Byungjun Kwon: This Is Me

SYDNEY. Wednesday 26 June 6.00PM – 7:30PM 

Byungjun Kwon (권 병준), This Is Me (이것이 나다)

Coinciding with the exhibition opening of The Invisible Hand, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art presents Korean musician and performance artist Byungjun Kwon’s (권 병준) ‘This Is Me’. 

Beginning with a single whistle, Byungjun Kwon’s This Is Me is an experimental electroacoustic improvisational performance involving multiple layers of reverberated and looped sounds accompanied by an interactive video programmed projection. Sonically comprising of sounds made by the artist orally and simple percussive bells, the piece is an exercise in the electronic manipulation of live recorded sound. Kwon’s performance is created concurrently with a piece of video recording and face recognition software developed by Junghoon Ha. The artist is seated at a table while a camera scans his face and others drawn on paper throughout the performance while the software recognises these images as base data for face mapping. As the piece progresses, several famous faces of actors, politicians and artists are mapped to Kwon’s face via a projector, erasing the artist as if wearing a mask. In contrast to the self-assured title, This Is Me reflects on the inherent anonymity of our current digital era where our personal identity can be endlessly manipulated to erase all traditional conceptions of self. A study of an identity crisis in real time, the work is meditative in concept with the artist adopting famous visages all while toying with the automated software. Faces such as George Bush, Marilyn Monroe and Nam June Paik are twisted and contorted at Kwon’s whim all while creating a symbiotic relationship between the artist, the camera, the software and projector, underscored by transformed man-made sounds. 

This Is Me was first performed on 10 August 2013 at Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburg for the 2013 Edinburgh International Festival and has since been performed at the Nam June Paik Art Centre, Gyeonggi, South Korea and Blockhaus DY10, Nantes, France (2015).

ABOUT THE ARTIST:

Byungjun Kwon (b. 1971, Seoul, South Korea, lives and works in Seoul) is a musician and performance artist and pioneering figure of South Korea’s underground music scene. Beginning his career in the early 1990s as a singer/songwriter, Kwon released seven albums prior to relocating to Amsterdam, The Netherlands to study sonology and work for STEIM as a hardware engineer, a centre for the research and development of new electronic musical instruments. Since returning to Korea in 2011 he has expanded his practice into contemporary performance art, composing and performing experimental audio-visual works. His prior work in rock music, dance music, original film soundtracks, theatre scores and fashion runway soundtracking form an unconventional basis for his approach to creating and manipulating sound to form complex pieces. Recent projects include This Is Me, Edinburg International Festival 2013, Edinburgh, Scotland (2013); Artificial Garden, Mediacity Seoul 2012: Spell on You, Seoul, South Korea (2012); and My Instrument My Sound, Culture Station Seoul 284, Seoul, South Korea (2012), alongside several electronic instrument projects at various workshops.

This performance is presented in partnership with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, The Korean Cultural Centre, Australia and the Kim Kim Gallery, and sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism with support from the Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange (KOFICE) as part of the Traveling Korean Arts Project ‘Take ( ) at face value’.

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