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《You Start It》 by Blast Theory
Period/ 2017.11.23(Thu) ~ 2018.03.04(Sun)
Venue/ Nam June Paik Art Center
“Nam June Paik Art Center Prize Winner’s Exhibition UK’s Media Artist Group, Blast Theory’s first solo exhibition in Korea”

백남준아트센터 국제예술상 수상작가전 블라스트 씨어리 《당신이 시작하라》 웹페이지배너 이미지입니다
■ Overview
Exhibition Title
《You Start It》
23 November, 2017 – 4 March, 2018
Nam June Paik Art Center 2F
23 November, 2017 5 pm
[Artist Talk] 23 November, 2017 3 pm
Curated by
Sooyoung Lee
Hosted and
Organized by
백남준아트센터 로고 이미지입니다 경기문화재단 로고 이미지입니다
Supported by
영국문화원 로고 입니다 LF로고 입니다
Sponsored by
매일우업 로고 이미지 입니다 배혜정도가 로고 이미지입니다페리어 로고 이미지입니다
■ Invitation
※ This event is part of the UK/Korea 2017-18 official programmes.
UK/Korea 2017-18 presents a year-long cultural programme that places particular emphasis on emerging artists and reaching new audiences. British Council in Korea have chosen five themes which they feel are vital to a dynamic creative economy. These are City-to-City, Transformation and Innovation through Digital Technology, Diversity and Inclusion, Creative Entrepreneurship and Creative Learning. Throughout the year they share the UK’s innovation and excellence. They also develop creative practices by fostering new approaches and pushing boundaries through artistic collaborations between artists and arts organisations from both countries.
■ Blast Theory
Blast Theory, Image credit: Andrew Testa

Formed and led by Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr and Nick Tandavanitj, Blast Theory’s work explores interactivity and the social and political aspects of technology. The group is renowned internationally for its use of interactive media, creating groundbreaking new forms of performance and interactive art that mixes audiences across the internet, live performance and digital broadcasting. Blast Theory has shown work at the Venice Biennale, Sundance Film Festival, ICC in Tokyo, the Barbican and Tate Britain. Commissioners include Channel 4, the BBC and the Royal Opera House. Blast Theory’s first app – Karen – commissioned by National Theatre Wales and The Space was launched at Tribeca in 2015. The artists work closely with researchers and scientists and have collaborated with the Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Nottingham since 1997, co-authoring over 45 research papers. The artists teach and lecture internationally including at the Sorbonne, Stanford University and the Royal College of Art. They curated the Screen series for Live Culture at Tate Modern. The group has been nominated for four BAFTAs and won the Golden Nica at Prix Ars Electronica.
■ Nam June Paik Art Center Prize
The Nam June Paik Art Center Prize was established in 2009. Since its inception, the Prize has been awarded to artists and theorists whose works are very much in tune with Paik’s work amalgamating art and technology, pursuing new ways of communication, interacting with audiences, and fusing and conflating music, performance and visual art. The first Prize was awarded in 2009 to four artists, Seung-Taek Lee, Eun-Me Ahn, Ceal Floyer, and Robert Adrian X; philosopher and sociologist Bruno Latour won the 2010 Prize; the 2012 Prize went to artist Doug Aitken; and the winner of the 2014 Prize was Haroon Mirza.
■ 2016 Nam June Paik Art Center Prize Selection Procedure
The Nam June Paik Art Center is pleased to announce that ‘Blast Theory’ (UK, formed in 1991) was selected as the winner of the ‘2016 Nam June Paik Art Center Prize.’ Blast Theory has been internationally noted for their interactive works based on various media such as theater, radio, games, and the web. The Selection Committee considered Blast Theory as artists who investigate paths that no other artist has taken, and highly values their exploration of new boundaries, which matches the criteria of the Nam June Paik Art Center Prize. In addition, the winner is awarded 50,000 US Dollars.

For the Nam June Paik Art Center Prize, five Nominating Committee members propose two candidates respectively; a separate Selection Committee, which also comprises of five members, reviews the ten candidates and selects the final winner. The Selection Committee members were Bartomeu Marí (Director, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea), Jeffrey Shaw (Chair Professor of Media art, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong), Nicolas de Oliveira (Director of Research and Curatorial Projects – Montabonel & Partners, U.K.), Soh Yeong Roh (Director, Art Center Nabi, Korea) and Jinsuk Suh (Director, Nam June Paik Art Center, Korea)

The head of this year’s Selection Committee, Soh Yeong Roh, has remarked, “Blast Theory stands out in their wide-ranging usage of various media such as theater, internet, film, on-offline games, and recently, the field of data science. Since the mid 1990’s, the group followed the trajectory of the development of the media, with their acute and in-depth psychological analyses. I would call them the most contemporary media-poet of this age. Blast Theory puts emphasis on narrative itself rather than digging into the properties of the media. Those narratives are ordinary yet extremely British. They creatively engage old stories related to the ego, memory, and relationships with up-to-date media. I appreciate their commitment as well as their artistic spirit that they have shown for the last twenty years.” The winner, Blast Theory, has expressed, “We are delighted to be the recipients of the Nam June Paik Art Centre Prize (2016) – it feels fantastic to win this award for all the work we have made over the last twenty five years. It is an honour to be recognised in relation to Nam June Paik, whose pioneering work set the stage for much of the art work with technology which has followed and we accept this prize in the sure knowledge that we would not have made this work without so many fantastic people who have supported us and helped us along the way.”
■ Introduction of the Exhibition You Start It
Nam June Paik Art Center is pleased to present You Start It by the 2016 Nam June Paik Art Center Prize winner Blast Theory. The exhibition, titled ‘You Start It’ will feature new and recent works by Blast Theory and will run from 23 November 2017 till 4 March 2018. You Start It by Blast Theory, to be held for the first time in Korea, provides an integrating view of Blast Theory, exploring various media forms under the theme of the participation and engagement of the spectators.

The title of the exhibition, ‘You Start It’ is a categorical proposition that the works are begun by the spectators. Under this proposition the spectators intervene in the works with subjective and active state and exist as actors that sustain the works. Like a game in which players join as peers and no one knows who will win, Blast Theory calls the audiences out of a passive attitude and transforms them into equal participants within the works. This political and aesthetic composition is beyond a mere interrelationship between works and audiences. These relationships, looking-forward, move areas that are considered heavy public places, and construct fields in which conversations and plays with strangers are alive. In this huge playground, it is now your turn to start.

My Point Forward first presented in 2017 on commission by the Museum of London, meets Korean visitors at Nam June Paik Art Center in a new localized version. Featuring a series of short films shot in Korea and in the UK, the interactive installation invites visitors to explore a future of the cities and their places within it. Visitors’ soliloquies are recorded and become part of the work, building a portrait of the future that is personal, provocative and filled with hope. The imagination of the future finds a more concrete and extended form in 2097: We Made Ourselves Over. Taking you on a journey to the cusp of the next century, come into a world where consciousness is transferred from the dead to the living and cities are rebuilt overnight. In five short science fiction films, each accompanied by an interactive film for smart phones, the project explores the belief that everyone has the power to act and influence the future – and that perhaps anything is actually possible. The Thing I’ll Be Doing For The Rest Of My Life a commission by the Aichi Triennale in Nagoya, Japan in 2013, is a project in which a 30 tonne trawler is dragged out of the water and pushed onto a park. This labor and performance to lift a scrapped vessel represents the will of participation and solidarity of a crowd of people who fought against the catastrophic, irrevocable disaster. It is a metaphor for the Japan tsunami of 2011 and the wounds, and many hidden efforts to rebuild the communities destroyed by them. The audience’s participation plays a key role not only in these works but also in the other works.
■ Artworks
1) My Point Forward, 2017, media installation, Image credit: Blast Theory

This piece shows the landscapes of various places in the city. Each image revolves, with diverse voices describing the scene and revealing their thoughts. Audiences slowly look around the places where their lives are set up and think about the community and the future of the city, guided by the narration. Audiences will have an extremely private and meditative time and their monologue will be recorded and become a part of the work.
2) 2097: We Made Ourselves Over, 2017, 5 single channel videos, color, sound, 18min. total, Image credit: Blast Theory

It is now the year 2097, a future 80 years from now. The destiny of the community depends on three young girls. In this piece, consisting of 5 short films, the landscape of everyday lives is presented to us as if a picture of a day in the future described in a science fiction novel. This piece asks whether we will be able to have decision-making authority and resilience in terms of our use of technology in the future which is only vague in our imagination. You can download the mobile app. and think about the given questions watching the videos and leave your answers.
3) My One Demand, 2015, single channel video, color, sound, 1h 45min.,Image credit: Patrica Marcoccia and Oscar Tosso

The sun is setting. Just like time passes only once, a movie is screening for only one night. One person at a time, the cameras follow seven people walking in the city. Beginning from a baby in its mother’s arms, each person tells us about her/his unsatisfied life as she/he walks. The next person is older than the previous person who has told us her/his story, and it is getting darker and darker. This film was shown simultaneously as it was being filmed both to you in the movie theatre and to numerous audience members who were watching online. You were invited to send text messages to the narrator of the film, and your own story could be incorporated into the narrative.
4) Ulrike and Eamon Compliant, 2009, single channel video, color, sound, 5min., Image credit: Anne Brassier

This audience-participating piece was first presented in Venice Biennale in 2009. A cell phone rings and an order is given to choose between Ulrike or Eamon and this order influences your thought and behavior. When you receive the call, you are already transferred to an unknown place. You sit down for a moment and are asked a question, ‘What can you do for those around you?’ This piece makes you think about how far you may go to change the political reality of this world and to what extent you will negotiate here. Ulrike Meinhof co-founded the far-left terrorist group, Red Army Faction, known for violent terrorism in West Germany during the 60s. Eamon Collins was a passionate IRA member, but was murdered after having betrayed his colleagues.
5) I ’d Hide You, 2012, single channel video, color, sound, 5min., Image credit: RULER

The title of this piece reminds you of the game hide-and-seek. It consists of on-line games and live video streaming. Game players actually walk about the alleys of Manchester and film each other. The one who gets shot by another is dead. Simultaneously, those who are participating the game on-line can stream and watch the video in real-time. On-line and off-line, I talk with you and give you directions. I see the world through you, depend on you, and play with you. When someone comes near you
6) The Thing I’ll Be Doing For The Rest Of My Life, 2013, single channel video, color, sound, 11min., Image credit: YAMAGUCHI Takayuki

Things we cannot understand happen everywhere in the world. Against catastrophic, irrevocable disasters, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunami, we suddenly find ourselves helping and connecting with those around us. The Thing I’ll Be Doing For The Rest Of My Life shows a project to drag a trawler out of the water and into a park. The participation of people and their will to commit to the process is revealed to be not only labor but also a kind of performance. This is a metaphor for the efforts in the Japanese community to heal the trauma cause by the tsunami in 2011 and who restore the fishing community. Then what do you have to be doing for the rest of your life?
7) Jog Shuttler, 2013, VHS tapes, VHS players, sound mixer, Image credit: RULER

The VHS archive of Blast Theory contains more than 200 tapes from 1994 to 2003. The video tapes piled up here contain footage from Blast Theory’s past performances, rehearsals and media coverage. These tapes have been digitalized and edited in to short clips for Jog Shuttler. You can pick and choose tapes and put them in the player so that you can create your own choreography with sound. Also you can make your own video and sound mix, using fast forward, pause and rewind. The original purpose of this archive was to record and preserve, but your response to it can be a totally different one.
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