travel


from the train (dirty) window

Somehow, I’ve managed to make one week trip to the east coast of the US during my visit to Portland and Seattle. (Thanks to airline mileage)

From the day I arrived, NY got the first biggest snow storm of the winter. It did snow for a day and half and another snow storm followed in 4 days later.  It was beautiful to watch when I was inside of course… I had only several days in NY so I had to keep myself active but, enjoying my break at the same time.

위의 사진은 내가 로드아일랜드 프로비던스로 가는 기차안에서 내 핸드폰으로 창밖을 찍은 것이다.  사진이란 매체는 정말 나의 눈을 통해 장면을 보여줄 수 있는 매체로써 저해상도의 사진이라도 꽤 흥미로운 것 같다.  가끔 이렇게 멜랑꼴리한 사진들이 찍힐 때는 그 순간의 정서가 여김없이 깃들어 있는 듯 하니 말이다.  오랜 친구를 만나러 가는 길이었다.  그 친구와는 지난 7년간 정말 많고 많은 좋고 나쁜 사건들이 있었기에 오랫동안 잊고 지냈던 추억들을 기차속에서 돌이켜보니 나도 모르게 미소가 흘러나왔다.

부르클린 창고에 물건을 찾으러 가기위해 겨우겨우 꼬셔서 차를 운전해 나오자 마자 5분만에 맨하탄 대로에서 처음으로 타이어가 완전 찢어져 펑크가 난것도, 또 바퀴가 안 빠져서 오가는 짐꾼들과 자전거를 타고 지나가던 사람들에게 도움을 받아서 겨우겨우 비상타이어로 바꾸었던 것도…(WD40의 위력을 다시 한번 알게 된 계기이었다)  한 여름이라 땀에 젖어 다시 집으로 가서 씻고 옷갈아 입고  만나 다시 창고로 가게 되어서 아침부터 준비했던 것이 무상할 정도로 해가 어둑어둑할 때즈음에 겨우 창고에서 물건들을 빼올 수가 있었던 에피소드도 있었다… 저녁약속을 하면 어김없이 20분은 항상 늦었는 데 지금은 내가 늦어서 서로 기다리지 않게 된것 같다. (아니면 지금은 오랫만에 보게되어서 나를 배려하는지도…) 와인과 노트북컴퓨터와 책이 항상 같이 하는 친구이다.  머리가 남들보다 너무 좋다보니깐, 남들과 코드가 안맞아서 본의아니게 무례한 말들을 거침없이 하게 되어 다른 사람들을 화나게 하고 많은 오해를 불러일으키는 이라고 할 수 있다.  물론 나는 그런 무례한 말을 들을 때마다 어이가 없어하면서 크게 앞에서 웃어준다.  본의를 알기 때문이다. 그리고 제발 다른데서 그런 말 하지 말라고 당부를 한다.  이번에 만나니, 나보고 자기를 박사라고 불러달라고 한다.  드디어 학위를 취득했나 보다!  축하 축하

언제였나… 약 6년전이었나보다.  그래도 꽤 자주 보는 친구사이였는데, 항상 찟어진 (필시 본인이 찟은) 면셔츠에 모든 브랜드태그를 제거한 옷을 입고 작은 월세아파트에서 살고있던 이친구가 친한 지인들 몇명을 자신의 생일파티에 초대를 하였다.  꽤 먼 뉴욕업스테이트에 위치한 본인의 별장이라고 했다.  우선 나는 기차편을 알아보면서 다른 친구들이랑 기차역에서 만나 가기로 했다.  약 7명정도의 친구들이 초대가 되었었는데 모두 처음 놀러가는 길이라고 한다.  난 1박2일 행사라 걱정이 되어서 묵을 곳은 어디에 구해야하냐고 심각하게 물었다.  크게 웃더니 그 동네에 베드앤브렉퍼스트는 많으니 구하려면 구하던지 하면서 의미심장하게 웃었다.  차로 우리들을 역에서 픽업하여 별장으로 가면서 나만은 다른데서 묵어야 하지 않겠냐고 계속 놀려되었다.  그 이유는 나중에 알게 되었는데 사실 우리가 가는 별장은 200 에이커나 되는 대규모의 시설이었다.  호수가 3군데있고 (배도 떠있다) 수영장, 사우나, 당구장등은 물론 골프차와 스노우모빌등도 배치되어 있는 집만 4, 5개가 지어져있는 곳이었다.  우리 친구들은 서로의 얼굴을 보며 넌 알고 있었니 라는 듯한 표정을 지었다. 결국에 나는 한쪽면이 유리로 된 숲속이 보이는 방에서 하룻밤을 자게 되었는데 한밤에 캠프화이어를 하면서 숲속에서 와인을 마시며 진실된 geek답게 무선전기의 속성에 대한 대화를 나누며 즐거운 시간을 보내었다.  지금 생각해보니 즐거웠던 한여름의 밤이었던것 같다.

이 친구와는 너무 많고 많은, 그냥 지나치기에는 일상적이지 않은 사고와 사건들이 있어서 무엇부터 이야기를 해나가야 할 지도 잘 모르겠다.  방문을 하게되면서 우선 몇개가 생각이 나서 젂었는데 언젠가 글을 쓰게 된다면, 아마도 좋은 등장인물이 되지 않을까.

wrists tying

Last half of year 2008 passed by in light speed with my students’ graduation exhibition, the end of semester and graduating gathering… among them, last week of December has been a spectacular experience to end a year.

Yes, I decide to make a trip to Ann and Mark’s wedding & post wedding group trip in Thailand almost at last minute and I did the right thing.

This xmas is the first one I couldn’t spend with my family due to my faculty resonsibility during early January. Yeah, it would have been sad to stay in Seoul alone in cold weather during xmas. So, it was a perfect timing, many thanks to Ann & Mark for many more things…

The wedding was beautiful. It was truly global, interactive, technological and traditional and modern. I’ve arrived Chiang Mai in the morning of the wedding day so I missed the dinner before so I didn’t have a chance to introduce myself to many other friends of the couple from Fabrica and ITP (some of ITPers were like a face-matching-with-name game, if you know what I mean.) I’m sure I missed a lot more things on Saturday night. Anyway, food was delicious and I especially appreciate goat stew that Ann’s father specially got them slaughtered with the holy buddhist ceremony and cooked. There were at least 3 DJs that ITP represents at the post wedding party although I had to go to bed soon after 36 hrs of almost no sleep.

Next day, I chose to go to downtown Chiang Mai instead of going to Flying of Bricks. eh, I’ve watched Amazing Race – flying between tall tree branches are not my thing. Instead, I was able to enjoy amazing Northern Thai local cuisine. I found myself that I like northern Thai (close to Laos and Cambodia) food better. I had this amazing chicken soup with egg noodles with an accent of pickled cabbage called, “Khao Soi” I already crave this dish, mmmmmmmmmm.. (Thanks, Jane for taking us there)

pretty rocks that I collected in my heart

After Chiang Mai, we flew down and reassembled at Bangkok airport. That was to ride a double deck bus down to the south in order to take 2 hr speed boat to an island, “Koh Lipe” After 33 of us including the groom and the bride’s family waited around for an hour for this mysterious double deck bus (the most of tour buses are double deck and they are very colorful in Thailand,) we started 14 hr ride bus trip down to the south. It was an adventure. I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t with this cool group of friends.

Now, I have to describe these global artistic geeks from all over the world. If you ask such a question, “Where are you from?” You will get two different answers. Either where their nationalities are or where they are living now. For example, Japanese and Chinese friends are from Amsterdam and a Russian from Shanghai, a spanish from SF in USA… myself, an American in Seoul, Korea….and the list goes on. Through ITP and Fabrica, Ann and Mark are the center of this group.

Back to Koh Lipe, it was beautiful, warm, delicious —- ahhhhhhh! several islands around it was cool to stop by as well. Koh Lipe is dreamy especially someone like me who came from temperature below zero weather.

With a dozen of mosquitto bite marks and sands in my shoes, I returned to this cold reality but, it’s time to daydream another trip to somewhere else. 🙂

autumn scene, Gangwon-do

This year, I’m the adviser of the sophomore students at Digital Media Design Dept so they told me that I need to lead the team of students to their fall M.T. (Membership Training) Trip. What Koreans call, “M.T.” is actually not exactly a Membership Training. It is usually referred to the college kids’ trip during semester. They usually pick a destination and rent a bus and go for an weekend over night trip and there are usually few professors involved. This time around, it was only myself + one administrative T.A then, 48 students. Hmmm…. I felt like a real adult.

However, it turned out that they were more orderly and organized than I was. What kind of college kids are having fun until midnight playing different team games but no alcohols? (They did pack bottles of Soju, beer and others) They started to drink after midnight but, nobody was hung over next morning. They’ve cleaned after themselves with proper recycling bags. Wow! I’m impressed. I need to corrupt these kids a little bit…, note to myself.

Beside the fact I had to give up my weekend, it was pretty good to smell good fresh air and see funny looking sheep and play with youthful students! Half of them are taking my Interactive Communication Theory class so it was nice to play with familiar faces.

About Sheep: They are bigger than the grey sheep I saw in Ireland but very friendly. Their fur is so thick so that when I poke my finger deep into their fur, they didn’t even blink an eye. They are so peculiar but, soooo cute! I did look for a sheep with a star mark on it…. just like in Haruki Murakami’s ‘Wild Sheep Chase’

laughing sheep

(laughing sheep. It was sunny but very very windy in the filed)

students

(students after BBQ porkbelly + potatoe)

I guess I’m due for some simple updates on my summer in this blog. The end of semester went by really insanely fast as usual. I had no idea how I packed & left Seoul. It’s been already 2 weeks since I arrived in Seattle, drove down to Portland with my sister’s family to see my parents, playing 9 hole golf & flew to San Francisco for a weekend visit then, arrived New York City last Sunday. Somehow, during last a week or so, everyone around me wanted to go see artworks… I have no complain but, 4 exhibitions in a week is a bit a lot to take, don’t you think? Anyway, let me summarize a bit about them now.

Museum of Glass Arts, Tacoma, WA

My sister insisted that we visit this museum on the way to Portland, OR. I had no idea since when she had great interests in glass arts but, I was all up for it! Here is one photo of installation I liked. (it was hard but, I’ve managed to take a sneak shot of it.) They also have a stage where you can see glass masters in action. Yeap, it’s warm filled with heat.

ps. I’m still dumb founded about the fact that museum clerk asked me if I’m under 18 years old still. jeez.

San Francisco, Bay area

As all my family members live by the west coast, I begin to think about any place to live in the west coast. It’s a hard thought to be away from NYC but, since I am away from NYC now, it might be a good transition to think of SF as a future option? It’s cold during July though. The hills don’t bother me that much since I’m used to hills in Seoul. (Imagine hills like SF during winter time with snow & ice!)

Since I was visiting an itp friend, of course I ended up meeting other ITP peeps. Some I had classes with, some I’ve known the names. The thing is that everyone I met during this short visit were from New York. All of them! It’s like a course you take after New York or something? Anyway, it was chillest 4th of July I’ve ever had in the US. The San Francisco people told me that July is the chillest in Bay area, SF. Who knew? Beside unchanging weather which could be very boring, I really liked the Bay area, SF.

PS1, Elevator Installation

As a friend of mine was involved with this cool elevator installation artwork & he only said, ‘I built a button’ I had to see it with my own eyes. The light installation is on the ceiling of the elevator and you do see a large red button in the middle which is to stop this colorful movement of lights. 🙂

Murakami Exhibition @ Brooklyn Museum

The last day of Takashi Murakami at Brooklyn Museum

O.K. I had to admit it that when my friend told me let’s go see Murakami Exhbition at Brooklyn Museum since it’s the last day of the exhibition, I was hesitant. Because I went to exhibitions two days in a row and it would be three days in a row and my feet were hurting apparently. But, I do like Murakami’s artwork so I dragged myself to meet up with my friend at the Brooklyn Museum. Wow, they changed fascade, lobby… it’s been over a decade since I’ve been there, shame to myself. (O.K. Brookland is a pain to travel to during weekend as we all know!) Not surprisingly, my friend got stuck in the subway station for over one hour on the way to the museum and I who hates waiting without deadlines were extremely annoyed. The show was about to close in one hour & I had to make a hard decision. To go in & meet him later. As it turns out, he just made it to the exhibition 50 min to close and we were able to find each other inside of gallery rooms.

I really loved this show. No wonder there were lines like a Disney Land ride line but, I didn’t mind at all because there were 2 floors of amazing paintings, murals, statues by Murakami. It was a through retrospective of Murakami. His vivid colors are very hard to transfer in a small camera but, here are some images. Happy ending.

close up of a painting

close up of this large painting

Stir It On! – Interactive Fashion Technology Art

Stir It On! is a story about my experience of swimming at the bioluminescent bay at night. Imagine waves of dark ocean water under starry sky and millions of tiny organisms illuminate when they are stirred up. This is also my comments on social experience in Seoul public space. (ah, that’s another blog entry there.)

more about the project here >>

SIO(Stir It On!) prototype version 1.0 (inactive, back)Stir It On! active

My first prototype version 1.0 of Stir It On! had its debuit on the runaway at Social Fabrics, Dallas, TX. Am I happy about the result? I feel neutral about it. I’m glad that I had this exhibition so that I could force myself to really complete first prototype and at the same time, I’ve encountered many more problems with my design of this prototype which I haven’t thought out during sketching interaction design process.  Immediately my mind was already so full of different ideas of how to tackle these newly found challenges…also different ideas of design and surface treatment of the skirt… and more.  I’m ready to go back to my sketch pad again to fix the prototype 1.0 and make it into 1.1. It never ends, huh?  Actually, this thing has just begun.

I have met some interesting groups from different part of the world who showcased their wearable projects. It’s always interesting to watch how other artists approach wearable projects. (That is another blog entry again… I suppose. I’ve been slacking in my blogs…I know!)

I had this idea since my short trip to Viequez Island, Puerto Rico in Oct 2006. I’ve been sketching my Stir It On! skirt ideas for almost over a year. I started to play with arduino board and touch sensors during summer of 2007 and I got into the production stage at the beginning of Nov 2007. I started to collect different materials that I could possibly use in creating this piece. I planned to work on it extensively but, it wasn’t going to happen after my accident and I couldn’t get hold of my sewing machine until few days before my departure. I have done some LEDs & beeds stitching on the 2nd layer of surface on the textile pattern I cut for the skirt by the time I arrived to LA.

It was quite a challenge to finish a wearable project at a temporary location (kitchen at my brother’s apt in Hermosa Beach, CA) not to mention that I was doing it all by myself. I have no collaborator this time around. Making a skirt itself is a tedious procedure, especially Stir-It-On! which requires many different layers of fabric and hand sewing beeds & 65 LEDs with conductive treads and fabric. On top of that, working with the circuit board, wiring, soldering, programming and testing where I kept finding missing electronic parts. By the time, my skirt was shaping, I knew where 5 different RadioShack are located near Hermosa Beach and a very good you-name-it-you-find-it electronic shop, thanks to Tom’s friend, Casey’s reference.

When I arrived in CA 2 weeks before the show, I knew I had to discipline myself to focus on this project. Believe or not, I haven’t even walked at the beach for 2 weeks of my stay at Hermosa Beach. I looked at it from a block away as I get my daily cappuccino & bagel… I woke up at 8:30 am everyday to start a day and worked until 1, 2, or 3 am if that was necessary. I didn’t drink more than a glass of wine if I went out & I limited my social activities, which is hard for me as you would know if you knew me… 3 days before the deadline, I had to look for a 10 MHz crystal and one day before, the only needle in my sewing machine broke in half – which never happened before. I had to get a taxi and get needles from the sewing machine store since I didn’t have a car during day. I felt like I was having an obstacle after an obstacle constantly after my accident of getting second degree burns on my legs.  Therefore, I started to worry tremendously every little things for close future & I felt like nothing would go right. Then some point, I’ve realized that I’ve got to stop worrying about things that hasn’t happened or out of my control. That’s when I made a peace with myself.  I was slowly finding back my usual optimism.

The night before the show in Dallas, the frame of my only pair of eye glasses broke…(I’m wearing them at the very moment which is taped for time being.) Also, 6V batter DC power was acting somewhat inconsistently compared to USB power source. However, I didn’t panic or got stressed. I was rather calm. I just did as much as possible. Tested a bit & soldered a wire that was broken at the backstage. The prototype version 1.0 was partially working and that is better than not working. That is a start for me. I have a lot of work to do to get this piece to be where it supposed to be. I’m excited again.

I was detinitely tired and stressed but, I was glad that I’ve made it. On the returning flight to LA, I was watching light blue shades of soft clouds and light streams of traffics on the road that looked like blood streams in microscope… I felt excited to feel the beauty of nature right next to the man made structures. I was content again. For me, creating fashion technology art is about the process, not necessarily about the final product. I find it important how I experience in creating it as much as how the wearer experiences by wearing it.  It’s all about process and I should enjoy the experience fullest whether it’s hard work or play.

I haven’t updated my blog for over last two months. Wow, I’ve been that busy. No wonder I got so sick… anyway, here is a quick updates on things – short and sweet.

motion graphic of whattoo card
Left: An Interactive Tree: interactive project by students
Right: Motion Graphic of Gostop(WhaToo) Cards (Digital Media Design Dept, BFA)

We had a senior’s graduation exhibition during early October after painstaking procedure of reviews by us(teachers) during last 6 months. There were 81 students involved and 51 projects were installed. The exhibition was divided into 3 categories; Interaction Design, Information Design and Motion Graphics. I had to advise the most of Information Design students (They had no idea that my background is more toward Interaction Design… thanks to no communications inside) and some Interaction Design students(since they take my Interaction Design course anyway.) The show was really well received once it was opened and I was very impressed about a fact that no interactive installations broke down during 5 days of the show, which is even hard to pull off for professional media artists. I ruined my stomach but, it was rewarding to see the fruitful result of students’ work.

budda  sideview

Miniature like scenary

above photos are from a visit to Suraksan with my brother. It was lovely despite of my handicap of not being able to eat nor hike. I was really glad to make a trip away from the city with him.

I had many many visitors during September and October.

Not to mention the return of my cool friend, David from the Arduino group and Rania from china and my new media artist friend, Michael Yuen from Austrailia during September. Both Rania and Michael came to my school and gave us a special lecture titled, “Media Arting for the S(e)oul: My Phone Only Speaks Korean” & inspired many students stuyding Interaction Design and Media Arts.

During October, I’ve met another friend of a friend, Leonard but, my brother and his friend were visiting at the same time so I could only spare one evening to him. We had a good dinner and talk near Hongik University area though.  My old best friend from age thirteen, Y is visiting Seoul from Tokyo this weekend.  It’s been 7 years since last time we met so it was really great to hang out with her yesterday.

The unnecessary school works are increasing as days go so, my free days are becoming less and less and I could hardly pull a day off nowadays. Also, I’m busy visiting doctor’s office during my precious day off even if I get one. sigh~

OK, my updates became rants but, anyway, this is why my blog hasn’t been updated. I’m really looking forward a quiet November after this week (This Friday & Saturday; more work this weekend)

Looking down at Lake Isabella from our camping site

Group shot in the middle of desert with Jay and his friends (from left: Jay(Fire Poker), me(guest of honor 😉 ), sasha(Skinny Raven), mike(Squirrel Chief), Joe(Snow Legs), Pedro(Sky Pointer) and Melissa(another guest of honer) –  I think Zelmo, Diane and Debbie already left at this photoshoot.)

As I was giving my brother the news that I would be heading to LA to visit him early August from NYC, he told me that he was planning to go a camping trip with him friends (who I met them at Karaoke party in LA about a year ago…) I said, ‘alright… I guess I’m going to camping. ‘ My brother loves camping and I do like camping as long as it’s less than 3 nights. I thought it would be really comfortable to camp in a nice weather in LA area… guess what? I was wrong – but just to be straight before going into the detail, I did enjoy camping with these cool friends – including my brother. Fun group of people!

When Jay picked me up at the airport… he didn’t seem so happy. It looked like something was bugging him. I was optimistic enough to know that it wasn’t me. 😉 Later, I heard that the camping site they reserved got on wild fire and was closed until September and they were looking for the camp site at the last minute… or cancel the whole trip. After finding about hundred mass emails among, umm, them – I’ve learned that we are going to camp and the day we were leaving, I learned that we are heading to “Lake Isabella.” By the name alone, it sounded very promising…

With Joe in the back seat, we got in Jay’s car and after driving about an hour… It was getting really hot, I meant 100 degree. I looked at Jay as feeling the hot wind over the opened windows of the car. “Jay, is your AC broken?” “I didn’t have a time to replace the gas” “oh……!!!” After learning that we are going into the desert (the lake is in the middle of desert) and after not seeing any green for two hours of driving – while looking at the temperature at 110 F… I just knew I had to drink lots of water. Then I learned that we have to drive one more hour.

OK, from that point, my dream of camping like the green Maine forest… was stumbled down like sand. I was thinking… ‘it must be like this driving in Africa.’ After about 3 hrs in the desert heat and hot wind which dries my sweat immediately, we started to see some green… pointy leaved trees that look like half cactus and half tree. I was picking up my hope… then I saw some thin lines of stream… Yay! At least, we are not camping in the middle of desert with no shade… When we finally arrived at the camp site, it was around 6 pm. The sun was still strong. There were few trees with skinny branches which forms some kind of shades… but, at least breeze was nice. After few struggle of agreeing where to camp…, we all started to settle. Of course, when Jay’s friends learned that he drove in the desert without an AC in his car for 3 hrs in the middle of day, they were really shocked. Thanks, Jay!

It was a dry land where wild fire catches up so easily with any friction. Setting a camp fire seemed easy although Jay deligently kept fire going well(that’s where he got his Indian name, “fire poker.” Also, we were looking at this low but large lake in the middle of this desert area. Further more, there was a river in 6 miles up… very refreshing cold water with real trees!!! Drinking several bottles of dequilla and beer with great BBQ hamburgers… we talked and laughed. The camp host was exceptionally friendly to us as well and wanted to learn about us. What a nice guy… he was also very funny.

The night sky was astonishingly beautiful. You could see milky way with your bare eyes…I tried to take photos of them but no success. I saw about 2 to 3 shooting stars but, only managed to make a wish once. No matter what, it was a great camping trip with a great company of people at the end.

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