<p>A contemplative Q&A with the Korean artist Minha Yang on his <i>Meditation</i> series.</p>
Meditation is media artist Minha Yang’s site-specific installation, which we first discovered at our Seoul event last month, where it transformed a gallery space into a sanctuary of contemplation and reflection. Three light-emitting spheres drew visitors into the space as calm, serene drones echoed around and hypnotic sapphire ripples responded to their movements.
Seeking to provide visitors with a respite from the visual and auditory distractions that incessantly bombard our daily urban lives, Yang’s Meditation series offers viewers a soothing environment that builds on interactions between humans and technology. The reflective sense of escape that it engenders allows viewers to influence their immediate audiovisual surroundings with nuanced, intentional movements.
We caught up with Yang as he prepares for Meditation’s debut at our New York Event this coming week.
The Creators Project: First of all, tell us a little about yourself. What do you do?
Minha Yang: I’m a media artist. For the most part, I do media art that’s “inside the white cube,” so to speak, as well as self-initiated and commercial design work. At present, I’m also a professor of Interactive Graphics at the Graduate School of Design at Seoul University.
Can you explain your installation from the Seoul event, Meditation 1109~? How does it provide an escape from the stimulations of the city?
The Meditation series is actually a meditation tool. The numerals following the title indicate the month and year of its installation, and the “~” represents the continuing existence of that space as a place for meditation from thereafter. Meditation is a symbolic body of combined localized religions and existing shamanistic things. It provides users with rest, but they also may experience restraint similar to that felt from religion.
What software and hardware did you use?
I had three objects with speakers, two motion sensor cameras, four infrared lights, a computer that included an Intel core i5 processor, an nvidia card and an audio amp for hardware. As for software, I used Visual C++, OpenGL and CG Shader for interactive graphics.
How do you think your work influences its surroundings?
I think of my work as making machines. If we consider machines—anything from tools to robots—on a grand scale, they are a means of survival, to a certain extent. I believe the efforts of technology will further perpetuate the city with serious influence.
Meditation is moving from one metropolitan city to another: Seoul to New York. Do you feel the reaction from your viewers will change? How do you see your work changing in different environments?
Meditation is on its fifth exhibition between Paris and Korea. According to viewers’ dispositions, ideologies and the specific site, I’ve discovered very different reactions. As the hardware and software change each time, because of the varying city contexts, I’ve observed very different reactions to the light emissions and the meditations. At the Seoul event, there were many viewers that became a bit shy in front of the light emitting spheres. But because New York seems to be so hectic, I don’t even think the spheres will be approached.
Anything in particular you are looking forward to at our New York event?
There are a lot of works and performances I have yet to see. I look forward to seeing all of those works. Also, as I’ve never been to New York, I have many expectations.