[ "Digital Being" at Pratt Digital Arts Gallery ]

Mar. 26 ~ 30, 2012




"Digital Being" is a series of the kinetic installations of technological garbage based on the hypothetical existence of an invisible and formless creature born within the circuits of electronic waste. This creature evolves and responds to its environment through an atypical movement or specific interaction according to the machinery that it dominates. 


{ Documentation Video - voice over version }

ARTEFUSE (New York) selects my artwork, Digital Being.


Digital technology possesses unique intrinsic attributes to allow for this evolution to occur. According to Nicholas Negroponte, MIT Media Lab founder and author of the book “Being Digital”, the digital consists of bit where analogue consists of atoms. Bit is invisible, but it exists. 

There are very simple digital codes in all electronics, such as televisions, speakers and computers. Not only is the daily output of these electronics incalculable, but there is also an enormous number of them are thrown away. Unless the memory chips or CPUs of the circuits are totally broken, they can still operate by the command codes inside their bodies. 

What if these command codes were accidentally and repeatedly combined, generating mutant codes and errors among themselves? What if a code were to realize its consciousness during this continuous operation? 

As digital technology is developing, the interactions among machines increases dramatically and produces more e-waste, therefore raising the possibility. My artwork, "Digital Being," is based on this hypothesis.



E-Waste.jpg

Reference 1. E-waste from Brooklyn neighborhoods


A Part of Ulsan - Digital Being.jpg

Reference 2. My home town, Ulsan in Korea


An Imagination of Digital Being.jpg

Reference 3. A Imaginary Picture of Digital Being


Our world is being ever more reconstituted with digital codes.  After the Digital Switchover in 2009, tube TV could no longer function as a TV. People started getting rid of the once loved square boxes on a street. Why were people doing that? Because the infrastructure had changed from the analogue to digital?


According to Nicholas Negroponte, MIT Media Lab founder and author of the book “Being Digital”, the analogue consists of atoms while the digital consists of bit.  The physical and the invisible.  Bit is invisible, but it still exists, just as consciousness exists.


In 2009, I was recalling Nam June Paik’s splendid artworks during 1960s to 1990s: watching abandoned tube televisions on a street. His artworks, such as Arche Noah, Electronic Superhighway, and Dadaikseon, paved the way for the use of new media.  However, while people enjoyed the shallow pleasure of the media, it almost forced a subordination upon them.  This relationship to media has passed on almost automatically from the analogue generation to the digital generation.


However, when technology: smart phones, computers, traffic lights, etc. are not working properly, we realize more their existence and thus their effect on and relationships to us.  Never the less, technology is a commodity to be consumed, and with consumption comes waste.  New technologies are can break down or become out of date and are quickly replaced.  The subsequent disposal of electronic technologies creates not only an environmental concern, but poses a philosophical question.  What if, during a technologies’ continuous repetitive operation, digital command codes are corrupted or merged to create ‘mutant’ codes, resulting in a birth of consciousness in the machine?


With this question and my research in digital technologies, I am exploring the possibilities on the evolution of a form of consciousness and subsequently, a specific character traits within digital machines.


Collecting e-waste, I dismantle, reattach its parts, and modify its components such as Motor, LED, and Speaker to create a hybrid machine/creature; referencing its origins and original function, but performing it with a consciousness and character all its own.


Combining social phenomenons such as the passive subordination of people to technology, the study of e-waste, and my fictional story, I make my artwork, Digital Being. 


DigitalBeing_Installation.gif

Installation at Pratt Digital Arts Gallery Space


Fig2.gif

TV Being / Radio Being / Fan Being


DigitalBeing_Pic03_Interaction_web.gif

Interaction between Human Being and Digital Being




{ The First Generation of Digital Being }

" I collected some of them from the dump yard."



 TV Being #001

TV-Being-1.gif

 Number

 TVB #001

 Date of Discovery 

 03-26-2012

 Location

 New York

 Dimension

 22 x 24.5 x 24.6 cm

 Feature

 This Digital Being is controlling a TV. It keeps making a 

 signal,and makes the screen keeps blinking, except when a 

 human being gets closer. It looks like a shy boy.



 Radio Being #001

DigitalBeing_13_small_920.gif

 Number

 RB #001

 Date of Discovery

 03-26-2012

 Location

 New York

 Dimension

 29 x 31 x 25 cm

 Feature

 This Digital Being is controlling a radio module.

 Depending on the range between it and a human being,

 it changes the radio station. It has a picky taste.



 Printer Being #001

03_Printer-Being_web.gif

 Number

 PB #001

 Date of Discovery

 03-26-2012

 Location

 New York

 Dimension

 40 x 18 x 23 cm

 Feature

 This Digital Being is controlling a printer. It randomly moves 

 horizontally. It looks vigorous.



 CD-ROM Being #001

04_CD-ROM-Being_web.gif

 Number

 CRB #001

 Date of Discovery

 03-26-2012

 Location

 New York

 Dimension

 15 x 4 x 17 cm

 Feature

 This Digital Being is controlling a CD-ROM. It repeats opening 

 and closing its body. I guess it has a grumpy nature.



 Fan Being #001 

DigitalBeing_15_small_920.gif

 Number

 FB #001

 Date of Discovery 

 03-26-2012

 Location

 New York

 Dimension

 27 x 30 x 8.5 cm

 Feature

 This Digital Being is controlling an electric fan. When you 

 come close and try to enjoy the fan breeze, it stops working. 

 It likes to play a game with human being.



 Shiny Being #001

DigitalBeing_02_small_920.gif

 Number

 SB #001

 Date of Discovery 

 03-26-2012

 Location

 New York

 Dimension

 38 x 17 x 30 cm

 Feature

 This Digital Being controls a stepper motor and LEDs. It 

 rotates and stops the motor, and turns the LEDs on and off 

 around a mirror ball. I guess it likes to gather something 

 shiny.



 Mouse Being #001

DigitalBeing_04_small_920.gif

 Number

 MB #001

 Date of Discovery 

 03-26-2012

 Location

 New York

 Dimension

 9 x 5 x 11.5 cm

 Feature

 This Digital Being controls a mouse. It manipulates a mouse, 

 then makes a computer workIt enjoy controlling a computer.



 TV Being #002 

DigitalBeing_14_small_920.gif

 Number

 TVB #002

 Date of Discovery 

 03-26-2012

 Location

 New York

 Dimension

 34 x 35 x 37 cm

 Feature

 This Digital Being is controlling a TV. It generates linear 

 noise controlled by coming sound. It looks like a dancer 

 enjoying the rhythm.



 Fan Being #2

DigitalBeing_12_small_920.gif

 Number

 FB #2

 Date of Discovery

 03-26-2012

 Location

 New York

 Dimension

 57 x 56 x 15 cm

 Feature

 This Digital Being controls a printer and an electric fan.

 It rotates and stops the fan, and moves back and forth the LED 

 on the top of the machine. I guess it has a calm nature.


List of Articles
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