A SHORT INTRODUCTION OF MEDIACITY SEOUL

Since 2000, the ‘Seoul International Media Art Biennale’, also known as ‘Mediacity Seoul’ has been hosted by the city of Seoul and organized by Seoul Museum of Art(SeMA). Mediacity Seoul is one of the few international biennials with a focus on ‘media art(new media art)’. So far, it has been introducing experimental and cutting-edge interdisciplinary practices of new media art, developing cross-disciplinary discourses in relationships with contemporary science, philosophy, and new technology. Now reaching the 8th edition, the biennale aims to show a multitude of interests that captivates the world of contemporary art today. This aim orbits the similar trajectory of the notion of ‘Post-museum’, the vision of SeMA. In 2013, the newly appointed artistic director, Park Chan-kyong, will present ‘Pre-biennale’ projects and events in SeMA. Previous curators have included Sunjung Kim, Wonil Rhee, Misook Song, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Jeremy Millar, Barbara London and Yuko Hasegawa.

  • The 7th Seoul International Media Art

  • Theme

    Spell On You

  • Duration / Venues

    9 September, 2012–4 November, 2012 / Seoul Museum of Art and Sang-am Digital Media City

  • Director

    Jinsang Yoo

  • Curators

    Yukiko Shikata, Olof van Winden, Dooeun Choi

  • The theme of the 7th edition of Mediacity Seoul, ‘Spell On You’, proposes to imagine a vision for a new world and society in two ways. On the one hand, it will show how the recent production of new technology and social media is generating various renewals in social communication and exchange. On the other hand, it aims to reinterpret art and technology in an attempt to re-envision our future, and find alternative ways of living. The exhibition intends to highlight the notion of a ‘Spell’ to convey active and direct modes of communication. It is hope that ‘Mediacity Seoul’ can bring an illuminating insight into the current dynamic shifts in contemporary art and technology. The exhibition was organized by four sub-themes, ‘Media Theatre: Everything Will Be Alight’ ‘Thousand Spells: On Transmigration of Unknown Friends’ ‘Crosstalking: Invisible But Hello’ ‘Patterns and Cloud: Getting To Know What The World Feels’.

  • Media City Seoul 2010 / The 6th Seoul International Media Art

  • Theme

    Trust

  • Duration / Venue

    7 September–17 November 2010 / Seoul Museum of Art, Gyenghuigung Annex of Seoul Museum of Art Seoul, Museum of History, Simpson Memorial Hall

  • Director

    Sunjung KIM

  • Curators

    Clara KIM, Nicolaus SCHAFHAUSEN, Fumihiko Sumitomo

  • The 2010 edition of Media City Seoul focused on various facets of media, and their abilities to impact our daily lives rather than on media art itself. With an ambitious objective to expand the scope of the biennale in a contemporary context, Media City Seoul critically revised other biennales that have taken place in the past. To take a step further, the curators changed the previous official name of media_city Seoul by removing the underscore between ‘media’ and ‘city’. Such renaming of ‘media _city seoul’ placed these terms on an equal footing, and reflected the curators’ critical interests to decipher a new meaning for the biennale, while offering a broader understanding of the media. In 2010, the exhibition was based on the theme of ‘Trust’, which investigated ‘human and social perceptions of the media’ and how they intertwine with the fabric of modern society.

  • The 5th Seoul International Media Art Biennale

  • Theme

    Turn and Widen

  • Duration / Venue

    12 Sep–5 Nov 2008 / Seoul Museum of Art, website

  • Director

    Ilho Park

  • Curators

    Maarten Bertheux, Raul Zamudio, Tohru Matsumoto, Andreas Broeckmann

  • The 5th Seoul International Media Art Biennale, under the theme “Turn and Widen,” highlighted the changes and expansion that the emergence and dissemination of media art have brought to contemporary art practice. In viewing how the differences between media art and traditional art are producing new experiences and characteristics in art, the exhibition took three key terms—Light, Communication, and Time—as reference points for a comprehensive interpretation of the exhibition’s program.

  • The 4th Seoul International Media Art Biennale

  • Theme

    Dual Realities

  • Duration / Venue

    18 Oct–10 Dec 2006 / Seoul Museum of Art, website

  • Director

    Wonil Rhee

  • Curators

    Yuko Hasegawa, Lev Manovich, Inris Mayer, Pi Li

  • The 4th biennale focused on the New Physicality that was developing as a response to the increasing interrelation of the physical and the virtual, a result of the advancements in internet and multimedia technologies. The exhibition analyzed the relationship of these distinct realities, their mutual interdependency, and the paradoxical situation of the virtual exerting significant influence over the physical. The exhibition approached the concept of New Physicality with an artistic language and exhibition structure that sublimated notions of positive and negative, the division and integration of cyberspace, and even healing through three subthemes, “Dual Realities: Encounter and Clash,” “Extension of Reality: Permeation of Experience and Play,” and “Competitive Realities: Seeking A New Relationship.”

  • The 3rd Seoul International Media Art Biennale

  • Theme

    Digital Homo Ludens (Game and Play)

  • Duration / Venue

    15 Dec 2004–6 Feb 2005 / Seoul Museum of Art, website

  • Director

    Jin Sup Yoon

  • Curators

    Johan Pijnappel, Liz Hughes, Hans D. Christ, Tilman Baumgaertel

  • With the theme “Digital Homo Ludens (Game and Play),” the 3rd Seoul International Media Art Biennale took its inspiration from the changes in game and play—namely, the internet and digital interfaces—that were quickly and permanently altering the status quo worldwide. Using art as a means to investigate these changes and examine their results, the exhibition based its inquiry in the lives of individuals in which games naturally became parts, the economic influence of the game industry, and the sociocultural messages embedded in game and play, all uncovered through media art.

  • The 2nd Seoul International Media Art Biennale

  • Theme

    Lunar’s Flow

  • Duration / Venue

    26 Sep–24 Nov 2002 / Seoul Museum of Art

  • Director

    Wonil Rhee

  • Curators

    Michael Cohen, Marie de Brugerolle, Gregor Jansen Kim Machan, Gunalan Nadarajan, Huang Du, Azuyama Takashi

  • “Lunar’s Flow” was the theme for the 2nd biennale, which explored the new sublime as a metaphor for the cyber sublime of the moon and all the utopian fantasies nurtured by the human mind imagined to exist there. Along with sub-themes like “Digital Sublime,” “Cyber Mind,” “Luna’s Children,” and “Luna Nova,” the exhibition framed media not as means of “conquest” but as a tool for restoring romantic feelings long forgotten by human beings. Through this thematic approach, the 2nd Seoul International Media Art Biennale introduced a new model for the biennale format.

  • The 1st Seoul International Media Art Biennale

  • Theme

    City: between 0 and 1

  • Duration / Venue

    2 Sep–15 Nov 2000 / Seoul Museum of Art and 13 subway stations

  • Director

    Misook Song

  • Curators

    Barbara London, Jeremy Millar, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Byong Hak Ryu

  • The 1st Seoul International Media Art Biennale took the name “City: between 0 and 1,” embracing the burgeoning digital revolution that was redrawing—and in fact erasing—the boundary between time and space. Investigating the Korean capital city’s emergence as an intermediary and hub of networking, exhibitions were presented at a number of museums and public spaces in Seoul. Accompanying the biennial’s binary code-inspired them were many sub-themes, such as “media art 2000,” “city vision / club city,” and “subway project,” all of which reflected the desire to find a new direction through dynamic communication between the analog and the digital.