Artists: Bang & Lee
Bang & Lee is an artist collective based in Seoul. Often concerned with the theme of absurdity and irony, their projects involve assemblage, interactive light art installation, tangible instrument, computer-generated montage, and stage technology toward an immersive media incorporating various historical references, fictions, and emerging notions of media with an emphasis on their interpretation of collaboration and friendship. Their works have been exhibited at Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany, MAXXI Rome, Italy, La Friche Belle de Mai Marseilles, France, MoCA Shanghai, China, Nam June Paik Art Center Yongin, Korea, Seoul Museum of Art, Arko Art Center, Art Center Nabi, Alternative Space Loop, Total Museum of Art Seoul, Korea.
Transparent Study 2020
– A kind of sequel to Transparent Study 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Genre: Media Art Installation
Material/Medium: LED, neon light, halogen headlight, incandescent light, stage light, light control unit, fiber, steel, aluminum, tempered glass, mirror, Plexiglas, monitor, computer, live video camera, video projection, video mosaic movie, sound, motor, lenticular print, furniture, carpets, felt, stuffed goat, mixed-media
Size: Dimensions variable
Year: 2008–2014, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2020
Transparent Study is a display of our personal space such as study (art) and what is collected along the way in the activity of learning, display of collections, and a cabinet of reference card moved to the exhibited/represented public space. Like The Library of Babel of Borges, the texts, lightings and images deliver a message that reflects current digital information society’s disorderly and chaotic aspect and are composed in assemblage. The installation standing like a bookcase built in sections in one’s study (room) can be expanded to the space where different interpretations are possible and becomes a facade or a door disguised as a bookshelf. The circulation of installation space goes through inside, which represents an ambiguous status of the front and the back. The image appeared on the several monitors, the inside reflected on the surface of the glass and mirror… and this nearly transparent screen drapes on another curtain. In The Library of Babel, the library that is the whole of human knowledge representing the universe and eternity, but in our own library where our experience is accumulated, we are reminded of the human image, who wanders around to pass through the gate of God in the world of mystery and chaos. i) The present library seems close to the ‘transparent study’ rather than the one in The Library of Babel that consists of an enormous expanse of hexagonal galleries filled with an infinite sequence of numbers. A study is expressed as a place to show infinite information in real time. A library is too transparent so does not seem to allow any opacity, confusion and untruth. Cheap digital storage, easy retrieval, and via the global network environment made the revolutionary paradigm shift, that is, the acceleration towards transparency, the attribute of information has lost the ability of forgetting. A quick search finds in almost every language in the world, and one can easily access to all information that is supposed to be transparent, the system of human knowledge contributes to the surveillance society dominated by ‘Big Data’ and becomes out of control.
A study is where personal favourite books are stored and thus becoming a place of memory. But as the books on the shelf are changing, hence are our knowledge, information, reference and collection dust off the memory storage place and be replaced with new things with the flow of time. In the sea of information and the flood of data, we are lost at the intersection of memory/oblivion process and gradually lose the ability to abstract valuable knowledge among the listed fragments of information and data stack, and lose how to think and reason. A place separated from the society, private space, living room, and secret chamber like our own study, all kinds of space are easily exposed to the outside, whether we want to or not, in the society and culture more requiring transparency. Now, private, secret, and separated space could no longer provide a shelter in daily life. The installation place is somewhat theatrical and twofold. Originally, a study is a secret venue, and filled with mixture of knowledge and information that represent changing perspectives and values over time in our lifetimes. Transparent Study, seemingly exposed the inner space, means the library in our society overflowed with limitless information. The key to Transparent Study is that a great amount of data or encyclopedic knowledge replaces the space of meditation as there is an increasing demand for an immediate revealing and sharing of information and more delicate transparency. Transparent Study reflects not an optimised, excellent study process, nor a collection of the best books, but rather reveals a study where taste, curiosity, intellectual vanity and soon to be useless, extinguishing knowledge related to information collection without direction. It describes endlessly wandering self in the Panopticon of the digital age.
i) According to the Bible, the city name ‘Babel’ in Hebrew means chaos and ‘the Gate of God’ in Akkadian.
ii) Like Google, companies dominating the Internet, try to enhance transparency. ‘Transparency Report’ of Google describes that “data that sheds light on how laws and policies affect Internet users and the flow of information online” on the page of ‘access to information.’ As written in the section of ‘a petition for greater transparency’, Google has stated that “the levels of secrecy that have built up around national security requests undermine the basic freedoms that are at the heart of a democratic society.” It may be asked whether it would undermine freedom or not.
(Artist Note for the exhibition Malfunction Library at Seoul Museum of Art, 2014)
[Reference] Keywords provided for the exhibition catalogue Malfunction Library @ SeMA, 2014
Connected to/from Bang & Lee section
Support: Korea Art management Service