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On the Move: A Human Stream and a Flood of Images
In Far Eastern tradition the feather is considered a good omen. It holds an alchemistic promise, namely, the transformation of matter and the prospect of magical powers; it is able to translate the lifeless into the lively and thus stands for mobility, life and utopia.
mioon, that is, Min Kim and Moon Choi (both born 1972 in Seoul/Korea), came to Germany for further study, met here and have ever since worked together. Mobility and migration are keywords and ever-recurring themes in their video works. At often breakneck speed and, above all, with untiring zeal, these people are sparked into motion. However it remains questionable whether there is a destination, whether all is outgoing, but with no arrival; movement, yes, but no encounter. mioon’s waves of humanity lap back and forth, from here to there. Which explains the impression we get of people who seem lively but also captive. What leads them on? What drives the motor of their staying power?
In the video installation “Human Stream”, two imposing human busts – 3 meters and 3.50 meters high – stand at the center. The stylized form robs the figures of any individuality. They appear as wire-net outlines, as faces respectively held up by metal frameworks. A plastic webbing that entirely covers them gives the goose feathers a hold that are evenly sewn onto strips. These lend the rigid figures unusual luster and airiness. The surface thus enclosed looks simultaneously precious, mysterious and animated. While this white magnificence extends across the front, the back remains unclothed. Naked truths in the form of constructions, technical equipment and cables are set up against the beautiful illusion of the feather façade. The white pearly surface serves three beamers as a projection screen for a “Human Stream”: Germans and Koreans, women and men, the young and the old – they all are set into motion, and their roving ways connect two poles. Whereby their very presence dyes the feathers so that a constantly changing and iridescent plumage animates the monumental figures.

But all the people in this multitude do not only wander around, they also line up. Onto the faces of the sculptures new faces turn up, composed like puzzle pieces from many single persons marching by. Dizziness sets in when people turn into patterns, into little particles that generate new human images. “Tetris was my favorite game at the time.” (Min Kim) From the late 1980s this computer game conquered the computer screens. Per mouse click the falling geometric forms can be speedily turned around so that they line up and dock onto each other. “It got so that in everyday life I also began to see everything as a shape out of Tetris and wondered what form would match up with a car I was looking at.” (Min Kim) The mioon twosome always mixes fiction and reality and plays with a flood of images. On the facial planes of the two sculptures, new faces continue to appear, which are made up of many people in miniature. All these images are fleeting. Wasn’t that a pop star who just turned up, or a famous contemporary? What is genuine, what illusion?
A roar – a flow of air – the picture disappears: wind from ten ventilators from inside the sculpture blow deafeningly against the feathers and fan them into an upright position. The projection screen is as though blown away; only fragments of the film images appear here and there, then get lost, until the ventilators stop and the feathers gradually, almost ceremoniously, sink and the spectacle continues. People vanish, take up their roving ways, only to vanish again.

“Human Stream”: the English title associates the crowd of people with movement and the flow of water. The comparable Korean term comes from the Chinese and means “human mountain” and “human sea”. These we associate with massive resources and with stored power. Whether seen with eastern eyes or western eyes, the “Human Stream” by mioon is comprised of an enormous energy that is charged and discharged, setting off a flood of images to which we surrender in wonder.
By Dr. Sabina Lessmann / Kustmuseum Bonn
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