Intervention, Misalignment

Min-ha Yang

Intervention, Misalignment is a site specific installation by new media artist Min-Ha Yang, which has been presented for the 2013 inaugural of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) in Seoul.

The installation a reflects the changing history of its on-site architecture of the MMCA, which previously housed many important institutions of Korean history: originally it was the Sogyeokseo (Joseon Dynasty government office in charge of Taoist rituals), then Jongchinbu (Office of the Royal Genealogy of the Joseon Dynasty), and later it served as the National Army Hospital.

Min-ha Yang transforms the diversified geographical and historical context of the MMCA site as his initial inspiration for the installation, to portray its associated conflicts, as they are characteristic for the city of Seoul as Yang describes it.

Yang’s original idea to represent the layered history of the museum site through a textually based visualization had been corrupted since his research was challenged by the caesurae of the MMCA, as the existing public records of the building have been altered or censored, which therefore have not been a reliable source. Hence, Yang decided to choose layered patterns to visualise different starting points, that interfere with each other and come together at some point. As the installation is supposed to not only represent its interventional character with the history of the buidling, but with the present as well, Yang structured it to be interactive with the audience as well.

Using motion vector fields, networks and records, the installation is responsive to the movement of the viewer. Two infrared cameras track and record the movement in space which are translated by a computer in order to produce physical motion vector fields. These fields automatically generate the projected pattern of flowing linear structures, which are also saved by the computer as XML code. In addition, the input data is translated into digital numbers, which are transmitted to LED elements on the 7m wall.

The multilayered installation aims to contextualise and reflect the distinct and severed historical episodes of its accommodating architecture and – in a larger picture -, of its cultural environment, by visualizing how human action influences and affects its surroundings, which is represented by linearity and merging of individual strands. By visualizing a linkage of its repeated caesura, represented by the abstract lines, Yang exemplifies its symbolical value apart from being a single syndrome, but a historically based, cultural phenomenon in Seoul.