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  Arts & Living
Experience "Homo Ludens" within You
"3rd Seoul Int'l Media Art Biennale" Runs Till Feb. 6
By Lee Hyun-Ju
Staff Reporter
Opening ceremony of "The Third Seoul International Media Art Biennale" held at the Seoul Museum of Art Dec. 15, 2004

The prominent Dutch cultural theorist, Johan Huizinga named homo species "homo ludens" (humans of playing) arguing that what has formed human culture is not reason or thinking but play, and it is with play that humans have come this far.

Under the title of "Digital Homo Ludens," "The Third Seoul International Media Art Biennale," the biggest event of the "Media City Seoul 2004," makes that point clear with 42 internationally acclaimed media artworks rigorously selected for its theme "Game/Play."

The biennial media art exhibition, opened Dec. 15, 2004 will continue through Feb. 6, 2005 at the Seoul Museum of Art.

Yun Jin-Sup, director of the biennale (left) introduces Dutch curator Johan Pijnappel at the opening ceremony.

Hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government the exhibition was sponsored by related government ministries, foreign embassies in Seoul, and international art foundations — the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Information and Communication, the German Embassy, the Embassy of France, the British Council, the Japan Foundation, and the Art Council of Switzerland just to mention a few.

"Life is a game, and society is a massive game field," said the exhibition's event director Yun Jin-Sup, president of the Art Critics Association in Korea, at the opening ceremony officiated by announcer Kim Ji-Eun of a local TV station MBC Dec. 15. 2004.

"The audiences will meet an array of amazing imagination of artists as the result of the fusion of technology and art, and will encounter the amazing achievement of our current technological society," he added.

Participating artist Miltos Manetas shows his video installation "People Against Things" at the exhibition.

The Media Art Biennale has brought to Seoul more than 60 international artists and four eminent global curators: Johan Pijnappel, organizer of The World Wide Video Festival; Liz Hughes, artistic director of Experimenta, Australian media art center; Hans D. Christ, organizer of the "Nam-June Paik Award" which is supported by the German government and Tilman Baumgaertel, author of "Net.Art 2.0."

Participating artists include Langlands & Bell, a team of two English artists, which is nominated for the "2004 Turner Prize," the most honorable art awards in England. The team's controversial piece "the House of Osama bin Laden" is an interactive installation produced on a commission for the Imperial War Museum of London.

One of the co-curators of the exhibition, Hans D. Christ, recommends Joan Leandre's work "Babylon Archive," which deals directly with the close relationship between the military industry and the entertainment business.

German curator Hans D. Christ (right) poses with a participating artist Daniel Garcia Andujar of "E-Seoul."

"Tilman Baumgaertel and I define 'Homo Ludens' as the one who can draw back the ideological and beautified veil that casts a dark shadow on the creative application scope of the 'so-called' new technology before one understands the world through playing," Christ said.

Another curator, Liz Hughes, highlighted the concept of "serious play" with "the Container" created by Anthony Hunt and Stephen Honnegger. The piece plays serious games with the viewer's mind by taking the computer game narrative out of the console and into the physical world of the gallery.

"By explicitly framing the viewer within the narrative, it throws the viewer's position into a paradoxical relationship with itself. It asks, are you playing game or is the game playing you?" said Hughes.

German curator Tilman Baumgaertel (left) poses with Australian curator Liz Hughes at the opening party.

Beside the main exhibition, which displays an interesting juxtaposition of games made by artists and artworks that comment on existing games, the event also offers many special exhibitions, academic programs, and workshops.

Some of these events are not only held at the Seoul Museum of Art but also at other places in Seoul, including curators' special lectures in Hongik University and Ewha Womans University.

As mentioned by Yun Jin-Sup, the artistic director of the biennale, audiences will get in touch with the "homo ludens" within themselves through the exhibition.

For more information or for inquiries for a group tour call 02-2124-8948 or 02-755-8158, or visit its official website.


Related Photos

"The Third Seoul International Media Art Biennale" marks its start with the splendid laser show Dec. 15, 2004.



Other Articles by Lee Hyun-Ju
    119 Paintings Shown at Seoul Arts Center
    World's Classic Cars Come to Seoul
    Romania Marks 86th Revolution Day at Shilla


Ms. Lee Hyun-Ju is serving as staff reporter for The Seoul Times. She studied journalism and mass communications at Ewha Womans University. Being a muti-lingual Ms. Lee covers news in diplomatic and other cultural areas.

 

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