60 Second, About the Temporality in the Short Moment

Savina Museum of Contemporary Art
Sep 10, 2016 3:47AM

Cross Design Lab <Time Machine> Motor, 3D printing, Micro Controller, LED, Speaker, Mixed Media. 110x110cm, 2016

Jaehyun Kang (Chief Curator, the Savina Museum of Contemporary Art)


The Savina Museum of Contemporary Art presents 60 Sec Art to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of its founding. This exhibition shows how mobile devices are embedded deeply in busy modern life and have changed our perspective and way of life. In only ten years, the smartphone became a must-have item, going beyond the means to make a simple phone call, and has impacted how we form personal and social networks. In addition, this technology allowed a new speed and efficiency, making it possible to work from anywhere, shop online, and effortlessly engage in leisure activities. Web-based content envelope busy, lonely people in brief, fast-moving, and ever-changing emotional episodes with a strong message. These passing pleasures are addictive. In this exhibition, 60 Sec Art, the modern phenomenon of short-lived pleasures and instant consumption are examined by the selected artists’ works and excerpts from mass media. The perception of units of time has changed along with technology, as people feel greater pressure to consume and create in shorter intervals due to our increased comfort with and desensitization to condensed media.  It is urgent to swipe and scroll as fast as possible. Internet memes, still and moving (Chalbang and Umchal in Korean), are modified and manipulated, leading to a mutated understanding of the true nature of underlying concepts. This new way of communication is concise to the point of misrepresentation.


The exhibiting artists focus on changes in the perception, sharing, and communication of information.  They also provoke audiences into rethinking the concept of time and social events in a fast society.  For example, one artist approaches the concept of temporality through a personal, sociological, and physical context, while another captures the phenomenon of the acquisition and proliferation of information by social media. Another artist asks fundamental questions about the characteristics of time with a transcendental perspective. Eight exhibiting artists’ works are as following: Ye Seung Lee shows Scaffold Scenery, a media art installation in a scaffolding structure. Fragmented online images are projected on the top and bottom of the installation. The images are appearing and disappearing repeatedly and overlap each other while also showing the image of audiences. While looking at the newly arranged imagery, audiences find themselves exploring numerous unknown stories. It is a reflection of us living in the flood of images and losing the meaning of individual images. These fragmented images can be also found in the work by Bang & Lee, Defective Pixel. On the wall of the exhibition space, unknown images are flickering every 0.16 second, tiring the viewer’s eyes. We find out that the image on the small monitor in the center of the exhibition space was transmitted from a camcorder to a projector. This signal chain mirrors the steps through which we receive information. The artist metaphorically shows the modern idea that information can be easily modified and diluted, and that a voluminous amount of data floats around the web and never disappears, like dust in the universe. Insane Park illuminates a similar phenomenon with a specific example. The installation work, Dying Like Jesus, follows the story of the Virginia Tech shooting incident and shows how the killer, Seunghee Cho, was worshipped as a hero and legend on the internet. Park shows how information on the internet has distorted the meaning of that action, exposing the distrust and anxiety embedded in our society. In the neon sign that reads “Welcome to Heaven”, the letter ‘L’ is flickering and changing the meaning of the sentence as it goes dark intermittently. The symbolic yellow color of the neon sign, which symbolized joy and delight in the past, is now the symbol of condolence in Korean society.


Sang Woo Kang uses a television commercial, the ongoing symbol of intensive time-compressed information, to describe modern society’s obsession with efficiency and multitasking. In the 20-second black and white commercial aired in 1974, Sun Wukong (the mythological Monkey King) and Jaya charmed viewers with strong images and cute voices. The Monkey King is known in the East to be an excellent multi-tasker and he can create clones of himself to delegate tasks. Don’t we all want this power? The artist extracted a fast-paced animation of Sun Wukong quickly moving his eyes while declaring sales results from the end of the commercial and made it into an interactive installation piece. When the viewer approaches, the eyes move. Garam Kim presents an ongoing experimental sound project incorporating comments found on the internet. These anonymous comments reflect the thoughts and opinions of the public on such issues as sexual harassment, government handling of the MERS epidemic, history textbook revisions, the Oxy company scandal, and the “nut rage” airline incident. Every month, Kim released a song using comments from political, economic, social, and cultural online news sites. Twenty-five songs are compiled for this exhibit.

Rae Sim, Kyungwhan Sohn, and Cross Design Lab remind us to be conscious of time in our daily lives. Rae Sim shows Yoongyu, a fictional character, who lives only during the exhibition period of 52 days. Through this character, Sim forces us into the moment, and makes us realize our mortality and the nature of memory. One day is twenty-four hours for us, however, Yoongyu’s day is 10,800 hours, 450 days. The audience meets the Yoongyu of today, whose day is filled with mundane episodes of life and aging. A hand-drawn animation, Yoongyu recalls the experience of meeting a friend who we have not seen for a long time and then suddenly realize how much time has gone by. His work makes us look back on our lives through Yoongyu’s condensed 52 days. Kyungwhan Sohn recasts the concept of real-time in modern communication in terms of the speed of light. Sohn uses an orrery[1] model and a projected real-time video showing the relative positions of the earth and moon in 1.3-second increments to help the viewer visualize the speed of light. In modern communication the delay caused by light travel time is like the blink of an eye. This physical experience of the speed of light is part of his larger goal of bringing scientific concepts into the visual realm.


Cross Design Lab at the Soongsil University presents Time Machine, a clock-based installation that uses a motor and light to create optical illusions that allow the viewer to visualize a new way of perceiving time. While the zoetrope[2]-like machine spins at high speed, the number on the machine increments from 0 to 99 with the sound of clock. It breaks the conventional metrics of time, like 60 seconds, 60 minutes, and 24 hours, and recasts the fixed time concept. The exhibition includes micro-short films, animations, webtoons, and social media-based poetry, which are created to be suitable for mobile devices. The current web trend toward mobile-friendliness favors short time-based media and condensed contents. The DOCENT group produces micro-short documentary films, and for this exhibition, sliced segments from these films into lenticular images as an analog representation of an animated GIF image. One hundred and twenty animations and movies in the range of 10 seconds to 10 minutes will be shown so that the audience, who is accustomed to watching such content casually on a small screen, will now focus on the larger visual and emotional experience in the exhibition space. Topics covered include personal and social experience, real and fictional temporality, and modern lifestyle. We hope that this exhibition offers an opportunity for audiences, who fight consistently to keep up with busy modern life, to think about the long lasting experience of a moment.



[1]An orrery is a mechanical model of the solar system that illustrates the relative positions and motions of the planets and moons

[2]A zoetrope is one of several pre-film animation devices that produce the illusion of motion by displaying a sequence of drawings or photographs showing progressive phases of that motion. The zoetrope consists of a cylinder with slits cut vertically in the sides. On the inner surface of the cylinder is a band with images from a set of sequenced pictures. As the cylinder spins, the user looks through the slits at the pictures across.

Savina Museum of Contemporary Art