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Two Korean Media Artists at Hong Kong’s ifva Awards:
Beak Jungki, Gold Award Winner, and Chanwook Min, Special Mention Artist

The Hong Kong Arts Center’s ifva Awards was established in 1995 to serve as an incubator for short films, animations, and visual arts in Asia. The Gold Award in the “Media Art” category went to the artist Beak Jungki, and one of the two Special Mentions went to Chanwook Min.

The 28th ifva Awards Presentation Ceremony. Courtesy of the Hong Kong Arts Center.

Contemporary art captures the collective memory of today’s society and raises questions that derive from our society’s values and assumptions. Among them, one of the biggest characteristics that can represent today is technological progress. The dramatic technological changes have altered our worldview and significantly influenced the perspective of today’s art.

The Hong Kong Arts Center established an award program known as the ifva Awards (formerly the Hong Kong Independent Short Film and Video Awards) to explore this contemporaneity in the fields of short films, animations, virtual reality, and media art. 

Considered one of the largest contemporary art institutions in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Arts Center is a non-profit art museum founded in 1977 that introduces contemporary visual, performance, film, and video art to the public.

The Hong Kong Arts Center’s ifva Awards was established in 1995 to serve as an incubator for short films, animations, and visual arts in Asia. The art award aims to discover current trends, nurture the next generation of creators in the industry, encourage creative and innovative use of related media, and share creativity, knowledge, and experience in creation across various regions of Asia.

Poster image of the 28th ifva Awards. Courtesy of the Hong Kong Arts Center.

The 28th ifva Awards, which accepts short films, animations, and media artworks from Hong Kong and Asia, announced on March 12 the winners in five categories: “Open,” “Youth,” “Animation,” “Media Art,” and “Asian New Force.”

Among the five categories, the “Media Art” category aims to recognize artists who continue to develop their artistic practices in response to technological changes.

The Gold Award in the “Media Art” category went to the artist Beak Jungki, and one of the two Special Mentions went to Chanwook Min. The Silver Award in the “Media Art” category was awarded to Goki Muramoto from Japan, and the other Special Mention went to the artist Mark Chung from Hong Kong.

Installation view of Beak Jungki’s Active Statue (2022) in apmap 2022 seoul - apmap review at the Amorepacific Museum of Art, Seoul. (September 29, 2022 - December 18, 2022) Courtesy of the museum.

The Gold Award winner, Beak Jungki, will be awarded HK$30,000, along with a trophy.

Baek, who began his artistic career in 2007, specializes in installation, sculpture, and photography. He has been attempting to fuse or connect dichotomous or contradictory concepts and ideas, such as science and religion, modernity and tradition, and matter and spirit, and visualize these invisible phenomena by going through a scientific process. Baek uses flowing properties such as water or electricity to explore non-scientific topics in a relatively scientific way to reveal concepts of connection, flow, and convergence.

Active Statue (2022), which was submitted to the ifva Awards, utilizes statues that have been demolished or forgotten in various places. The sculpture made of metal becomes an antenna that transmits radio waves. “Active” in the title is derived from a term used in antenna engineering that refers to an active antenna. The statue transmits a randomly produced sound work through radio waves. The sound work, created by Jangso Translator (Choi Chu young and Ik soo kaay, contains old radio noise and mysterious stories.

Exhibition veiw: Beak Jungki solo exhibition Contagious Magic, OCI Museum, Seoul. (March 13, 2019 - May 4, 2019). Courtesy of the OCI Museum.

Artist Beak Jungki (b. 1981) has held solo exhibitions at the OCI Museum of Art (Seoul, 2018), Doosan Gallery New York (New York, 2015), Doosan Gallery (Seoul, 2015), Alternative Space Loop (Seoul, 2012), and Insa Art Space (Seoul, 2010). He has participated in group exhibitions in various regions, including Korea, China, England, Taiwan, Japan, the Netherlands, and Italy. In 2012, Baek won the SongEun Art Award at SongEun Art Space.

Min Chanwook, Humanoid Object #3, 2022, Kinetic installation, magnet, electronic devices & components, pen, 1200x800x800 cm. Photo by Kim Yooseok.

Artist Chanwook Min, who received a Special Mention, uses technology to carry out various projects that provide interactive experiences and environments. Min’s works reflect our life with machines in the face of rapidly developing technology, as machines gradually but quickly replace everyday life. Through his works, the artist captures unrecognized moments of gradually changing daily lives or visualizes the boundary between the virtual and the real.

Today, many activities that are considered unique to humans are being replaced by machines.

Given that the act of “doodling” is the most natural human behavior, Min created Humanoid Object #3, a scribbling machine using artificial intelligence technology. Not only is doodling an unproductive action, but it is also a private action that reveals one’s emotions and thoughts. By creating a machine that imitates this action, the artist provides us with an opportunity to observe society from the perspective of machines. Min’s work also questions the newly defined “humanity” and imagines a new life where humans and machines coexist.

Min Chanwook, Humanoid Object #3, 2022, Kinetic installation, magnet, electronic devices & components, pen, 1200x800x800 cm. Courtesy of Gallery Dos, Seoul.

Chanwook Min (b. 1984) has held exhibitions at various places, including Gallery DOS (Seoul, 2022), Eulji Arts Center (Seoul, 2021), Yangpyeong Art Museum (Yangpyeong, 2021), MIT Media Lab (Cambridge, 2016), NYC Media Lab (New York, 2016), Seoul Art Space Geumcheon (Seoul, 2012), Seoul Art Space Seogyo (Seoul, 2012), and Gallery Zandari (Seoul, 2011).

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