany in the 1960s and 70s, and information soon to be collected from the United States and other regions.
To do this, we are preparing a network of research personnel. We will also form a partnership with prestigious international museums and art centers like the Smithsonian Institute.


Eyeball: Overseas media art institutions and festivals have long preserved and collected works of video art, especially in America. MoMA for example has exhibited and collected works by many filmmakers and media artists. Will The Nam June Paik Art Center function as another media art archive?

Jeon Jong-deok: We already archive 2,285 video pieces created by Paik over the last 40 years, which we are classifying and converting into digital records. We also plan to archive other relevant material, in cooperation with other institutions at home and abroad.

Eyeball: Recently, there have been many crossovers between film and video art, based on interdisciplinary studies. Examples include work by Douglas Gordon, one of YBAs (Young British Artists) members who presented his film Zidane at the Cannes Film Festival, and American artist Matthew Barney, who also presented his work at a film festival. In collaboration with film producers, Name June Paik pursued a film aesthetic in opposition to commercial movies; and such an exchange has become a feature of contemporary media art. Paik’s work is associated deeply with experimental films and experimental videos, such as Gordon and Barney.
In this context, what will The Art Center do and what kinds of vision will it provide?

Jeon Jong-deok: The Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation offered part of Paik’s archive to The 2006 Experimental Film Festival. We also plan to maintain constant relations with the film scene. The Nam June Paik Art Center will strengthen such exchanges with other, relevant art fields. We also open Paik’s archive to the public, and artists for particular creative activities.

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©Copyright2007 The Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation


Eyeball: what is your general comment for those interested in The Nam June Paik Art Center?

Jeon Jong-deok: We expect professional artists and the public alike to participate actively in the process of its establishment and growth. We hope, as did Nam June Paik, they will all display their strong and creative energy, and tireless experimental spirit.
We will develop creative programs in association with artists, as well as curators, painters, art critics, technicians, film directors and producers. And, we expect your active participation and invaluable advice in this regard.


Eyeball: To end, would you comment on the media art webzine Eyeball, set to publicize overseas Korea’s media art and culture.

Jeon Jong-deok: The Nam June Paik Art Center will address a wide range of art genres, based on media art. I am glad to witness the foundation of Eyeball, as it will vitalize and introduce domestic media art abroad, before the launch of the Art Center. Celebrating its foundation, I hope your esteemed webzine will be active, and collaborate closely with us.


 

-Jeon Jong-deok, Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation Managing Director-

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