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Jin-Yo Mok and SoniColumn: What I Think

Mid-November, in my previous posting on the two Korean artists which I presented, I only provided links and not much elaboration on why I chose these two artists.

One reason I chose Korea, of course, is that I already have a Korean connection and have been to the country three times. But this is only where I started, why I constrained my search among Korean artists for this project. As it turns out, Jin-Yo Mok's SoniColumn was right along my lines of thinking for my touch project, at least as far as the body-movement affected the LEDs. (However, the music component of the SoniColumn and the music-box metaphor went beyond my more limited thinking.) I felt there was an element of serendipity at play in making this discovery.

SoniColumn has two modes of interaction: first, is "the setup," where you're up close to the work and enabling the sound and the light. The second is when you step away to the crank handle and play the music box. In this mode, the sounds played are based on the setup, and they slowly attenuate as the music is played out.

One of the things I constantly wrestle with (in my mind) regarding New Media is: Where do you draw the line between science project and artistic expression? Maybe this comes from my scientific background. I have no formal training in art, only the experienced lived plus some books I've read over the years. SoniColumn helps define for me an artistic expression in New Media, and I think that comes from the idea and use of metaphor. To start with an idea, a concept, a metaphor, and then shape the technology to fit the idea. That is the process. The technology is secondary. Like many, I can get caught up in the pure gadgetry of technology and that sometimes provides enough fascination, but that alone can't be art. Can it?

Or maybe the difference is purely cultural. Koreans have an expression they use for things which achieve excellence: "Now that is art!" This expression would be as easily applied to a well played winning goal in soccer as it might to a modern architectural achievement. The idea, I believe, is that art is excellence, in any of its forms. Then why not apply it to excellence in technology? Loaded with this definition, I am back to my science project vs artistic expression question, and I continue to ponder the boundary between the two.