Blast Theory, You Start It
Nov. 23. 2017 — Mar. 4. 2018
Nam June Paik Art Center is pleased to present You Start It by the 2016 Nam June Paik Art Center Prize winner Blast Theory. The exhibition, titled ‘You Start It’ will feature new and recent works by Blast Theory and will run from 23 November 2017 till 4 March 2018. You Start It by Blast Theory, to be held for the first time in Korea, provides an integrating view of Blast Theory, exploring various media forms under the theme of the participation and engagement of the spectators.
The title of the exhibition, ‘You Start It’ is a categorical proposition that the works are begun by the spectators. Under this proposition the spectators intervene in the works with subjective and active state and exist as actors that sustain the works. Like a game in which players join as peers and no one knows who will win, Blast Theory calls the audiences out of a passive attitude and transforms them into equal participants within the works. This political and aesthetic composition is beyond a mere interrelationship between works and audiences. These relationships, looking-forward, move areas that are considered heavy public places, and construct fields in which conversations and plays with strangers are alive. In this huge playground, it is now your turn to start.
My Point Forward first presented in 2017 on commission by the Museum of London, meets Korean visitors at Nam June Paik Art Center in a new localized version. Featuring a series of short films shot in Korea and in the UK, the interactive installation invites visitors to explore a future of the cities and their places within it. Visitors’ soliloquies are recorded and become part of the work, building a portrait of the future that is personal, provocative and filled with hope. The imagination of the future finds a more concrete and extended form in 2097: We Made Ourselves Over. Taking you on a journey to the cusp of the next century, come into a world where consciousness is transferred from the dead to the living and cities are rebuilt overnight. In five short science fiction films, each accompanied by an interactive film for smart phones, the project explores the belief that everyone has the power to act and influence the future – and that perhaps anything is actually possible. The Thing I’ll Be Doing For The Rest Of My Life a commission by the Aichi Triennale in Nagoya, Japan in 2013, is a project in which a 30 tonne trawler is dragged out of the water and pushed onto a park. This labor and performance to lift a scrapped vessel represents the will of participation and solidarity of a crowd of people who fought against the catastrophic, irrevocable disaster. It is a metaphor for the Japan tsunami of 2011 and the wounds, and many hidden efforts to rebuild the communities destroyed by them. The audience’s participation plays a key role not only in these works but also in the other works.
Formed and led by Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr and Nick Tandavanitj, Blast Theory’s work explores interactivity and the social and political aspects of technology. The group is renowned internationally for its use of interactive media, creating groundbreaking new forms of performance and interactive art that mixes audiences across the internet, live performance and digital broadcasting. Blast Theory has shown work at the Venice Biennale, Sundance Film Festival, ICC in Tokyo, the Barbican and Tate Britain. Commissioners include Channel 4, the BBC and the Royal Opera House. Blast Theory’s first app – Karen – commissioned by National Theatre Wales and The Space was launched at Tribeca in 2015. The artists work closely with researchers and scientists and have collaborated with the Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Nottingham since 1997, co-authoring over 45 research papers. The artists teach and lecture internationally including at the Sorbonne, Stanford University and the Royal College of Art. They curated the Screen series for Live Culture at Tate Modern. The group has been nominated for four BAFTAs and won the Golden Nica at Prix Ars Electronica.
※ This event is part of the UK/Korea 2017-18 official programmes.
UK/Korea 2017-18 presents a year-long cultural programme that places particular emphasis on emerging artists and reaching new audiences. British Council in Korea have chosen five themes which they feel are vital to a dynamic creative economy. These are City-to-City, Transformation and Innovation through Digital Technology, Diversity and Inclusion, Creative Entrepreneurship and Creative Learning. Throughout the year they share the UK’s innovation and excellence. They also develop creative practices by fostering new approaches and pushing boundaries through artistic collaborations between artists and arts organisations from both countries.
Nam June Paik Art Center Prize
The Nam June Paik Art Center Prize was established in 2009. Since its inception, the Prize has been awarded to artists and theorists whose works are very much in tune with Paik’s work amalgamating art and technology, pursuing new ways of communication, interacting with audiences, and fusing and conflating music, performance and visual art. The first Prize was awarded in 2009 to four artists, Seung-Taek Lee, Eun-Me Ahn, Ceal Floyer, and Robert Adrian X; philosopher and sociologist Bruno Latour won the 2010 Prize; the 2012 Prize went to artist Doug Aitken; and the winner of the 2014 Prize was Haroon Mirza.
Selection Procedure of the Nam June Paik Art Center Prize 2016
The Nam June Paik Art Center is pleased to announce that ‘Blast Theory’ (UK, formed in 1991) was selected as the winner of the ‘2016 Nam June Paik Art Center Prize.’ Blast Theory has been internationally noted for their interactive works based on various media such as theater, radio, games, and the web. The Selection Committee considered Blast Theory as artists who investigate paths that no other artist has taken, and highly values their exploration of new boundaries, which matches the criteria of the Nam June Paik Art Center Prize.
For the Nam June Paik Art Center Prize, five Nominating Committee members propose two candidates respectively; a separate Selection Committee, which also comprises of five members, reviews the ten candidates and selects the final winner. The Selection Committee members were Bartomeu Marí (Director, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea), Jeffrey Shaw (Chair Professor of Media art, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong), Nicolas de Oliveira (Director of Research and Curatorial Projects – Montabonel & Partners, U.K.), Soh Yeong Roh (Director, Art Center Nabi, Korea) and Jinsuk Suh (Director, Nam June Paik Art Center, Korea)
The head of this year’s Selection Committee, Soh Yeong Roh, has remarked, “Blast Theory stands out in their wide-ranging usage of various media such as theater, internet, film, on-offline games, and recently, the field of data science. Since the mid 1990’s, the group followed the trajectory of the development of the media, with their acute and in-depth psychological analyses. I would call them the most contemporary media-poet of this age. Blast Theory puts emphasis on narrative itself rather than digging into the properties of the media. Those narratives are ordinary yet extremely British. They creatively engage old stories related to the ego, memory, and relationships with up-to-date media. I appreciate their commitment as well as their artistic spirit that they have shown for the last twenty years.” The winner, Blast Theory, has expressed, “We are delighted to be the recipients of the Nam June Paik Art Centre Prize (2016) – it feels fantastic to win this award for all the work we have made over the last twenty five years. It is an honour to be recognised in relation to Nam June Paik, whose pioneering work set the stage for much of the art work with technology which has followed and we accept this prize in the sure knowledge that we would not have made this work without so many fantastic people who have supported us and helped us along the way.”
Blast Theory Artist Talk
Nov. 23, 2017 Thursday 15:00pm
Nam June Paik Art Center, 2F Seminar Room
Nov. 23, 2017 Thursday 17:00pm
Nam June Paik Art Center, 1F Lobby
Organized and Hosted by
Nam June Paik Art Center, Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation
British Council, LF
Maeil, Baedoga, Perrier