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Definition of Media Art has to remain incomplete. This is because when the limitation is set, the minor actions and experimentation outside of the limits must then be redefined. The artist ByeongSam Jeon believes that the rules of media art must remain in the broad category of ‘21st century imagination of science and art.’ He focuses and researches media art as a media artist, exhibition planner, a lecturer and an entrepreneur who operates the organization called KoIAN.




The reason he presents capability in diverse areas is because he aims at the human communication through art. His work Telerobot-Nanta (Television 12) which he presented in November, 2009, clearly illustrates this thought. This project combined robotics, telecommunication and improvisation music. The exhibition unfolded in improvisational manner with off-line visitors and the users who visited the website www.RobotNanta.com. Although in concept it seems that the drum performance would give off a lively energy, it was not the case with the musicians, because a gap still exists between machines and human.


Then, why is Jeon producing such works? It’s because he is interested in science and technology as he believes that they will make a great contribution to the communication that he pursues. Thus he pours himself in creating art based on science and engineering. The core element in his communication research is human. He believes that the value of electronic technological art can only be realized through the human network and the human action and thoughts that form global communication. If McLuhan insisted on confirming the function of communication and on looking at media art as an extension of the human body, Jeon expresses that science and technology must be applied for human communication.  Thus, to him, technology is not an academic field that needs to be researched, but is a medium that needs to be used like the extension of the physical human body.



To Jeon, human physical movements are important as illustrated in his work Lack of Energy shown at the exhibition Lack of Electricity at Space Can. The work invited the audience to propel an independent electric power plant to project and watch the news. The text written ‘propel and watch the news’ induced the audience of human action, but the monitor power turned off when the action had been completed (and image had been loaded). He claims that his works, which uses the physical movement to refer to technology, are not about communication being formed through science technology, but more about it being formed through the human perception. In an interview, he expressed that “The objective does not lie in communication itself, but in using it to understand others, ease discomfort in the society, and to find its genuine value.”



The 21st century science and art are intimately related to each other, and the boundary in between demands a practice that confirms its value rather than a concept that regulates the range of the two. It’s only natural that the human action of the human-network-directed 21st century is maximized through science technology. Furthermore, it’s appropriate that the use of such technology be explored for human artistic activities, because programming of technology is increasingly becoming more focused on the human cognition and body, and what enables that technology departs from the human artistic imagination. Because Jeon’s works are exploration and experiments on human understanding and reconciliation through artistic communication based on technology, his works can be seen as a broad-ranged media art of the 21st century. The digital age aiming for consilience highly supports the conjoining of science and art; and this is the reason the artist ByeongSam Jeon is so captivating.



Paik Gon, Chief Curator of Space CAN

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Posted by EYEBALL_Media Arts Webzine


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