I need to start this entry with the note that there have been many beautiful, meaningful video mirror interaction in some media art projects.

However, I remember one of curators I met said this to me, ‘I am tired of Video Mirror + Human Body Mouse Media Art Please…”   well, yes… I am, too!

I am tired of technology presented as if it is an art… (some case, it could be if it is well integrated with context of art piece) but, at the same time, as an artist exploring technology, I can’t help getting excited about new technologies.

This was last blog I was writing…  like more than 2 years ago.  🙂
I’ve been busy creating new art projects and I’ve been busy living my life in Seoul…  It’s been all good.   Life is good whether it throws me a challenge or a gift!

I will continue my blogging now.


I have had quite eventful two weeks.  After TEDxHONGIK after party on Friday, I really had to stay in this weekend to recoup my energy & here is why.

Seoul Digital Forum 2010

On thursday from two weeks ago, I was invited to go to Seoul Digital Forum at Sheraton Hotel.  With title, ‘New Renaissance’ they had many many interesting panel talk about 3D, gestural interface, bio-plastic and creativity with 50 influential professionals inviteed from all over the world.  This event was aired on SBS with its highlights (& I was on TV this year again as an audience 😉  ) It was a full day of inspiration.  I was glad that I made it there.

Rock, Paper & Scissors, Public Art under the bridge

jamie on the swing skirt by Soomi Park
graffiti artwork

A week before that, I met some global artists when I visited Namjun Peik’s Art Center to see a performance one Sunday.  They are friends with local Korean artists who mostly studied abroad and returned as contemporary artists.  I was a newbie to them as I introduced myself but, they were friendly with warm welcoming gesture.  Then, I was invited to a very interesting art event by them.  It was called ‘rock scissors paper + B.Y.O.G.B. Vol 5/ 가위 바위 보‘ organized by Kalmont Family.  I stopped by the flea market at the play ground near Hongik University area to say ‘hi’ to them after visiting lab.  After meeting them again, I definitely wanted to go to this event.  It was held under Seogang Bridge which is one of many bridges in Han River.

graffiti artwork

I left my house around 10:30 pm and took a subway to this Seogang Bridge stop knowing it’s the one way subway ride as the seoul metro closes after midnight. (I would never even had thought about going there late at night alone before.) There were drawings of rock, scissors and paper indicating the path lead to the place kindly.  Under the bridge, there were international (mostly foreign) crowd of about 50 people (later 100?.)  They were drinking beer, makguli, wine – talking in small groups here and there – typical party scene in the us.  There I met some more interesting people.  Most of all, the art, the true public art – street art were great!  I admire their efforts of putting their arts during night to have this open, under the bridge exhibition.  We did get a lovely visits by local police officers but, they weren’t doing anything to stop us – as we were peacefully having fun in public space & most of all, the majority were foreigners so they only spoke with a Korean represent.  Later on, in the tunnel, they had beautiful performance.  This artistic event has come out perfect in great spirit, spontaneously. I walked out around 2 am & got home for the next day’s salon event as I was asked to make cocktails for a salon at gallery/cafe, ‘B2Project.’  I bet the rest of them stayed until late and had more fun after they got out of the place.

Salon Day at b2project & Cocktails

at B2Project with a friend who I just met

Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of my Mojito nor my signature cocktail made with fresh watermelon.  I was really busy making pitchers of cocktails – we ran out of lime quickly.  I was surprised that lime is something you cannot get easily here in Korea.  It’s quite expensive as well!   In any case, I can assure you that my cocktails came out delicious!

As I had a busy night under the Seogang bridge a night ago, I slept until 11am and slowly got ready to go to B2Project.  The weather was beautiful and sunny so I’ve decided to bike there.  It was a long bike ride.  I had no idea as it was my first time.  It almost took one hour to get there and I was sweating by the time I arrived. (oops!)

J (a friend and one of the owners of the place) was having a salon for her friend, painter from Germany and her paintings were beautiful.  Very eastern painting feel to them, in black and white oil paints – mostly landscape.  I liked them…  hew, what a weekend!

And Teacher’s Day

Following week, it was teacher’s day.  I was visited by several ex-students of mine.  They are doing great and it was sooooo sweet of them to visit me and think of me.  I had some good chance to catch up with them and I’ve ended up drinking with one of them.  Sorry that I’m too tired now so that I will have to skip about this story.  One thing is that having insightful conversation with a former student made me think that teachers like me can learn from her/his own students sometimes.  It was very pleasant week beside the fact that I was coughing non-stop with lack of sleep.  I’m feeling better now… 🙂

I’m waiting for June now.  I know June will unfold with even more interesting events and meetings.

apt with forest view

Okin Apt, to be demolished

One late Sunday afternoon (march 7, 2010) – with Anna‘s invitation, I went to see Okin Apt Project in my neighborhood.  Coincidently, my cousin who just finished his master’s in urban planning and management from Hawaii was visiting Seoul so I invited him to join (& we can catch up at the same time)  He obviously had no idea where he was getting to but, happily took a small neighbor-bus to go to Okin-dong.  Okin Apt was built in 1971 and located right under Inwang Mountain therefore, it had great views of Seoul and mountain area in every direction.  The rich real estate developers won’t miss this hot spot… to demolish this old and low-income residents and build new luxury condo buildings.

apt with blue wallit looks like it's staged - Okin apt project

The Okin-apt Project was an interesting art platform as it invites visitors to experience the reality of situation with lesser interfere of artists.  It has documentary, stage-like and surreal quality to it.  It is a form of analog experiential media, following current trend of specific space and site being artistic expression.  What I paid attention was details of space that are being demolished.  How often do we get to visit all the houses in the same buildings? especially where they are all stripped out inside to be demolished?  Each space contained different stories.  With their funny looking wall papers, wall paints and found objects- tags like airline baggage tags, personal photos.  Some space was as if it was a stage set  for a play.  My experience of wandering these gutted apartments for few hours were filled with dusty smell, nerve-wracking sound of stepping on broken glasses and balancing on half broken stairs; contrasting beautifully open view of Inwang mountains and Seoul downtown.
apt buildings to be demolishedinwang mountain

Okin apt buildings were built in 70’s style – low budget, boxy  in concrete and cheap paint finish.  These project buildings were known to be lowering the city’s esthetic quality but, they were not too old to be demolished.  They could kept the old historical quality and renovate them… in my pure artistic observation. It seems like many 20-100 years old buildings are being demolished under the name of redevelopment too easily in this city and it’s becoming very rare to find the real history of the city.  In a long run, historical value could raise capital rather than modern high rise buildings.  With high rise buildings, they will have to build bigger roads for the residents’ cars and it will result more demolition of small mom & pop’s stores and traditional markets.

Sadly, demolishing these low income families’ residents are effecting people who were living in low rental plans, poor residents  – It would be very difficult for them to find places to live anywhere else in Seoul with the same rent they were spending.  They will have to migrate to cheaper neighborhood.  The owners of these redeveloping apartments would make more revenue if they have extra money to reinvest in new development and if not, they will be compensated for whatever their demolishing apartments are being valued.  I don’t want to open a can of worms with my limited knowledge on redevelopment plans in Seoul but, I’m just writing my personal limited observation here.

b2project entrance
B2Project is a gallery / cafe house in the quiet alley of Dahak-ro (Haehwa-dong), Seoul; next to traditional old houses (한옥) that are few left in that area. It’s owned by my friends, sisters.  Its interior is full of different kind of lightings, large plant and the German vintage objects and furniture.  The gallery is located in the basement and I’m planning to fill that space with interactive media art projects eventually.

b2project  - a cozy artsy cafe with lots of vintage objects at Hehwadong, Seoul

b2project old TV

Anna & I often use this lovely quiet cafe (with free wifi) as our design office & the owner always greets us warmly and we chat about daily stuff.  I also admit that I got hooked to their cheese cake that has an ice cream filling.  mmmmmmm~

Anna and I secretly want to keep this space only to ourselves since it’s really a rare gem in Seoul…. but, I believe in sharing and open-community & I would like to see this space beoming artists’ communial space.  One weekend, I’ve invited media artists colleague from my research lab to introduce them to each other.  Somebody once called me “Nokia – connector” — If I’m profiled as in “Tipping Point” by Cromwell, I would belong to Connectors.

friends over at b2project

Outside of the back alley, from the broad street, Dahak-ro may seem like a very caotic place, just like Time Square in NYC.  This area is called ‘Theater District’ and you can imagine lines of people to watch all sort of plays, musicals and many bars and restaurants….drunk people.  However, if you don’t mind walking deeper into the back toward hill, you will find artsy bars, cafe and galleries.  There is also a Robot Museum.  🙂

From my childhood memory, Dahak-ro used to be a major place for college protesters.  Yes, I grew up in a neighborhood not so far from here.

(this kind of murals were on several walls in west village)

I went to another US tour this summer and now I’m back.  I guess it’s a time to post a new blog about it.

I’ve went to Seattle (my sister  & Microsoft Campus visit for Window 7 UX design) > Portland (my family) > New York (my home city and I pretend to live there still) > New Orleans (SIGGRAPH 2009  – we had a presentation at Research Challenge – we got 2nd place!) > New York (caught up with some more friends) > LA (my brother) > back to Seoul (3 nights ago)

As you could imagine, I’m pretty weary so I will be short and sweet and only will focus on NYC.

High Line

I had to check out High Line, a new city park in Chelsea area on the railroad (about three store high looking over Hudson River.)  It’s beautifully planned and built. (photo below) I especially appreciated wooden floor of the park & the benches.  It was great to recline in the bench and drink a cup of coffee looking at the New Jersey side over Hudson river.  Wait a min, when these new interesting looking buildings were built?  cityscape around chelsea has definitely changed.

From High Line, Chelsea, NYC

PS1 MoMA, Warm Up!

It’s been years since I went to Warm Up! at PS1 so I’ve decided to check out the exhibition and the crowd.

(bottom:  Art Installation, Pool)

pool installation at PS1 exhibition

The Tea Room, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

This spacious restaurant has a long list of teas but, also good mimosa, wine and trout dish.

the tea room, williamsburg, brooklyn

’24 Hour Party People’ Film Screen, McCarren Park, Williamsburg, New York

Perfect movie, perfect location and perfect crowd.

(If you love 80’s music, I highly recommend to watch it if you haven’t.)

'24 hr Party People' movie screening at McCarren Park, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

Mojitto at Rice, D.U.M.B.O., Brooklyn, NY

Rice is an awesome fusion rice restaurant with Thai and Cuban flavor & they never failed me.  Also delightly surprised with good Mojitto.  D.U.M.B.O. is a great place to stroll and has the best view of Manhattan.

mojito pitcher at Rice, DUMBO Brooklyn

My friend Andrew’s Art Studio, East Village, New York

It was great to catch up with this upcoming artist from New York.  He was in Netherland for artist residency so it’s been many years since I’ve seen his latest work.  His collection showed Dutch influence definitely!  I’ve decided to be a fan of his art.  Hopefully, he will have a show in Seoul one day.

visiting an artist studio in e. village

Some of you might have heard their song on iPhone commercial. Two members(there are three memebers) of The submarines are Blake and John and they are good friends of my good friend so I have seen their performances few times here in NY. The first, at the Joe’s Pub (2004?) and the second time at the Mercury Lounge last summer. I like how they always remembered my name and pronounced it perfectly. Last summer when I was visiting NYC, my friend told me they are in town and we went to see them performing for our catch up. They just released their new album and it was great.

Again, we’ve been trying to find a time to catch up again during my visit to NYC this winter, and he sent me an email that The Submarines are playing at the Mercury Lounge. I thought, wow, again? They tend to be in town at the same time I’m! The shows were all sold out and it was very crowded and I could see they got even more fan this time. The performance was great as usual and they are really cute people. If you talk to them, you will know what I mean. 🙂

They said my name out loud with a joy when they saw me and were very glad to see me and their good friend(my friend) who kept catching up with me during their performances like it’s a routine. Well, to be fair, he didn’t know they were in town until the last minute and I didn’t mind at all. I love live music & it was lovely to see them. They will be heading back to LA after tour and so am I next week. 🙂 GO THE SUBMARINES!

If you haven’t seen them performing live, here is youtube video of them singing. It’s better to see them live of course. Enjoy!

A week ago, I decided to bike to Seoul Museum of Art near Duksu Palace since I finally had a real day off + weekend. It was to go see Seoul Media Art Biennale for the second time after the opening ceremony I went two weeks ago. It’s always lovely to walk by the old palace wall. How should I explain it? it’s narrow and curvy with stone wall one side and park like street the other side. It’s just a very cute path and the museum is on the hill where it ends. It was a warm autumn day so by the time I parked my small bike, I was sweating already. Uh-oh, I hope I won’t meet anyone I know.

The selection of arts are very impressive at exhibition, titled “Turn & Widen”. It’s very well curated and well displayed. (The curators are Maarten Bertheus, Raul Zamudio, Tohru Mtsumoto and Andreas Broeckmann.) I liked how they carefully laid out how people move art piece to piece. Media arts are exhibited in 3 floors and it is definitely worth to visit at least once if not twice. There are several art projects that I really found interesting.

(will get back with more writing here…)

Meanwhile I’m posting some of art installations that I was able to grab with my small digital camera. I biked back and didn’t bump into anyone I know…

“Augmented sculpture series” by pablo valbuena

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