The Co-Evolution of the Art-Based System

I wondered what I was looking at. I came to a realization after concentrating on this piece. “Overman Exuviates” is not only a sculpture, but something to be worn. The majority of the viewers were probably as confused as I was looking at the piece; but, realistically, it is not too difficult to understand this art. The canvas-drawn with a pen-and a piece of wood-which looks like it was taken from bars of Hanok(korean traditional house)-are fixed with hinges. On top of a straight plane, there is a long piece of plywood and a string, bound together in a curve. Looking like an imaginary torture device in some ways, I would not be surprised if it was ranked as the most uncomfortable article of clothing ever created. This piece probably has a good shot at being incorporated into one of David Cronenberg’s movies.

The art of Artist Dehan Hka Son has two directions: towards the past and the future. On one side, it points towards abstract sculptures that proceed the brutal avant-garde period, which came before the modernistic art. This piece portrays the state in which the drawing of the canvas goes out of the plane and into space. On the other side, this present-time art fathoms the post-human and post-museum of the future. Hak Son studied media art and fashion design for his undergraduate degree. When he studied abroad, he fell in love with the methodology of exploring human bodies, which integrated his two majors. We can anticipate what the next steps were for his life. He became interested in the studies of robotics and media philosophy. The evolutionary psychology based on the principle of wearable robots, which has entered into a more practical era and the knowledge system of media philosophy, motivated him to realize a new image of art and humanity in this new era. His performance work, “Perfect Match”, is the product of his motivation. Starting with a narrative in which dancers wore wearable robots, the artist successfully transformed Laozi's idea of shamanism and Bergsong’s philosophy of creative evolution into theories.

Now that I think about it, it is surprisingly interesting. I was exploring the dual code of the social system and the theory of art to which the concept of co-evolution belonged, when Hak Son also began to dig deeper into the double-sidedness of the materialistic reality of co-evolution. In the time when the orders in chaos, which bring about critical points of formulating internal and external boundaries, are expressed in metabuses, the artist prefers old materials such as paper, canvas, and wood over digital. This natural preference brought forth the visual oneness through the combination of colors of white, ivory, beige and grey during the exhibition. In addition to “Overman Exuviates”, which was exhibited in Seongsan Art Hall, the second prototype of a wearable sculpture, “Through a Man”, was exhibited on the wall, as well as “Unsealed”, which was a series of exploratory art on the inside and outside of a human body. Since the work was still in its experimental stages, the finishing process of these works was omitted.

More improved works will be produced as they go through a developmental phase. Wearable sculptures, which have already shown aesthetic achievements, will receive further aids from mechanical engineers to develop their exoskeleton and new materials. This developmental phase also includes collaboration with oriental medicine specialists and psychologists, to apply the physical response mechanism, such as acupuncture points and transcendental meditation. The artist is considering creating videos of choreographed dancers wearing the prototypes. What would it look like? Would it be a completely new act? Or, would it be a sub-genre that subjugates the combination of technology and art? Regardless of the results, it is definitely not an exaggeration to call it a new attempt. Isn’t all art considered making a new attempt? I have paid close attention to the artist’s declaration of the integrated worldviews. Will Hak Son’s mixture of body and spirit, machine and body, art and technology, and outer and inner shell become more complicated in the future? Or will it be refined? For the past century, the new science has proven that the chaotic bizarreness of outer appearance can evolve into the predictable order.

(Gyu Hong Yoon, Art director at OPENSPACE BAE / Aesthetic Sociology)