Interview: Hyeseung Yoo

Agricola de Cologne (AdC) interviews Hyeseung Yoo (HY)

—>Hyeseung Yoo
media artist from Seoul/ S. Korea
artist biography

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Interview: 10 questions

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AdC:
You belong to an art scene using new technologies, you are an active representative of a genre dealing with Internet based art, called “netart”. When those artists started who are active since a longer time, the education in New Media was not yet such advanced like nowadays, often they came form different disciplines and had an interdisciplinary approach, those young artists who start now have partially this more advanced education, but rather not much experience in other disciplines.

1.
AdC:
Tell me something about your educational background and what is influencing your work?
HY:
I studied English Literature during the undergraduate study in Korea. I was into the writing by stream of consciousness such as Virginia Woolf’s novels or Korean short story “Mujin-Kihang” by Seung-ok Kim. I was fascinated by the freedom of non-linear narrative format, which has been affecting my art style while I was studying animation in USA. I tried to figure out which way I was able to show my thought effectively. Right now I make internet based art through which I can pursue non-linear narrative format, not one-way structure – especially I use the application “Flash,” which enables the user choose and navigate the scenes.

2.
AdC:
The term “netart” is widely used for anything posted on the net, there are dozens of definitions which mostly are even contradictory. How do you define “netart” or if you like the description “Internet based art” better, do you think your work belongs to this specific genre, do you think “netart” is art, at all, if yes, what are the criteria? Are there any aesthetic criteria for an Internet based artwork?
HY:
Basically I agree with the description “Internet based art.” Even though we can’t call everything on the internet as an art, but the internet is an essential and basic part in terms of making art display and work regardless of time and space.

3.
AdC:
What kind of meaning have the new technologies and the Internet to you, are they just tools for expressing your artistic intentions, or have they rather an ideological character, as it can be found with many “netartists”, or what else do they mean to you?
HY:
The invention of the internet is revolutionary not only in a technological development but also in a new way of communication system. The internet provides a democratic way of platform. In a sense, it has common essences with the art movement such as the Pop art and Graffiti since they were against elitism and made a minor culture on the mainstream.
To me, it also enables to explore a new form of writing, non-linear hypertext narrative. It is owing to the application, Flash, but the concept of hyperlink is one of main characteristics of the internet.

4.
AdC:
Many “Internet based artists” work on “engaged” themes and subjects, for instance, in social, political, cultural etc concern. Which contents are you particularly interested in, what are the subjects you are working on and what is your artistic message(s), if you have any, and what are your personal artistic visions for future artworking (if you have any).
HY:
I participated in a project, so-called “engaged” themes, which was about “green washing.” Most of works that I pursue are very personal and I have no interest in the art dealing with political and ethnical issues. To me, the art is a way of communication between you and me. It allows me convey my thought and idea with ease. But, there’s no doubt the art affects people’s idea and interest while I was researching for this project and helping the website launch. The art doesn’t change people suddenly, but gives people information in an easier form and affects their thoughts.

5.
AdC:
“Art on the net” has the advantage and the disadvantage to be located on the virtual space in Internet which defines also its right to exist. Do you think, that “art based on the Internet”, can be called still like that, even if it is just used offline?
HY:
Netart has its original meaning by existing online. It can be used as a combination or modification of mixing with other things such as a form of installation. Still, it is hard to name it netart if the work is used offline.

6.
AdC:
Dealing with this new, and interactive type of art demands an active viewer or user. and needs the audience much more and in different ways than any other art discipline before. How do you stimulate the user to dive into this new world of art? What do you think, represents an appropriate environment to present net based art to an audience, is it the context of the lonesome user sitting in front of his personal computer, is it any public context, or is it rather the context of art in general or media art in particular, or anything else.? If you would be in the position to create an environment for presenting this type of art in physical space, how would you do it?
HY:
It depends on the characteristic of the artwork. Most of works that I making are personal and I want my audience to appreciate my works as if they were their personal and private story. But my next work will be a combination of installation, which demands a physical space and many people.

7.
AdC:
As Internet based art, as well as other art forms using new technologies are (globally seen) still not widely accepted, yet, as serious art forms, what do you think could be an appropriate solution to change this situation?
HY:
If netartists or the exhibitors like javamuseum keep do their work, I believe time will resolve. The complicated matter we should deal with on the netart might be a copyright issue since the netart is accessible easily comparing with other conventional works.

8.
ADC:
The Internet is called a kind of “democratic” environment, but the conventional art practice is anything else than that, but selective by using filters of different kind. The audience is mostly only able to make up its mind on second hand. Art on the net might potentially be different. Do you think the current practice of dealing with Internet based art is such different or rather the described conventional way through (also curatorial) filtering?
Do you think, that speaking in the terms of Joseph Beuys, anybody who publishes anything on the net would be also an artist?
HY:
It is democratic enough to call the internet since it gives more chances to artists once they know how to upload their work. Every day numerous artworks come out, and the selection for an appropriate work is inevitable.

9.
AdC:
Do you think, the curators dealing with net based art should have any technological knowledge in order to understand such an art work from its roots?
HY:
The curators don’t need to be a technician, but to understand basic technology is necessary to help better understanding of the artwork itself.

10.
AdC:
It is planned, to re-launch JavaMuseum – Forum for Internet Technology in Contemporary Art www.javamuseum.org in 2007 in a new context, very likely even in physical space. What would be your personal wishes and expectations connected to this re-launch ?
HY:
I hope the museum will give a great contribution to the growth of netart and keep that space energetic and playful all the time.

AdC:
Thanks for taking your time