Digital natives are those who are proficient with digital technology. Since they were born in the information age, they have been surrounded by digital technology, which is deeply ingrained in their lives. Undoubtedly, this generation’s perspective on the world will be vastly different.
Then, how would they express the contemporary world now that the boundaries between the real and the virtual have been blurred? The Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art is presenting The Most Brilliant Moments for You, an exhibition that examines contemporary art from the perspective of digital natives.
The exhibition features twenty-eight works by eight artists born in the 1980s and 1990s. The presented digital art, installations, and paintings focus on how the inherent emotions of the digital generation, such as anxiety, weakness, isolation, and aversion, are expressed through the artistic practices of the artists.
The exhibition poses the paradoxical question of “whether the time we spend pursuing our desires without knowing the peak of pleasure can become a brilliant moment.”
Inspired by fantasy RPGs (role-playing games), Kim Hansaem (b. 1990) creates wall pieces and installations. He selects images from the genre, such as magic, monsters, heroes, angels, and demons, and retells a tale through the artworks. The artist creates a bitmap image similar to that seen in a 2D interface game using computer tools, prints it on paper, and combines it with his sculptural structures. To contrast digital and analog, reality and virtuality, and high-end and kitsch, the artist creates somewhat crude images on purpose.
Using device-based interfaces, Kim Heecheon (b. 1989) attempts to explore the boundaries between virtual and real landscapes through video works. Deep in the Forking Tanks creates a state in which the real and virtual worlds coexist by utilizing the sensory deprivation tank and water diving. The tank isolates a person from all sensory input, allowing them to focus solely on themselves. However, the longer the video remains in the tank, the less clear it becomes as to whether or not it is a simulation. Kim describes a strange experience that occurs between virtual and reality, implying that technological advancement can deviate from human expectations.
Park Yunju (b. 1985) collaborated with an architect to recreate the world we live in and a world from another dimension using projection mapping. A tomb can be both a very private space owned by a person or family and a public area that reflects the characteristics of a culture. In Rundmahal, the artist creates a virtual tomb to blur the line between life and death by inviting viewers to explore the space for the deceased and reconsider the object’s meaning in the virtual space.
Stefanie Moshammer (b. 1988), who works in Vienna, Austria, documented the lives and innermost feelings of those around her using documentaries and conceptual photography. You and I, from the series Each Poison, A Pillow, began with the artist’s discovery of a letter she wrote as a child pleading for her mother’s recovery from alcoholism. Moshammer took photographs of the eyes of female alcoholics to bring to light topics that are normally avoided.
Shir Handelsman (b. 1989) is an artist based in Tel Aviv, Israel, who explores the relationship between sound and visual images. In one of the artist’s video works, Recitative, a tenor sings Bach’s concerto on a skylift. Following the tenor’s voice, several lifts rise in unison, making noises before reaching their limit and leaving only the screen to ascend to the sky. The work illustrates the human aspiration to reach God’s realm. Through damaged sound machines and visual disturbances, Handelsman creates surreal and absurd encounters to express disruptions in intimate human relations.
An Gayoung (b. 1985) sheds light on situations occurring at the boundary between online and offline through real-time animation in the form of a computer game. The KIN in the shelter is an animation of a simulation game in which various alienated species, such as the cloned dog May, the cleaning robot June, and the immigrant worker Julia, can find solace and a new home. It represents and, at the same time, questions a world where humans, nature, and other beings such as robots can coexist.
Tzusoo (b. 1992) examines the society of today, where anything can be replaced with data, as well as the flow of these data and the human behavior that traverses the real and virtual worlds.
Amy, the protagonist of Tzusoo’s video work Tinder, has a personality, appearance, and values that contradict the data of images that appear repeatedly in the digital world. Through Amy, the artist depicts how human existence is replaced by data and placed in a digital environment, raising the question of what our identity is in the contemporary world.
Choi Jiwon (b. 1996) uses images of antique porcelain dolls in her paintings. Specifically, the artist employs images of late-19th-century German-produced dolls. Although these dolls have a glossy and smooth exterior, they are fragile and lack facial expressions. The works are both portraits and still-life paintings with a certain vitality. The paintings also represent a disconnect between our online lives and the real world. Choi expresses contemporary emotions, such as anxiety and insensitivity, through porcelain doll images.