JT Jonna Tapanainen
KC Kyungwoo Chun
JT: Kansainvälinen nykytaidetapahtuma Helsinki Biennaali järjestetään tänä kesänä Helsingin Vallisaaressa. Tässä podcast-sarjassa keskustellaan tapahtuman merkityksestä sekä siitä, millaisia taide-elämyksiä on luvassa. Minä olen toimittaja Jonna Tapanainen. Helsinki Biennaaliin on kutsuttu 40 taiteilijaa ja taiteilijaryhmää. Yksi heistä on eteläkorealainen Kyungwoo Chun. Kyungwoo Chun tuli kansainvälisesti tunnetuksi taiteilijaksi alun perin valokuvamuotokuvillaan mutta nykyisin valokuvauksen rinnalle on tullut performanssit ja osallistavat taideteokset. Kyungwoo Chunin teosten kohtaamisten ytimessä on empatia ja yhteyden solmiminen.
Myös Vallisaaren teokset rakentuvat yhdessä helsinki Biennaalin kävijöiden kanssa kesän aikana.
Kyungwoo Chunilta on esillä kaksi teosta, Lintujen kuuntelija ja Saaren saaret. Vallisaaresta inspirtoitunut Lintujen kuuntelija rohkaisee kuuntelemaan, olemaan läsnä. Saaren saaret taas kehottaa puhumaan, kertomaan.
Pyysin Soulissa työskentelevää Kyungwoo Chunia kertomaan ensin, mitä mieltä hän on Helsinki Biennaalin tapahtumapaikasta.
KC: ..Vallisaari it’s a very, of course very special place because of this historical context, the background, but as an exhibition site it’s of course exciting place, and especially the nature, the condition of nature is a quite mixed feeling. Certain part is really (almost) [0:00:23.7] untouched, (–) you can see, something (remained), the military (-), architecture, so yes. Especially (-), this is, I have kind of impression that it’s (kinds of gone) (people are gone) in which we are (–), so we are all in the same stage like that.
JT: Yes, everything was postponed for a year, but did your works change during that time, did your thoughts about them change?
KC: Yes, we are now working on (this) [0:00:58.4] because I need people, so my work is, it’s a kind of participatory work, in which invite site visitors and then, (not possible) if I don’t have people and then we are waiting for the (-) but we have started production and participation (process) so I can just hope, as far as we have people, so we’ll manage.
KC: So it’s a kind of unpredictable work, (while I’m) [0:01:34.2], but I never have experienced that kinds of problem [laughs].
JT: Yes, this is something we experience first time in many ways [laughs]. Yeah.
JT: So let’s talk about the works for the Helsinki Biennial, there are two from you Bird Listener and Islands of Island, could you first tell were these pieces something or work something that you had already cultivated in your mind somehow before coming to Vallisaari or was this, was these ideas born in the site?
KC: I would say both to be precise. So I’m keeping always some ideas, (it’s not yet born) [0:02:14.6]. They’re (inspired by my daily life) experiences, but the thought and emotions (-) like (powder in my, in me), seem to have found the right time and shape, with the new (inspiration) of Vallisaari. So one piece is to (more) strongly inspired from my experience, Vallisaari. Then the other one is similar to other works, but it’s very much (-) [0:02:49.0] (–) but also (remain) (-).
JT: Yeah. Could you first tell us about the work Bird Listener?
KC: Bird Listener, it’s a, yes I was actually very fascinated by the birds in Vallisaari. So I want to see, but it was almost not possible to because they were (as a) silhouette visible, flying so quickly from tree to tree. And then it’s a kinds of, work which the site visitors are invited to listen the birds singing. The typical bird (–) [0:03:30.1] living in this area are coming and travelling, and then they have to imagine how they look like, the participants are doing (kinds of) role of listener, actually listening to the nature, their own way, imagination, they have to (-) something from their own, so I don’t how much I should say [laughs], because people shouldn’t prepare too much.
KS: So, this should be done spontaneously, but (-) [0:04:05.3] people will be asked to draw the bird based on their sounds. So there will be (five) sound installation in the room, (but) there will be (eight) (-) from them, they can, birds singing, (–) bird, so they have imagine how they look like. At the same time they have to think about someone who is (–) (listening voice), (–) with the name of this (concrete person) and bird silhouette, will be (remained), (–) after their participations. Everyone who is participating will (remain) [0:04:44.7] their drawing, a name. But this drawing will be installed on (–) the next (-), one by one. It’s a kind of growing (work). Actually both of our works are growing (-) during the exhibition.
JT: Exactly. It’s a wonderful way to invite people to be present and to listen. Is this something listening in this time of the world something important that you want to stress as an artist?
KC: Yes, so there are two works, (in this biennial) [0:05:22.0] so one is (as a) listener, the other one is (as a speaker). So this part is a listener. So both works are active participation of site visitors as listener or speaker. So the works are related, the performance and growing installations to make visible the process of transforming people’s imagination (-) [0:05:53.9]. It is from their relationship the island (-), the one is (–) bird, (–) they to think about someone in their life and they will asked (to write a letter to them) and then this letter will remain as a (bundle) with the extra material from the island, so like soil, branches et cetera. So it’s temporary installation, so in which anybody that come to participate, then there will be (–) [0:06:38.1] as a small island, so that’s why it’s a plural, Islands of Island. The bundles are actually in Korea, in the way of wrapping a bundle is Korean (is like always some unexpected) (–) gift. So there’s this very simple way (–) people will do like this.
KC: But the letter (–) not readable.
JT: Yeah, it sounds wonderful. I’m..
KC: Yeah, I hope you too participate with (your people) [0:07:11.8 laughs].
JT: I most definitely, because it’s a wonderful way how you encourage people to have dialogue with each other, but maybe also listen to themselves. Could you tell more about this, why is this so central for you and your work?
KC: Well, actually I started as a photographer, which is my first (medium), so the beginning I was looking for kinds of inevitable (visions) [0:07:42.7] for my work through (-) photography. And then I gradually (–) (into action). They always take place in encountering a person. I initiate (an unusual) situation, people (–) so, the sympathy that occurs between me and subject and the dialogue that takes place between the subject (that creates) always (small or big conflict) [0:08:14.1], and I think this is, (–) so yeah, so it became very natural element. I believe that the value of human come from the true (–) that’s why there’s always a kind of empathy consciously or unconsciously.
JT: Do you think that you know these encounters with people through your work and you know sharing time together, do you feel like this can encourage people connecting with each other?
KC: That’s a good question. Because we are nowadays (not sure) [0:08:52.3] what is means connecting (each other), but we are I think somehow related (to other people). This is actually the of way of actually recognizing (ourselves), but it is very much (-) from (–), it’s not really connected or related actually. So this is, yeah I just try to make initiate a situation, so (–) [0:09:31.5] recognize (–), so then we can (see who we are), because we don’t know (well actually).
JT: Yeah, like you said, you gained your international recognition through your photographs, but for the last maybe twenty years this performance or participatory situation have risen parallel to photography and your work, and I was wondering, how does it feel as an artist to not be in control of your artwork, this is something that you create these possibilities and you never know what happens. Is it..?
KC: [0:10:09.9 laughs]
JT: Was it easy? I mean after being a photographer, where you can really, you know finish your work?
KC: [laughs] Yeah, I actually I love this, how do I say, unstable or unpredictable conditions. If you do work with photography its very much (result-focused) medium, pressing the shutter button (–) maybe more than (90) percent in conventional way of photography, but I’ve been trying to be free from that process as well, to be free from this decision by (–) [0:10:44.8].
KS: So I do understand my role as an initiator, (–) creation, also because I’m not maybe really talented artist (-) (handcraft), but I’m more interested in using temporary (experience possible), so in this way I can (bond) something new, beyond the limit, (-), (knowledge prejudice, and maybe above all (feel) [0:11:16.9] (–), (-). Yeah, I’m happy to be (initiator), it makes me more free of course. That I don’t need to decide everything, but even the same work, same concept, but different people is always different.
KC: Even with same person we are next day different, we are a little bit changed [0:11:37.8 laughs].
JT: For the final question I just wanted to ask, there are many biennials in the world, hundreds of them and I was wondering how do you feel, is there something that sets Helsinki Biennial in your mind from the other biennials or as an art event itself?
KC: Oh, yeah.
JT: How do you feel about participating in this biennial?
KC: Actually I’m not a big fan of big art festivals, so called big art festivals. (I felt) [0:12:11.5] that the Helsinki Biennial gives (me) freedom. Because what I like that there’s no general theme. I don’t (-) think about. But (this show) this island, says everything. So I didn’t have (the impression) (the creator is trying) to (-) general topic or theme, but if you see if you face this site, so I think (come) more natural (-), especially what is remaining after the big biennial, I was trying to (–) [0:12:50.3] site, (–) after the (festival).
KS: I said it’s like huge (–) (we’re) (on), on the stage like (–). Yes, I feel actually quite free.