The 1st  VH AWARD


About the 1st VH AWARD

As our perceptions of the world and ourselves evolve in step with the massive technological breakthroughs of contemporary life, artists have continually explored the relationship between art and technology, pushing past fixed ideas of both. The inaugural edition of the VH AWARD celebrates these artists, supporting and cultivating those who are experimenting with the parameters of audiovisual creation in Korea while expanding our ways of seeing and participating in the world around us.

Hyundai Motor’s support of artistic experimentation is realized through a variety of programs. The VH AWARD allows us to provide direct resources to artists, emboldening them to take risks and to push forward the conversation between art and technology. For the inaugural VH AWARD, three Korean artists were recognized for their contributions to this burgeoning world of creation. All three are blurring the lines between artistic innovation and technological advancement.

About the Works

Je Baak received the Grand Prix for "A Journey," an otherworldly meditation that feels both surreal and familiar. Baak’s video work takes place in a celestial landscape where forms such as the moon or a white flag are stretched beyond the horizon of realism. The setting is a foreign space, where the rules of earth no longer apply, but Baak’s gift is a sense of optimism—what could be scary is instead enchanting. "A Journey" is a sort of metaphor for life, allowing viewers to experience a world full of symbolic elements and situations from the perspective of a traveler on their life’s journey.

Finalist Sukjoon Jang’s "Flatcity" also plays with ideas of perception and place. Shot using a drone camera, the opening vista appears at first as a single aerial shot of an urban setting. Eventually, a grid emerges and the dozens of differing landscapes that have been sewn together become discreet as the camera zooms over barren parking lots and futuristic highrises, eventually settling on a small piece of land or a dark patch of highway. The sensation of so many moving elements is disorienting as one doubts their own eyes, but the effect is clear: as much as we build, there will always be space in between. By focusing on the small but still open spaces, Jang reminds viewers that limits are not always as they appear. Ends are also beginnings.

Sungjae Lee’s 10-channel digital painting "Avyaktra" similarly works within a split screen. Here, ten separate rectangles placed in a horizontal row each contain an image—some are biomorphic and others feel more like lights or tunnels teetering between enabling and hindering vision. The images fade, shift, disappear and reappear in different places while a soundtrack of moving water and nighttime animals gives a sense of being in nature at night, your ears attuned to any slightly cracking branch or rustle in the distance—not necessarily because you are uneasy, but perhaps. Lee’s ability to make us aware of the subtleties our senses often overlook heightens perception all around and forces us to ask what else we are missing.

About the Program


VH AWARD is Asia’s leading award platform that aims to support emerging media artists from Asia who contextually engage with Asia and its futures. The annual program offers five finalists a residency program, grant, and opportunity to share their work with global audiences, then culminates in a Grand Prix recipient. Initiated in 2016, The VH AWARD began as a way to support Korean media artists, then expanded in 2021 to welcome all Asian artists working in audiovisual formats. Recent VH AWARD partners include Eyebeam in New York, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (Museum MACAN) in Jakarta, Indonesia, Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria, and Canada’s ELEKTRA Montreal.

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