VOL. 2

Virtual Tour of the METAMORPHOSIS VOL.2 exhibition in Seoul

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What kind of individual or societal transformations will follow the global pandemic?

METAMORPHOSIS refers to the classic Book of Changes (I Ching) and proposes that today, one of the fundamental effects of constant change is to broaden our understanding of the relationship between humanity, nature, and technology. According to the Book of Changes, human society is in constant transformation, and everything is subject to change; yet at the same time there is a core that never changes. By understanding this core profoundly, it is therefore possible to foresee the future. HYUNDAI × ELEKTRA: METAMORPHOSIS searches for meaningful core patterns by revisiting this triangular relationship to encourage diverse discussions about humanity in an age of uncertainty. It explores the symbiosis between the material and the immaterial, and the physical and the virtual, with selected artworks that incorporate generative imagery, artificial intelligence, metamaterials, and speculative biomorphic creatures.

HYUNDAI × ELEKTRA: METAMORPHOSIS, a collaboration between Hyundai Motor Company and ELEKTRA in Seoul, is meant to offer unique cultural experiences to our respective communities. The current context of social distancing and travel restrictions compels us to experiment with new strategies that allow us to continue exhibiting artworks by remotely bringing together local and international artists. The invited artists, chosen from the previous and upcoming ELEKTRA International Digital Art Biennales, are based in three different continents and connected through digital technology. METAMORPHOSIS will also be shared through various online platforms to create a virtual experience and foster exchange between communities across the globe.

METAMORPHOSIS Vol.2 searches for meaningful core patterns by revisiting this triangular relationship to encourage diverse discussions about humanity in an age of uncertainty.

Co-curated by DooEun Choi, Art Director of Hyundai Motor Company and Alain Thibault, Artistic Director of ELEKTRA


Yunchul Kim

Chroma (cy452) (2019)

Chroma (cy452) (2019) by Yunchul Kim is a 15-meter-long installation suspended from the ceiling, made of acrylic, aluminum, polymer and LEDs, in the shape of a torus knot. Its 320 cells on the surface are generated by a gravity algorithm and irradiate an iridescent spectrum of chromatic changes that together present viewers with an alternative “mattereality”.

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Shinseungback Kimyonghun

Cloud Face
Real Time (2015)

Shinseungback Kimyonghun [KR] – Cloud Face, 2012

Humans see figures in clouds: animals, faces and even god. This kind of perception also appears in machine vision. Face-detection algorithms sometimes find faces where there are not any.

Cloud Face is a collection of cloud images that are recognized as human faces by AI. It is a result of AI’s vision error and they often look like faces to human eyes too. Humans, yet, know these are not actual faces. Humans rather imagine faces from the clouds. Here, the error of AI and the imagination of humans meet.

Shinseungback Kimyonghun [KR] – Cloud Face – Real Time, 2015

Commissioned by ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany.

This is the real time version of Cloud Face (2012) which are cloud images recognized as faces by AI. A camera continually takes pictures of the sky, and AI looks for faces in the pictures. The found faces get simultaneously shown on screen. In this exhibition, the artists install a camera in Montreal to collect faces from the sky of the city and present the cloud faces on monitors in the Hyundai Motorstudio in Seoul.

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Kiss, or Dual Monitors (2017)

In Kiss, or Dual Monitors,  two LCD monitors are hung from a ceiling, displaying faces of various people on the screen, and placed as people on the screen kiss. The work questions the relationship between emotional feeling and information devices.

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Herman Kolgen

LifeFORM (2020)

Commissioned by Paradise City – Incheon (KR)

Constraints and transformations go hand in hand in this world where human beings, caught between the infinitely large and the infinitely small, remain connected to everything. Ironically, the ongoing global pandemic triggered by covid-19 bitterly forces the entire human society to evoke this ignored axiom again, which becomes the inspirational igniter of this work. Based on this observation and the chain reactions imposed on us by this context, LifeFORM explores the “humble position” we occupy between the visible and the invisible, defined by our interdependence on all forms of life. Thus, subjected to both biological and genetic random mutations, to temporal and geographical conditions, our species has no choice to metamorphose and innovate.

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teamVOID & Youngkak Cho

Over the Air (2018)

Over the Air (2018) by teamVOID and Youngkak Cho is a performance installation work comprising two robot arms and a cubic box connecting them. The robot arms interpret data on the world’s air quality index and reconstruct the information into drawing and sound on the cubic box. The performance symbolizes the correlation between future industries and environmental pollution as well as different aspects of data interpretation.

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Adad Hannah

Social Distancing Portraits (2020)

On March 14, 2020, while the coronavirus pandemic continued to grip the world, Adad Hannah began his Social Distancing Portraits. A compilation of short, unedited video portraits of the people he encountered on the street, the portraits include a diverse range of individuals, families, friends, shopkeepers, students, protestors, healthcare workers, and even those recorded in their homes, all using a long lens from a distance of at least 5 metres. While mostly shot on the streets in his neighbourhood in Burnaby, a suburb of Vancouver, and largely containing images of strangers from afar, these works are very much portraits—intimate, unwavering, and direct.

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Refik Anadol

Space Dreams / Urban Dreams / Nature Dreams (2020)

Space Dreams transforms a vast data set of 1.2 million images captured from the International Space Stations (ISS), along with additional satellite images of Earth's topology, into a dynamic data painting. Each version of the machine’s dream sequences is derived from a different generative adversarial network (GAN) latent walk, exploring artificial intelligence’s capacity to reach its own subconscious and offering an avant-garde form of cartographic aesthetics.

In Urban Dreams, Anadol offers new insights into the representational possibilities emerging from the intersection of advanced technology, urban memory, and contemporary art. The work uses over 100 million images from the cities of New York and Berlin, focusing specifically on typical public spaces. The content is used to train a Style GAN2 to identify and learn patterns hidden in urban scenery, showcasing how the elusive process of memory retrieval transforms into data collections.

Nature Dreams is a series of synesthetic reality experiments based on Style GAN 2 algorithms, utilizing over 69 million images of National Parks, Iceland, and other natural wonders to train a generative model for the machine to dream about the most mesmerizing features of our Mother Nature. This transformation of the data collection becomes not just a means of visualizing information, but also a transmutation of our desire for experiencing nature into a poetic visual.

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