Seoul Media Art Biennale names Park Chan-kyong artistic director May 15 2013
The 8th media biennale to examine how contemporary artists interpret non-Western cultures in media art

The Seoul International Media Art Biennale, the biggest celebration and showcase of media art in Korea, aims to strengthen its identity as a leading international media art event while bringing fresh change to the upcoming event next year with the appointment of artist, art critic and movie director Park Chan-kyong as new artistic director for the 8th media art biennale in 2014.

Park, also well-known as the younger brother of filmmaker Park Chan-wook, is the first artist to be appointed to lead the media art biennale. The Park brothers won a prize at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2011 for their short film “Night Fishing,” which was shot entirely with an iPhone 4.

The media art biennale, which started in 2000, has developed into a major international forum for media art and a showcase of evolving trends with the development of social media.

Park Chan-kyong. (Seoul Museum of Art)

“Next year, we are going to focus on regional issues that will set us apart from Western art events,” said Park at a press conference on Monday at Seoul Museum of Art in Seoul.

“I don’t confine media art to media forms. Media has various connotations as in media, news and communication. The 8th media art biennale will focus on the social context of media art and its potential, which will be represented in such topics as media and political power, media and resistance and media and narcissism,” said Kim.

Park, whose previous works shed light on the modernization of Korea and political shifts during that period, said he will emphasize “inter-local culture” as opposed to “global culture.”

“In contrast to globalization shaped and led by developed countries, the media art biennale will concentrate on how contemporary artists interpret various social, cultural and historical issues in their regions and apply them to their art,” he said. “We don’t have to see global artists who exhibit works in different parts of the world simultaneously. We are not going see them here.”

Park further aims to explore how global issues such as terrorism, religious conflicts and environmental crisis are interpreted in contemporary art.

Like his predecessors, Park also faces the challenge of achieving both popular appeal and artistic value in directing the media art event.

“Last year’s media art biennale was successful in terms of having popular appeal, but received comments from the art world that it wasn’t at the cutting edge of media art trend,” said Kim.

The 7th Seoul International Media Art Biennale attracted 100,000 people from September to November last year.

As a pre-event to the media art biennale, which is still a year away, an experimental movie festival is being held at the museum, which will be followed by art events related to different forms of media and art.

The Off and Free International Expanded Cinema and Art Festival is screening 64 films in four different rooms on the third floor of the museum until May 26. The festival, which defies the commercial film system aims to extend the boundary of film with installation art. Each room is designed by architects, installation or sculptural artists and plays a selection of films. For more information, visit sema.seoul.go.kr.

By Lee Woo-young (wylee@heraldcorp.com)

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