Life as reflected through digital mediaThe Seoul International Media Art Biennale began on Wednesday at the Seoul Museum of Art and various other places in the city. The biennial event, which started in 2000, features art exhibitions shows and different aspects of the media in modern society.
The festival’s theme this year is “games and playing.” It will focus mainly on changes in society caused by the new video-game playing culture that has been spawned by the Internet.
People’s daily lives, which nowadays naturally involve video games; the economic power of the game industry; and the cultural messages the games carry will be examined by artists from all over the world during the festival.
Some of the larger exhibitions deal with broad themes such as commercialism, war, contact and entertainment in the digital era.
The exhibition suggests creative ways to resist commercial products that have violent and graphic images. It suggests new ways to view digital items that people in modern society have become passive consumers of.
Some artworks imply that power games between advanced and developing countries lead to wars and terrorism. Other artists question what human contact means in the digital era.
The exhibition also emphasizes the importance of how media art entertains people. There will be special events and exhibitions with titles like “Matrix A,” “Funny Furniture,” “media_art.org,” and “m_cs archive.”
Exhibition “Matrix A” is an event that uses a large map to introduce museums and galleries to the public. Visitors can explore as many places as possible and get stamps from each location. Those who are able to check out a certain number of places receive small gifts.
About 36 cultural centers, including the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the Daelim Contemporary Art Museum and the Posco Art Museum are participating in the event.
At the “Funny Furniture” exhibition, people can rest on unique chairs that are hidden throughout the exhibit.
Also there is a small and cozy library called “m_cs archive,” made for domestic artists to share information with each other.
Abundant resources and visual, and audio materials on media art are available in the library.
There are lectures with titles such as “Everything about media art exhibitions,” “Living as media artists,” “Arts and games,” at Hongik University and Ehwa Womans University.
During the festival, there will be a so-called “artists’ cafe,” made for visitors who want to meet international and domestic media artists participating in the festival.
The festival will be until Feb. 6 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the week and to 6 p.m. on weekends. It closes every Monday and on Jan. 1 and 2.
For more information, call Seoul Museum of Art at 2124-8948 or visit www.mediacityseoul2004.org.
by Choi Sun-young