at Artificial Garden(One day, When they leaved), Gallery Jungmiso, Seoul, Korea, 15 SEP - 26 OCT, 2011
at SEMA BLUE 2012- Korean Promising Young Artist, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea, 10 APR - 17 MAY, 2012
"I do not intend to talk about any game or theory. This project was more than just an experience. What I want to communicate is a story of the NOW as a composite of all these PAST experiences. There are stories of those who left on a long journey, others who are about to take on a long journey and yet others who are finally returning home.  
Their stories and their footsteps are lingering on every step that we have made and every corner we have turned on our paths.
We continue to walk on these paths. I realize that our lives are intertwined with the past and with other people
I hope that the combination of green grass, earth, and unfamiliar lights are perceived and recognized as a wholesome experience.

Art stands above everything. Art reminds us of perceptive experiences that our bodies sense from temperatures and fragrances.
Again, these personal  experiences are reminded through public experiences."

- From the Artist notes for Artificial Garden
Artificial Garden : Two Eyes That Perceive Newness
Eunjoo Lee, Curator

Today, there are numerous visual devices that create a third-dimensional space surrounded by the media, but the manner in which these devices operate does not always bring out something new. With regard to this, it is meaningful to review Wolfgang Velsch's discussion of complementarity. Velsch argues that we need to protect the two eyes (the new electronic media and the non-electronic media) that perceive newness, as well as the traditional lens through which we used to obtain new perceptions. His claim is concerned with the ways in which we accept media art.(Wolfgang Welsch, Grenzgange der Ashetik, translated by Hye-Ryun Shim, 2005, pp 328~330.)
  In this context, mechanical sounds from the devices for LED lighting, which is an important element of Artificial Garden by Jinjoon Lee, represent electronic media. Meanwhile, the grass and dirt path on the floor, which forms a space together with the lighting, is a symbol of the non-electronic media world. Therefore, Artificial Garden is based on the discussion of complementarity suggested by Velsch. It is important to note that artificial elements are embedded in everything that we perceive in this world. In fact, the entire world is fundamentally artificial. However, because artificiality is not an absolute notion, the artificiality expressed in Artificial Garden is contrasted with the natural elements.
 The LED lights on the three sides of the Artificial Garden represent a collection of lights that penetrate through the trees in the thick woods. As such, the speed at which the LED lights move is mediated by the sense of time that people perceive when they walk in the woods. As much as the features on the walls and ceiling are important for this artwork, real grass and a dirt path are provided on the floor. As spectators walk on this path along the lawn, they feel as if they were actually walking in the woods. As a result, all the elements that used in this artwork, including lighting, grass, dirt, temperature, sounds, and smell, give rise to the unity and co-existence of the electronic media world and the non-electronic media world. Situated in this space, spectators can experience a newly created artificial world without perceiving clear distinctions between the two worlds. This type of experience is very familiar to contemporary people. Nevertheless, the basis of this experience suggested by Jinjoon Lee is the assumption of artificiality, which is mediated by the media technology of our times.
 In Artificial Garden, Lee suggests a new concept of artificiality by combining natural and artificial elements, which is related to the discussion by Velsch. In an article titled "Artificial Paradise", Velsch urges people to pay attention to and recognize the importance of the non-electronic media world as much as the electronic media world. He is cautious of extreme attitudes of either unconditional hype for the electronic media world or unconditional criticism of it. Of course, Velsch recognizes that the two worlds sometimes confront each other, but he argues that they can become complementary when the development of electronic media provides an opportunity to re-affirm the existence of the non-electronic media world.
 In this sense, Artificial Garden lets people take a walk in the space surrounded by media lights and thus experience the lights and surroundings of a city, natural and artificial environments, and the electronic and non-electronic media worlds simultaneously. Indeed, Lee's artwork points out that the city we live in is an artificial garden. As spectators pass through this artwork, they may sense that the space feels different from a natural beauty of a real mountain, but, at the same time, they may still feel comfortable because of the combination of familiar elements. 
Jinjoon Lee, Here and There, 2011. Beam projection mapping on the door, 2 Door handles, Grass, Single Channel Video 00:02:30
Poetic image of light generated from the life of plants
Living creatures reveal their presence in many different ways. In particular, the way a massive area of grass is exposed with 800 LED lights on the wall in Artificial Garden is a reminder of Here and There. The artwork titled Here and There consists of the grass and images that capture the movements of plants. Jinjoon Lee uses artificial light to reveal the life and presence of these two. The most important device to grant presence to all the living plants is the display of lights, which are seen consistently in all his artworks. While trees maintain life by reaching out to the lights, Lee projects artificial light to all the elements of plants such as trees and grass.
 Here and There is a beam project mapping work that filmed leaves on trees reaching out to the sky. Looking closely at the quiet and calm image, one can notice tiny and delicate movements of leaves, but these movements are not caused by natural winds but by external force. In other words, the presence and meaning of the trees are exposed by artificial winds. On top of that, various lights are used to illuminate the plants and bring out the meaning of their existence.

Jinjoon Lee, S-He, 2011. 200 ball globes, dimmer, cable ties

People who exist in artificial lights
LED lighting has been used consistently in Lee's projects, and they are all related to the concept of media technology. With the development of technology and machinery, various media devices have been widely used in art, which is a phenomenon necessary to understand Lee's works. In other words, technology does not govern artworks in a controlling manner but is used to complete them. What is worth noting is how technology and human beings are deeply related. Don Ihde, a philosopher of science and technology, states that people can create "self-experience" through technology, which is a means to experience a world beyond a certain object. Accordingly, a formula of "(human – machine) world" is established. More specifically, machines are classified together with humans, and humans can obtain concrete experiences through machines.
  Jinjoon Lee has been working with mechanical lights and perspective. His work titled S-He that utilize light is another proof to show how Lee deeply contemplated about ways to illuminate human footsteps with media lights and bring them into the world. For example, after climbing a high mountain, many mountain climbers feel relieved when they start to see lights from remote houses on their way down to the village. Lee uses lights in S-He in order to express the sense of relief and comfort provided by traces of humans.
  However, the lights that have been used consistently in Lee's works are not glamorous lights created with advanced technology. Rather, these lights are used with the purpose of illuminating mankind whose existence has been scattered and faded, as in the case of 200 light bulbs used in S-He. As such, the artificial lights used by Lee are a medium through which living creatures encounter the world. While S-He exposes the existence of people with lights, his photographic work titled Where I am 0530 – One day, when they leaved focuses on traces and whereabouts of people. More specifically, S-He shows a landscape of lights coming from a village as seen at midnight from the top of a mountain, but Where I am illustrates ways in which people have left marks and traces on the nature and society. In addition, the road exposed with the lights represents the future directions that people need to take. In this sense, the lights that Lee uses in his creations not only expose the paths of the past but also the future.

Where I am 0528, 2011. c-print photo, diasec, 170.5 x 110cm

Happenings at the artificial garden mediated by everyday world (a combination of media and performance)
  One of the attributes of media is performance. Lee believes that the media themselves express performing characteristics, which people watch and appreciate through mass media. Therefore, he creates a situation where spectators get to experience the artwork. At this exhibition, he takes a consistent artistic approach of ensuring that individual artworks at display are connected to deliver a coherent message. As mentioned above, elements of light, smell, temperature, sound, grass, and dirt used in the world of artificial garden are in relation to the entire exhibition space. The interconnectivity of all the elements at the exhibition is the main interest of the artist.
  Similar to what he did in the past, he stages media installations and performances together at this exhibition in order to maximize the effect of performing elements of the media. As his media installations create a three-dimensional stage with continuously moving lights and images, the installations themselves are part of the performance. Therefore, the ability to create a particular space is crucial for Lee's work. His artistic approach that focuses on the use of media technology results in different outcomes, compared to traditional approaches to art that focuses on still images. Traditionally, people would stand in front of still pictures and try to appreciate and understand them from a fixed perspective. On the other hand, Lee's media installations are appreciated in a very different manner.
  Unlike looking at pictures, performances involve a number of variables that constantly change as time goes by. In other words, movements of actors, lights, and sounds require a different level of senses and perceptions compared to the way we consume still images. In reality, people may not perceive everything that the director has intended in the performance because of time elapse. This issue is present in Lee's media performances as well. The moving images and LED lights are part of the stage for performance, and the actors and spectators as well as various theatrical elements are also part of his work.
  Therefore, spontaneity and temporality are inherent in Lee's performance. LED lights constantly change, and the performance is not pre-recorded but staged live in front of people. Distinctions between actors and spectators as well as between inside and outside are not fixed but changing. As a result, spectators involved in his staged performance can obtain unique experiences and step into a world of their own imagination. In short, Jinjoon Lee combines media and performance to ensure that spectators can gain a sense of artistic achievement based on their sensory experiences and imagination.
One day, they came without any warning, and just as casually, they all left.
It was as if they left behind only the hope that spring would come again.
Two male vocalists lingered among the wandering crowd, humming meaningless melodies,
a stage that gave a sense of repetition and an ending rather than a beginning, not the splendor of a spring day.

But it was never what they wanted.
No, perhaps they even longed to return.
On a summer afternoon when the sun spread across the sky,
Finally, as if waiting, a storm approaches.
I intended to depict their arduous voyage through the howling gales,
accompanied by the delicate melody of a slender harp.

Autumn was short, and many people recount their past that has passed them by.
The memories of those who have become history will once again be edited and engraved simply.
Each actor, like performers of life, recited lines from different plays they remembered in order,
and the audience hoped they would be placed on the stage they created between islands.
But it can neither be connected nor undone. Once things have passed, they never return.

I read, and I read again.
A dancing and leaping dancer is talking incessantly to himself.
On a day when the cold wind blows and snow pours down, one early dawn, they finally spoke to me.
“Let’s go together...”
But I stayed behind, and someday I will follow them.
The image of a path covered in desolate snow, deep into the forest, following their traces.
Working Process of Artificial Garden 
Artist                        Jinjoon Lee
Curator                    Eunjoo Lee
Design                     SihoWork 

Bass                        Donghyun Kim
Baritone                  Jaeho Choi
Arrangement          Wonkyeong Lee 
Harpist                    Kihwa Lee
Actor                       Yuri Kim
                                 Shinhye Park
                                 Soomin Lee
                                 Soonwon Lee
                                 Nakhyun Joo
                                 Dahee Lee
                                 Seolim Lee 
Dance                      Youngran Seo
Photography           Hongil Yoon 
Technician               L+MEDIA
Coordinator             Sungjoon Kim
Exhibition Design    Kyeyoung Jang 
Assistant                  Giltaek Lee 

Unsangdong Architects Cooperation 
Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture
Arts Council Korea

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