by Daha Kim 

Audible Garden exhibition view at Korean Cultural Centre UK 

 Dan Weill © Korean Cultural Centre UK

In the solo exhibition, in the production of art, the methodology used in science seems actively adopted. Usually, raw data that align with the question of scientific researchers are transformed into information and concluded with the knowledge that fits to the early hypothesis. The artist transformed audio-visual data into artwork which is not hypothesized as that of the scientists. Audio Midi data were transformed into the sound and visual results. The visual video data were converted into an abstracted form. The transformation and translation produce unexpected idiosyncrasy.
    Employing the autoethnographic approach as a methodology for artwork makes viewers participate in the memory of the artist subjectively. How time on a ‘certain moment’ is brought to space is contingent on the condition of the exhibition place. Also, the worldview of the artist that brings it into the space determines the way it is. The Korean Cultural Centre UK building seems to express more sense of calm ‘Koreanness’ to the Western space. The concept of an East Asian garden in artificial Western space was visualized in ‘white space’ as ‘green space.’
    The specific Daejeon local city and the time ‘summer 2023’ makes the viewer revisit the experience of the artist. Each memory at a ‘certain time’ is stored in a turntable disc that can re-playable. The audio turntable and video that freeze the memory is constantly replayed. Observing the urban landscape through the lens of subjective emotion leaves various responses to the multiple ethnic backgrounds of visitors. The artwork outlines time that is expressed in space through the lens of calm emotion. The certain kind of emotion that is being filled with is reminiscing serenely. In East Asian countries, being in the garden is for the contemplation of the wanderer. The walking passengers become the background through the green-filtered glasses.​​​​​​​

Daejeon, Summer of 2023, 2023. M10 plaster and sumi ink for calligraphy sculpture, turntable, collection of 30: Each piece measures 30 x 30 x 0.5 cm 
© Sungbaek Kim

    People, place, and time is important frame to study in cultural anthropology and social science. When seeing the exhibition through the framework of the cultural anthropology study, it is characteristic that the Kinetic Mobil mobil-shaped sculpture with speakers brings invisible sound into the space. The audio tapestry, hanging on the ceiling looks like a thin tree in breezing air. In Western exhibition space, visitors can instantly be possible to experience the East Asian garden without actually being there.
    Cultural anthropologist Arjun Appadurai insisted on five scapes or flows. It includes ethnoscapes, technoscapes, ideoscapes, financescapes, and mediascapes. With globalization, the flow of people, technology, finances, and ideas is making it easier to transcend borders. To specify, ethnoscapes are the increased flow of migrants across boundaries. Other than tourists, refugees who must cross borders because of inevitable conditions experience difficulties. Mediascape is the power of international media to rapidly send new information across the globe. Technoscapes refer to how technologies help speed up cross-border movements. 
    Many visitors who became accustomed to audiovisual stimuli in Western countries search for some artworks that resonate with their minds. One of the culture-sharing patterns among art lovers is gallery hopping. There are lots of galleries, art museums, and cultural spaces to visit, and walking around spacious cities makes visitors engage in the space and time of exhibition more compressed way. As there are thousands of stimuli in offline and online space, the dopamine doesn’t impact the way it is expected as intense. It is easy to be doomed with lots of stimuli that provide strong joyfulness. To feel and understand each artwork properly, it is required to ventilate and meditate in a calm mood.
    The urban landscapes are usually full of buildings. Sometimes it is possible to meet artificial gardens. In the artwork of the artist, the urban landscapes are expressed in an abstract form. The expressed emotion is the calmness of a traditional Korean garden. I assume that currently, the emotion that is full in urban space is joyfulness, and seek of pleasure. Some morals and ethics need to be controlled in joyful emotion. 
    The resonance of the artist’s emotion and memory with audiences can be accomplished through share of artwork. Culturally resonant messages in artworks are presented externally to audiences. The relationship between the audiences (on the mass side), the artist (on the production side), and art object is articulated as follows: (1) the audience as a subject who has power of resonance, (2) the artist as a subject who has power of resonance, and (3) the role of material “cultural objects” (McDonnell, 2023, p.196) that externalizes values as carriers in the process of circulation. 
    Resonance across borders is possible when artists and audiences are congruent with an artwork object. Exhibited artworks in the Audible Garden are analyzable as cultural objects. The emergence of cultural objects “makes it possible to share meaning and therefore culture” (McDonnell, 2023, p.196) among audiences and artists. The materialistic view of cultural objects is the opposite of the first and second views in the aforementioned paragraph. In addition, according to the third view, cultural objects “externalize moral training” (McDonnell, 2023) to audiences and artists.
    To achieve cultural resonance, “in (and out) group identity” (Sheets et al., 2023, p. 257) is important. The typology underlying the creation of the necessary resonance is organized into the “actor-audience interface” and “cultural competence.” (Soublière & Lockwood, 2022, p. 1505) This is distinguished into producing actor and their audiences’ meaning-making interface. Each other’s instilled endeavors, and efforts as meanings on the interface need to be “inferred to align with the meanings” (Soublière & Lockwood, 2022, p. 1505) on the interface. They must correspond with each other. The framing of messaging strategies regarding food quality by corporations is intended “to trigger public reactions.” (Jacobs et al., 2020, p. 223)
Fresh Nature: Black Milk, 2023.
M10 Plaster, Sumi Ink for Calligraphy and Golden Leaf Sculpture,
 variable size.© Sungbaek Kim
    Through the sculpture titled Fresh Nature: Black Milk, Jinjoon Lee re-examines our relationship with the objects we consume and our interactions with the natural world around us. To analyze the sculpture with the problematized question, I introduced categories of ethical principles in consumption that seek the customer’s joyfulness. The determination of what is ethical are “interdisciplinary theme.” (Carrington et al., 2021). Ethics and morals are sets of values and codes of action. Among many ethical principles, I referred to the following categories: “romantic and emotional,” (Boden & Williams, 2002) “aspirational,” (Edmond, 2023) “messy,” (Lewis & Potter, 2011), and “relational” (Lewis & Potter, 2011) ethics. 
    First, “romantic and emotional ethics” (Boden & Williams, 2002) refers to the role of emotion in romantic enthusiasm, which motivates the subjectively meaningful purchasing behaviors of consumers. The term romantic applies to the shopping behavior of Korean youth. The romantic is about state of being emotionally connected. Individuals pursue their romantic and emotional beliefs as part of a hedonic shopping motivation” (2014; Nguyen et al., 2007) in modern society, which constitutes sensibility. More specifically the pleasure seeking ethic is a zone of “contradictory consumption (Lewis Potter, 2011, p. 28) Two contradicting elements in the pleasure-seeking ethic is individual versus social well-being. Also, immediate gratification versus long-term wellbeing, quantity and quality of pleasure is contradictory.
    Second, consumers with “aspirational ethics” demonstrate “hyperconscious ethical consumption.” (2023) From a positive view, hyperconscious consumers drive shifts in the market by inspiring other customers. If aspiring worsens, it becomes more conspicuous. Third, “a messy ethic” (Lewis & Potter, 2011, p. 103) means that individual choices cannot be distinguished as good or bad. Complex situations involving dilemmas that are unclear and difficult to resolve involve moral ambiguity. Fourth, a “relational ethic” (Lewis Potter, 2011, p. 267) means that the principle of consumption in a particular society is realized relationally through the engagement between different types of agents. The norm of decision making is the pursuit of relation and sociability. The “nature of ethics, among other principles, is formed across many categories of cultural groups. The categories that distinguish cultural groups are socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and gender. Adopting these various kinds of ethical principles, audiences can contemplate their manner of consuming objects and how to situate themselves with the natural world.
Manufactured Nature: Irworobongdo, 2022. 
Two Channel Video, 04'00". Dan Weill © Korean Cultural Centre UK
In the two-channel video Manufactured Nature: Irworobongdo, the trees in the space stand as a standpoint when people are wandering spaces. In the Nowhere in Somewhere series, the layer of time with the scenery is expressed. The question “how collective memory could be sculptured by art” depends on who the subjects that remembering. Particularly the collective people who experienced natural catastrophic events would still remember the painful memories in the location. The reconstruction of the urban landscape can be understood as a collective struggle that attempts to forget its undesirable pasts. Selection of what to remember is a political process. Shared identity between the same ethnicity creates national cohesion and solidarity. if individuals want to archive all of, their memory before die, It is possible. Then after the person dies, friends son, and daughter can access the archive of the person, memory. Then the person can live forever in the memory of the next generation. Currently, this is possible and in the future more specific level of memory archiving of individuals would be possible. The cost of it would become cheaper, too.
    In the human and non-human (e.g., nature) relationship, the nature-friendly human perspective is diversified into four categories of perspectives: stewardship, imperialism, romanticism, and utilitarianism. Stewardship views nature as a privilege and responsibility of humans to be responsible toward nature. The perspective of a utilitarian or hedonist seeks contentment in life above everything else. The trees and plants cannot feel happiness, or pleasure so they only have value as a scenery and beautiful landscapes. The view of stewardship views nature with a privilege and responsibility, the right to steward nature. 
    Imperialism that originated from the Christian religion insists that humans have a right to control nature. Francis Bacon insisted that ‘the modern view of science’ is based upon the argument that science intends to control nature. By controlling nature, it is possible to receive respect from God. Contrary to imperialism, Romanticism focuses on honoring nature with an almost god-like status. It is reasonable to apply anything vulnerable to nature, natural landscape. I interpret that the trees, mountains, and forests symbolize ‘the other,’ vulnerable object, the thing, or even the category of person that doesn’t have the category of power to protect themselves. In the case of the category of people who have the power to control other powerless people can choose the stance that they would take. The development of nature into the urban landscape is planned by the people who have power. The people who have power can determine the aforementioned perspective and can choose how to react to the party which is ‘nature.’ The condition of particular race, class, and gender of people have determined the right to decide. UNESCO claimed that there is no such notion as called ‘race.’ Mankind is only different, various, and diverse, as there is no hierarchy among different skin colors. 
    But the decision-making people who are in the position of ‘human’ can decide the relationship to ‘nature.’ A long time ago, black-colored people were not considered in the categories of ‘human,’ they were the ‘nature’ that was exploitable under the viewpoint of imperialism. Nowadays colored people are not considered like nature that can developable, but in everyday life, poor, uneducated, and physically disabled people are the ones that are considered as the category of ‘nature.’ Biologically they are still ‘human,’ but they are not in ‘the category of human’ that can decide something. Convention about Universal basic human rights was initiated, and there are many programs, but there is still bias toward people who are not in ‘the category of human’ that can develop nature.
Eastern worldview toward nature is less hierarchical than the western ‘god-like status’ worldview toward nature. Being in eastern garden, with trees, and other elements of nature is similar with the romantic view toward nature. Western garden is more analyzable with the perspective of stewardship, and imperialism. But this eastern and western dichotomy, comparative analogy is not necessarily accurate in contemporary days. Nowadays, Republic of Korean people tries to be in the position of ‘the categories of human’ that can determine the relationship with ‘nature,’ or ‘non-human actor.’ The passive aspect in the word ‘nature’ is more substituted with the ‘non-human actor.’ 

    The ‘non-human actor’ is more active, subjective, and powerful than the word ‘nature,’ because of the word ‘actor.’ As an actor or agent, the category of ‘non-human actor’ (e.g., nature) is considered much more equally. Among the ‘non-human actors,’ Artificial Intelligence is more actively discussed because of the capability of intelligence that has a possibility of doing decision-making. The actor doing ‘prompting’ is the human, so it would not need to worry about the likelihood of substitution of humans by A.I. A.I. would not need to decide the relationship between nature, the development of urban, turning nature to urban landscape. The human that can prompt A.I. would be more powerful than other humans who cannot do that. The traditional categories of identity (i.e., class, race, gender) that determine the position of humans would be less important if humans could learn how to control A.I., and other advanced science and technologies. 
    It looks like the role of the artist is to use the non-human actor, (e.g., AI) science and technology to set the relationship with the other non-human actor (e.g., nature) including a bunch of natural elements. The modern and contemporary phenomenon of using more technologies in the art field demonstrates it. It looks like a ‘trend.’ But it is inevitable to reinvestigate the power of nature, pureness, and abstract spirit. Because the category of nature has a possibility of destroying itself to destroy other powerful ones in a passive-aggressive way. Mother nature, earth, Gaia, and other metaphors that explain nature are still important. 
    The characteristics of ‘Asia,’ ‘Eastern,’ or even ‘Orientalism’ are something weak, similar to the state of nature. As this exhibition is held in KCCUK, it reminds visitors who have different backgrounds to contemplate what ‘Koreanness’ is. The Korean culture, K-cultural something has been considered international and popular. Korean art and culture have more received attention from Western countries and others. What are the characteristics of Korea to other Eastern countries? The emotion of ‘han,’ which is understandable as regret, resentment, or sadness is symbolized as the emotion of Korean. But the exact meaning of han is more subtle than the regret is. It would be better to have a sensibility about future direction to be more prosperous. ​​​​​​​
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