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Shaping the Future

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Date: 7.11—19.11.22
Institution: Seoul Foundation for the Arts and Culture
Location: Seoul, KR

Host/Organizer: Seoul Foundation for the Arts and Culture
Sponsor: Seoul Metropolitan Government
Operations: Seoul Foundation for the Arts and Culture
Artistic Director: Seungah Lee
Festival Coordinators: Suehyen Kim, Jooyeong Moon, Jaehyun Shin, Sooeon Jeong

Participating Artists:
Taeeun Kim, Honam Kim_Kisoon Eom_Haejin Jung, Jinah Roh, Log, Loopntale, Sanghee, Ubac Studio, WAYY, Jeho Yun, Inkang Lee, Youngjoo Cho, Daito Manabe, David Oreilly, Ryoichi Kurokawa, Iris Qu Xiaoyu_Marc Lee_Shervin Saremi, Moritz Simon Geist, Haram Kwon_Joonhyung Bae_Karam Eum_Seolhee Lee, BioMedia & AATB

House of Electronic Arts (HEK, Basel ), Center for Art and Media (ZKM, Karlsruhe), Paradise Cultural Foundation, Gwangju Media Art Platform (G.MAP), Universal Robots, Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA)

Exhibition Architecture: kkr+kdk
Visual Graphic: Design Ourlabour
Web Design: Jungju Moon
Photo & Video Documentation: Studio Masil
Equipment: MULTI TECH
Translation and Proofreading: Bomi Heo
interpretation: Seoul Reading Room

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Shaping the Future
© Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture
© Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture
© Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture
© Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture
© Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture
© Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture

Technology has changed and developed at full speed including the World Wide Web. It was invented in 1989 on the basis of hypertexts and hyperlinks to improve communications, and has created a new hyper-connected world with full access and speed for anyone, anywhere. Humans and technologies have evolved together as the former becoming more dependent and the latter becoming more indispensable with the rapid rise and development of information and technology. Technologies in the age of information are creating diverse cohabiting relationships with humans, establishing highly intriguing 21-century art and media ecosystems.

Shaping the Future stirs questions on the changing relationship between art and technology, showcasing unexpected “happenings” that occurred in the process of humans collaborating with technologies and the art capacity building a symbiotic relationship with technologies. How can artists surrounded by the technology-mediated environment co-exist and strike a balance? Do they welcome the encounter with data ecosystems organized on the basis of complex relationships? Will artificial creativity involving AI, ML, and GAN further boost humans’ imagination? Or will it make artists complacent and unmotivated? Will digital ecosystems grant artists eternal freedom without the limit of time and space? These ongoing discourses and debates on the relationship between art and technology, along with artists' concerns are still unresolved.

The potential of algorithms has been celebrated in recent years as a “digital revolution.” The logical and indisputable outcomes, including art, generated by machines have diminished the value of individuality, originality, diversity, and sensitivity that were sought after by the art world and have narrowed the scope of freedom artists can opt in. Meanwhile, the newly-emerged, non-human creators equipped with information and technology in the art scene are gradually expanding their presence. Now, the change of directions toward more future-oriented creativeness is needed more than ever in light of deep concern over humans in the digital era and, further, the survival and identity of future artists.

The exhibition divides into three categories according to key issues: “Data Fantasy” examines different changes through data in the information age and studies the role and relationship of creators based on data. “Uncertain Species” explores the entire process of art creation driven by non-human creators based on trust and knowledge. “Meta-scape” showcases the landscape of digital virtual space without the constraints of time and space beyond the closely-connected reality as well as forecasts the multifaceted and diverse spectrum of future. Artists fused the exhibition meticulously to portray the future that is sustainable and alienated from reality.

The technological environment in the information age explores a new deviation from time and space. It also shows both utopian and dystopian futures with the ceaseless generation of uncontrollable automation and data algorithms and the great uncertainty against the accumulation of advanced information data beyond the limit of the human memory. Thus, constant practice is needed to cope with unexpected problems and situations accompanied by the changing future. Taking sufficient time will also help adapt to this new series of changes as reflection on media and examination on technologies are particularly required for the art fused with technology.

The show is not a process of separation between utopian and dystopian futures by technologies, but rather a discovery of artists’ identity, ways of adaptation, and challenges and directions for new relationships through the world around them with the extensive data and research. Taking in the speed of the modern time is one way to enjoy our lives as we are living in an era of the unavoidable overload of technological information. Shaping the Future will serve as an opportunity for visitors to envision futures with healthy tension brought by different types of relationships between multiple media and technologies by relishing in the exhibit.

– Seungah Lee (Artistic Director)