While in South Korea for the 2012 Gwangju Biennale, I visited the main venue of the 7th Seoul International Media Art Biennale — Mediacity Seoul 2012 — at the Seoul Museum of Art. The title of this installment was Spell on You, which was meant to conjure the deluge of media and its effects we are witnessing in contemporary culture. This theme, set by artistic director Jinsang YOO, professor of Kaywan School of Art and Design, seemed apt in a digital media city like Seoul defined by its commitment to advancing technology and myriad technological industries in the country.
My top picks, out of the 49 participating artists from 20 countries.
1. Zbyněk Baladrán’s diagrammatic lecture Model of the Universe, 2009
2. Till Nowak’s digital creations of impossible amusement parks
3. Akram Zaatari’s melancholic typewritten love story on film Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright, 2010
4. David Claerbout’s black and white montage of 600 different views of the same “happy moment” on an Algerian rooftop
5. Dennis Feser’s absurd performance before the camera, staged on a rooftop overlooking Frankfurt using tape and celery
6. 3D video installations by Robert Lepage, Sarah Kenderdine, and Jeffrey Shaw that create a projected theatrical space that visitors can experience in the round
7. Donghee Koo’s melancholic quest on camera as a man searches for a manmade stream using a divining rod
8. Ryota Kuwakubo’s hypnotic shadow installation, The Tenth Sentiment (2010), created using a child’s train set and light
9. Hong Seung-Hye’s minimal projections of rectangles on the wall and floor
10. Zimoun’s audio recording of 25 woodworms consuming a piece of wood
11. Daito Manabe & Motoi Ishibashi’s mesmerizing installation Particles involving an 8-spiral rail with animated balls of LED lights
12. Robert Overweg’s haunting still photographs of the precipitous edges of landscapes in video games