The 3rd  VH AWARD

2019
VH AWARD
A still from the winning work by Dongjoo Seo, A Thousand Horizons

A still from the winning work by Dongjoo Seo, A Thousand Horizons

Provided by HYUNDAI MOTOR GROUP VH AWARD

About the Works

Disorientation can be confusing, but also revelatory. Details always present but never before noticed become apparent. Reality expands. Truth shifts. The new technologies often con...

Disorientation can be confusing, but also revelatory. Details always present but never before noticed become apparent. Reality expands. Truth shifts. The new technologies often confound in this way. Artlab explores the contradictions and clarifications inherent to how we understand new technologies.

The VH AWARD expands the conversation around these worlds by recognizing artists experimenting with and working on the horizons of audiovisual creation. This year’s finalists and Grand Prix winner play with disorientation, subtly subverting expectations and giving way to new questions and realities.

Dongjoo Seo’s A Thousand Horizons, for which he was awarded the VH AWARD Grand Prix, uses CG to transform books into both source material and subject matter for Seo’s meditations on physical existence. The video opens with a screen split horizontally across the middle. Colors and textures change, while voices whisper urgently as the sound of turning pages hints at what is happening. One of the final scenes is a blur of letters. Possibly there are words as well, but Seo doesn’t offer enough time to read them. The point is not to comprehend, but to know there is something you missed. Seo’s ability to take something as commonplace as a book and make it feel foreign and unknown is a reminder that there is always more than one way to see something and oftentimes the things we see the most are the ones we forget to actually look at.

In Highway like A Shooting Star, the work of finalist Youngkak Cho, viewers see a city route—created via an AI machine-learning algorithm—from the perspective of someone looking up from a car window. Treetops, bridges, and billboards float past, then quickly melt into a neon melange. A narrator speaks throughout, but the language keeps changing. The point, like with Seo’s work, is not to understand but to recognize that you do not understand. Constantly moving through space, the way one does when watching Cho’s piece, is disorienting. There is no solid ground from which to survey the landscape. This is Cho’s intention. By removing the stabilizing force, Cho forces viewers to find it within themselves creating a new awareness of one’s self.

Chansook Choi, also a finalist, is interested in the ways memory—and its infamous unreliability—can work as a medium. Choi’s two-channel video Black Air is an abstract contemplation on displacement. Visuals of continuously-morphing landscapes are accompanied by a cryptic narration. Satellites appear and disappear. Choi leaves her viewers in a CG space without gravity. Boulders float freely, as does the mind. Choi’s work is an invitation for reflection, a space for considering one’s place within the landscape of the universe as well as the landscape of the mind.

Losing oneself is sometimes necessary to find the path forward, and often the most meaningful discoveries are forged out of confusion. This year’s VH AWARD winner and finalists crack open small spaces in the world right before us, revealing depths and visions that may have been there all along, unrealized and waiting.

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