Media art group finds inspiration in a high-tech life

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Media art group finds inspiration in a high-tech life

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Bang Hyeon-woo, left, and Heo Yoon-sil, who have been married for 10 years, organized the art media group Everyware. The duo turned an almost-scrapped car into a meaningful installation piece for Lee Do-yeop and his family, who held onto a lot of memories in their old Hyundai. Provided by Everyware

After 12 years of driving his Hyundai Santa Fe, Lee Do-yeop decided to say goodbye by giving his old car away.

But while cleaning it before its departure, he realized that he associated the car with what felt like millions of family memories.

The car was almost scrapped, but in the end was given a new life: It was turned into a literal collection of memories by the media art organization Everyware, whose projects integrate art and digital technology.

The idea behind the car’s transformation was to allow Lee and other spectators to appreciate the memories the car provided.

To do so, Bang Hyeon-woo and Heo Yoon-sil, the founders of the organization, disassembled the vehicle and recycled the steering wheel and its fan belt. In their subsequent installation, “Memorial Drive,” which was featured in an advertisement for an ongoing Hyundai recycling campaign, the steering wheel turns from left to right and back again, moving a conveyor belt. That component carries a line of family photographs and then projects them onto a small monitor attached above.

Recycling cars into media art was part of Hyundai’s campaign to recycle junked vehicles and transform them into art presented under the theme, “When the car is gone, so are the memories.”

Bang and Heo organized Everyware in 2007 with a few of their family members. The couple has been married for 10 years now, having met during their college years in a design class at Seoul National University.

Not long after, they founded Everyware, and since then their artworks have received global recognition, displaying in about 20 museums overseas, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

The two are currently focusing their energy on fostering the next generation of media artists and working toward establishing a gallery exclusively for media art.

A JoongAng Ilbo reporter recently visited the couple’s workroom in Seocho District, southern Seoul, to talk about their projects and inspiration.



Q. What is the common theme of the works by Everyware?

Heo: We don’t necessarily have a common theme for our work. Rather, we reflect on our interests at the time. But many of our audiences interpret our work as bright and positive, or conveying a “warm analogue.”

I guess those impressions may come from the subject matter and the woods we use - inspiration from our fathers, who are carpenters. The atmosphere of our family all working together also influences our work.



What do you think about some people becoming fed up with digital objects in your work?

Heo: Actually, repulsion to digital media can be a reaction that can turn into content or new ideas for us. For instance, the “Memories” art piece we made in 2010 reflects those kinds of feelings: A Polaroid camera on top of a TV takes pictures of the faces of the people who approach it, and the photos fall onto the TV screen.



What kind of artists do you want to be?

Bang: I would say I want to be an illusionist rather than an artist. In other words, I would like to create something that makes people rejoice by looking at our art medium.

Heo: If I have to compare, I would liken us to an idol group that performs well and is talented at the same time. I want to inspire people to visit our media art displays and enjoy them.

Bang: Although art media is a high-value industry and is an advantageous field in our country ... there aren’t enough places for artists to show off their talents.

BY KIM GYEONG-JIN, PARK YUNA [ypc3c@joongang.co.kr]




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