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What to Say?
by Jack Foran
On Sangjun Yoo's UB thesis exhibit at Big Orbit Gallery
Enough with irony in art. How much nicer when artists just say what they mean and mean what they say. Like artist Sangjun Yoo in his UB thesis exhibit on display briefly at Big Orbit. The exhibit was entitled I Have Nothing To Say About Anything At All.
Basically video, in about a half dozen or so elements. But you couldn’t make out what was in any of the videos—some impossibly problematic imagery—except in one case, where the imagery was clear and obvious enough, but what was it telling you? That wasn’t at all clear.
The clear imagery work was like a slide show of photos of tall vertical structures and natural items—usually from a perspective below, looking upward—like telephone poles, a transmission tower, trees, those tall, feathery-top reeds that colonize swamplands. The clear imagery piece included a headphones audio setup playing a string of disconnected snatches of radio audio, it sounded like, but nothing you could make any sense of—separated—each articulate bit—by a half second or so of pure static. Though different varieties of static. Different grades of sandpaper. Different background sporadic crackle.
A huge-scale video projection on a wall was visually a lot like the audio in the clear images piece. An extremely blurry depiction of you couldn’t tell what. Maybe a beach scene. Maybe sand and gravel and water. Nothing distinct. Nothing identifiable. After a while the possible beach scene morphed to a possible underwater scene. Maybe a coral bed. But you couldn’t say for sure. Coral is a guess.
Then a complex setup of facing television sets on opposite sides of the room—broadcasting unrecognizable black and white and undecipherable sound—and similarly facing video projectors, projecting dim patterns of lines or dots onto facing scrim curtains—one in front of each of the projectors—so that the lines or dots projected onto and through the first scrim, then more weakly onto and through the second, and finally—very slightly—on the walls behind and above the television sets and projectors.
Another piece—in two parts—was flat on the floor, or a few inches above the floor. Two video screens, a few feet apart, showing exactly similar and possibly in sync moving images of what looked like the mesh floor panels of an escalator.
Another setup, on another wall, consisted of a fluorescent lamp, shaded, between what looked like white Styrofoam squares, diamond-oriented.
What was it all all about? Maybe something about communication, but more as non-communication.
You scratch your head.
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