FINITE | ANTHROPAUSE
Immersive audio-visual installation, 6 min,
5 projections, 12 channel spatialised audio system
PKM Gallery, Seoul
ANTHROPAUSE | FINITE
It's the second summer with COVID-19. The virus mutates constantly, and it is hard to measure the end. In June 2020, a global team of biologists coined a new term, "anthropause" to describe this period. This refers to a time when humanity, the subject of 'anthoropocene', has ceased to act on an unprecedented scale during the early phase of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, this pause did not last very long. Clear sky was covered with fine dust again, and mankind is expanding without showing signs of stopping as AI, Bitcoin, Metaverse, and NFT related data show every day. Ancient Greek philosophers thought the infinite is inferior to the finite, because the infinite has no completion. It is said that supporters of Pythagoras believed in two basic cosmological principles, Peras (the finite) and Apeiron (the infinite), while equating the former with goodness and the latter with badness. However, later, people began to link the infinite to divinity, in particular, with the emergence of Christianity. Since then, scientific discovery and linear knowledge accumulation have contributed to satisfying human's infinite desires, and as a result, we are pursuing infinite quantitative and material expansion. The rapidly expanding digital data has accelerated this even further, overlooking that we are finite and that all our actions return as feedback in any form. This oblivion is an illusion given by the technical age, and it is the result of disregarding the connection between humans and the environment as if humanity were the only exception. I titled my solo exhibition ‘Anthropause’ because I believe we need to re-configure the notion of infinite and finite that divide mankind into superiority that has been drawn so far. <Finite> and <Infinite> are artworks exploring two values of infinite and finite in the middle of current 'anthropause'. Through two installation works, I aim to transform this unexpected pause into a ‘productive pause,’ by telling a story that can only be told at this particular time when humankind is having a halt.
<Finite> is an immersive audio-visual installation. Large-scale projections are merged with an 11-channel spatialised audio system to maximise the viewers' sensual experiences. The work starts with the image of a green forest. Soon the scenes of skyscrapers fill in the land of burnt forest and they also disappear with explosions. In the last scenes, what looks like a magnificent snowy mountain or iceberg appears in the dark but vanishes into countless pieces. I digitally rendered the images of all the scenes except the scene of struggling humans, so as to ironically show the finitude of the man-made environment through the digital technology that arouses the illusion of infinity. I added a sense of strong presence to the digitally rendered scene with real sounds of forest, city noises, audio recordings from the First and Second World War. Particularly, the last scene of moving is accompanied by the recording of a performance of string players (cello, viola and violin) and myself playing the piano, which is a specifically composed piece for <Finite>.
In all, the installation allows us to confront the uncomfortable fact that how humanity’s perpetual desire is exploiting limited natural resources. However, this should not be a frustrating or depressing conclusion as I hope to demonstrate that everything on the earth is finite, and that is what makes us even more beautiful and meaningful. All the audio-visual elements are carefully designed to dramatise the space and intensely immerse the viewers with a hope to engender the audiences' emotional response that could generate a thought-provoking moment.
This project has been premiered in Yiyun Kang's Solo exhibition 'ANTHROPAUSE'
at PKM Gallery, Seoul.
21 July - 20 August 2021