DooEun Choi is one of the three curators for the upcoming PRELUDE: A Preview of Aurora 2017 – Powered by Reliant, alongside Justine Ludwig (Dallas) and Nadim Samman (Berlin). Here, we asked New York-based DooEun about the four installations she chose for PRELUDE, the best exhibitions she’s seen so far this year, and how the art relates to the vibe of the space – and the world.
How would you describe your personal curatorial practice?
As a curator, I treat the space as a laboratory for experimenting with the types of experiences and aesthetics that can emerge from combining and recombining artistic practices, scientific knowledge, and historical narratives. My approach to curation as experimentation derives from my experiences of traversing different environments and cultures.
What guides your choice of artists for your section of the PRELUDE?
My goals for PRELUDE are to maintain a global focus, encourage cross-cultural exchange, and focus on themes of technology and society by understanding the world in depth, in order to share alternative and multiple imaginations of the future. The selected artists from various cultural backgrounds and generations create an open platform for the diverse audiences to participate in new ways of thinking and questioning to the future.
Since the AT&T Performing Arts Center isn’t a traditional gallery space, does curating for PRELUDE present any unique challenges?
As a media art curator, I have often worked with unconventional spaces. Not only urban spaces but nonphysical spaces such as telematics, virtual, and mobile spaces. Understanding the value and vibe of the space is the key to create a fruitful experience for the audiences.
In the case of a physical space, I try to stroll and sit there for several hours at different times of the day so that I understand the physical and social personality of the space. It’s like you wait for the moment in which you encounter the space. When I spent time at the AT&T Performing Arts Center, water, reflection, light and dark appeared in my mind as I looked at the reflecting pool and imagined fireflies on the lawn and trees. After doing site-specific research, I decided to commission “UnWind” for the reflecting pool, which will bring new breath to the space as a mediated living organism. “Light Wave” by teamVOID and “Dark Eating Machine” by u_joo+limheeyoung will create the flow of the light on the lawn and between trees. Lastly, “Waterlight Graffiti” by Antonin Fourneau invites the audience to share their memory of the space though their own graffiti with water and light.
Tell us about your most ambitious exhibition to date.
“Come Join Us, Mr. Orwell!” was a telematic performance between Korea and Australia held in large public plazas in 2009. We invited more than 50 artists from around the world to envision their idea of public space in the networked city of the 21st Century. We then shared the works synchronously through urban screens in Korea, Australia, the UK, New York, and even a public screen in a research station in Antarctica. I also conducted audiovisual performances in Korea which were streaming in real time on the networked screen in Australia.
What’s the best exhibition you’ve seen so far in 2016?
I learn from every exhibition I experience, so it is not easy to pick a particular one. During my visit to London last weekend, I saw two different audiovisual exhibitions: “Bjork Digital” at Somerset House and “The Infinite Mix” at The Store, curated by Hayward Gallery in collaboration with The Vinyl Factory. Both exhibitions were dealing with music and moving images created by cutting-edge audiovisual technology. However, because of incomplete user experience research of the unfamiliar VR technology and carless space design, it was not easy to be immersed in “Bjork Digital,” even though it was applying the most immersive technology: Virtual Reality. On the contrary, “The Infinite Mix” was presented with a proper sound and projection level, detailed space design with various arrangements of the screens, and even human interaction with docents who welcomed the audiences to be immersed in the stream of 10 different moving images. The abandoned space came to life through the exhibition’s curation. It also had a space where you can take a break with a view and food at a garden-like café after visiting six different rooms among 10 rooms. It reminded me how important the role of a curator is, in order to create a proper space for the audiences to experience the vibe of media arts.
DooEun Choi is the Art Director of Da Vinci Creative 2017 in Seoul. She is also working as adjunct curator for Waterfall Mansion & Gallery in New York and for Art Center Nabi in Seoul. Her recent projects include “Da Vinci Creative 2015” (Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture in Seoul, Korea) “Mediacity Seoul 2012 Biennale” (Seoul Museum of Art in Seoul, Korea),”ZERO1 Biennial 2012” (Zero1 Garage in Silicon Valley, USA), “Anima” (Borusan Contemporary in Istanbul, Turkey) and “Boundless Fantasy: Media Art from East Asia” (Charles Wang Center in New York, USA).
PRELUDE will take place over two nights, Friday, October 21 and Saturday, October 22, 2016, and will transforming the AT&T Performing Arts Center campus and the Meyerson Symphony Center with light, video and sound-based, immersive arts installations.