|Title||Life as Depicted in a Media Performance by Yun Jeong-won, Art & Technology Student|
Life as Depicted in a Media Performance by
Yun Jeong-won, Art & Technology Student
▲ Yun Jeong-won, a Sogang University student (Left), and Choreographer Shin So-yeon (Right)
Created by Yun Jeong-won, a Sogang University student from the Department of Art & Technology, a media performance piece titled The Box of Family History was selected for the main competition at the Seoul International Choreography Festival (SCF) 2018. The Box of Family History is a media performance comprised of four poems selected from among 30 pieces written by the student. The Box of Family History is the third example of artwork produced by Yun after his four years of studying dance and media art. The SCF is an international event that invites the world’s leading modern choreographers to share their works, on which the focus of many dance enthusiasts is centered. The Sogang Gazette met with Yun Jeong-won to find out how he came to submit his work to the SCF.
Sogang Gazette : We don’t see many Sogang University students taking an interest in dance. What made you compete in the SCF?
The Seoul International Choreography Festival is an event where choreographers from home and abroad showcase their works to the public and directors from around the world. In the past, dancers would travel overseas to participate in competitions where they would be evaluated and recruited by creative directors. The SCF, however, takes place here in Korea, inviting directors from around the world to recruit choreographers showing potential and give them the opportunity to make the world their stage. For the SCF, I worked with the choreographer Shin So-yeon, who has done an amazing job, archiving the performance superbly. As a result, the work was submitted under her name. I want to expose the piece to more people and would love to have feedback from dance experts and creative directors from overseas.
Sogang Gazette : We understand that you took care of all the electrical work, lighting, sound, props, and videos for “The Box of Family History,” and you also directed it. It must mean so much to you… Could you elaborate on how “The Box of Family History” came to be and tell us more about your work?
Since my first year at Sogang University, I have studied media art and worked tirelessly to create new things to satisfy my curiosity and what I found to be lacking. I chose Art & Technology because I had this ambition to create something with my science, art, and humanities studies. I searched for what I liked most and could do best and came across a performance that combines dance and media art, which I am continually working to advance. The Box of Family History first began when I was in the military. I was assigned to a unit in Goseong, located in a remote part of Gangwon-do Province. The facilities there were not up to date, and the only tools that I had to satisfy my creative itch were a pencil and paper. I started writing and came up with some 30 poems. I kept them with me because I wanted to use them as a seed to create other works. The Box of Family History is the first piece of artwork that I created with these poems. Of my poems, I chose four and worked with the choreographer to translate them into dance. The result was a 30-minute long media performance.
Sogang Gazette : It looks like that media performance is something that can be studied and developed exclusively in the Department of Art & Technology. What do you think are the advantages of studying Art & Technology? Is there any particular class that left an impression on you?
We have so many different people in the Department of Art & Technology. As much as they are different, the scope of their expertise also varies. This is one of the greatest things about the department, because people with different backgrounds and expertise come together to give birth to something that nobody has ever imagined. For me, it started when I met a friend who majored in dance and we created a performance together. Without that friend, I wouldn’t even be making the art I am making now. All Art & Technology classes are team-based. Throughout a semester, we focus on projects and deliverables and complete a project by the end. We get to work with people from different backgrounds from the start of the project all the way to the end. Sometimes it is more painful to work with other people, but we learn what we need to know in order to collaborate with others. Our projects are constantly reviewed by our mentors for improvements. I was in Professor Kim Sang-yong’s Storytelling Workshop, where I also got to benefit from her mentorship. Under the guidance of the professor, my work was reviewed thoroughly, which helped me evaluate every step along the way. This kind of experience is just invaluable.
Sogang Gazette : What is the value or principle that you live by when you create?
The keywords that describe the approach I use for my work in general, and including for The Box of Family History, are ‘sincerity’ and ‘obsession over perfection.’ I invest all of my time, efforts, and money into experiencing this world, studying myself, and creating new things based on my perception of the world and the self. This is why I can assure you that I fully mean whatever I try to say through my works.
Lately, I have been focused on answering questions I have asked the world, not the questions others ask me. I believe that I can create works that touch the hearts of others only when sincerity has been built up. Whatever I make, I do not stop until I am fully satisfied with it. If I develop a habit of answering questions just to the point of satisfying others or creating works just good enough to pass a course at school, I learn that I cannot exceed this limit and I only do better later on when I truly want to. No matter how small an assignment is, I make sure that I fully understand it, build a rapport, and search my brain to see if I had asked myself any similar questions. Then I push myself to create something that I would not be ashamed of even if I had to showcase it on the biggest stage imaginable.
When I think I can’t do this, I don’t even begin to start. My school grades are not that great because I often do not submit my assignments, but I put my best efforts into my work so that I won’t ever be ashamed of it. Yet, I still have a lot of room for improvements. I wish to study more and further my experiences so that I may be able to create beauty that touches others’ hearts, just as I was touched and inspired at one exhibition that started my life all over again back in the days of my own personal suffering and hardship.
Sogang Gazette : Is there any message you would like to deliver to fellow students?
What I have done may be a tremendous achievement for me, personally, but perhaps not for Sogang University. However, news of what I have accomplished has caught your attention and I’m being interviewed now because a student from Sogang University – a university with no art college – has created a piece that made it all the way to the main competition of a major dance festival. But, in the Department of Art & Technology, there are so many students who devote their lives to creating their own worlds, despite the lack of attention and support, and even if it brings them struggles. What they create is not readily available for other students to see, but once you see what they have done, it will blow your mind. I hope that more people find out about the creativity of their fellow students at Sogang University and support and root for their ambitious dreams.
▲ Scene from the media performance The Box of Family History.
The Box of Family History
I remember struggling with the radio antenna,
pushing it down with a book
and ramming it between window panes.
I remember lying down in bed,
letting my thoughts drift to reliving the life of cells
and discovering the grains of hazy images
that clung to my eyes wherever I turned them.
When I finally closed my eyes,
I found myself in a room plastered with wallpaper
that glinted like paint splashed all across,
in the faintness of fireworks in the dark.
I have heard that an automated external defibrillator works
by removing irregular electric shocks that cause a heart attack,
that the noise of irregularity sounds like what a fetus hears,
Perhaps it is that noise you hear
when you cover your ears with both hands.
Buried in the ground,
my grandmother is covered in the world of
flashing, noisy, and inescapable sound.
Or has she become the noise itself?
Or has she become the dirt, bloomed as wind,
caught by the antenna and circled through the cochlea and arteries,
and glimmered as hazy images in the eyes?
I once thought that we live a life
being born out of noise and returning to noise,
much like the attempt to identify a voice on the radio.
Holding on dearly to the antenna that might not even be working,
I stare into blankness,
making strained attempts based on forced belief and instinctive conjecture.
I still have no idea how I can get the radio to work.
I don't even know if it's even relevant.
It just works well sometimes and not at other times.
▲ The Box of Family History, Poem by Yun Jeong-won