CURATOR: CHOI DOO EUN
The work of artist Choe U-Ram is about creating new forms of life and re-imagining the flow of life. His work revisits the boundaries between vitalism and mechanism, between mysticism and science, and between subjectivity and objectivity. He started his practice by creating ‘mechanical creatures’ that possessed lifelike movements. Generally, these creatures were offered names by the artist that derive from nature or the materials that resemble the hybrid creature along with the name of the artist himself. The artist then imbued these vital machines with histories and myths, so that they may have a past, present and future as all other living creatures do. For example, Jet Hiatus (2003) is based on an imagined story of the discovery of an inorganic creature which was mutated from a microscopic machine parasitic on a gas turbine engine in a desert. In another work, Lumen Vermis (2006), the urban space and the electrical grid become the foundations for a new form of animated life. In this piece, the creature looks like a street light attaching itself to the actual street lights; disguised to steal electric current, and moving from one lamp to another, tracing the nodes of the electrical network just as human beings in the digital age are constantly moving through digital networks. Vitalized by the stories, these mechanical creatures transform the boundaries between different bodies in our world, rethinking the relations of interiority and exteriority, self and environment, and machine and organism. These are the “anima machines”. Later, these anima machines were carefully situated to have an inter-relational behavior in the community. Una Luminos Portentum (2009), for example, share information and communicate each other to build a collective intelligence for survival and evolution.