CAA 2020 Recap: Laura Hyunjhee Kim

2020 Judson-Morrissey Fellows

Laura Hyunjhee Kim Presting at CAA 2020

Greetings from my artosphere to yours! My name is Laura Hyunjhee Kim, an earth-dweller, a living-human, a Korean-American multimedia artist. I’m super grateful to have received the 2020 Judson-Morrissey Excellence in New Media Art Award and to have been recognized for what I love doing. 

To give you a brief overview of what I do, I am a Ph.D. Candidate in Intermedia Art, Writing and Performance (IAWP) at the College of Media, Communication and Information (CMCI), University of Colorado Boulder. My work performs moments, often with an otherworldly sense of humor, that necessitate and embrace the complexities of language-ing. Thematically, my practice-based research projects examine the influences of consumer technologies on human and (non)human interaction and the feelosophical experiences of the body. Under the conceptual umbrellas of, what I have been calling, “The Living Lab,” my recent explorations strive to bring forth the materiality and physicality of the body as a means to surface the precarities of being immersed in a physio-digital culture that easily masks and/or erases the human-behind-the-screen. Along with collaborating with myself on Synthetic Empathic Intelligent Companion Artefacts (SEICA) Human Interaction Labs (2017 – 2020), I love collaborating with other thinkers and tinkerers through continuous conversations and thought-e-xchanges. To share a few that are ongoing, I am the co-founder of sharing turtle™ (with libi rose striegl, 2017 – ongoing), one of the core researchers at the Centre for Emotional Materiality (with Surabhi Saraf, M Eifler, Caroline Sinders, 2018 – ongoing), and the coauthor of Remixing Persona: An Imaginary Digital Media Object from the Onto-tales of the Digital Afterlife with Mark Amerika, published with Open Humanities Press (November, 2019).

College Arts Association (CAA) this year, which took place in windy-snowy Chicago, was filled with numerous thought-provoking conversations, panels and talks. My personal favorite was a session hosted by Leonardo Education and Art Forum titled Generative and Machine Creativity: Is AI in the Arts and Design Evolution of “Artistic Intelligence” or Rupture? because it not only featured research presentations from artists, scholars, and engineers who I have been following, including Christiane Paul, Meredith Tromble, and Ahmed Elgammal (the creator of the autonomous artist “AICAN”) but it also left me with more questions to ponder upon: So, where to from here? Thanks to Liat Berdugo and Byron Rich, I organized a session for the NMC at the CAA Media Lounge — in partnership with the Services to Artists (SAC). As it was my first time putting together an event within the contextual parameters of a conference, I was both nervous and excited to participate. I wanted to take the opportunity to position the space as a site for collaborative-thinking-in-the-making and one that addresses and expands the traditional forms of a conference presentation. With my interests in lecture-performances and blob-thinking, I invited new media artists Melanie Clemmons, Zak Loyd, and Ryan Wurst (who generously lent their time and creative energies!) to collaborate on this idea and contextually-shapeshift individual artistic practices to speak through an experimental form for sharing research interests. As a result, the wandering hybrid-lecture-performance and experimental-engagement-in-the-making titled Edge of Being came to be.

In collaboration with the audience in the space, we took our ideas out for a walk and drifted in and out of a simulated environment (an interactive virtual space created by Ryan Wurst that was projected on the screen and operated in real-time with a game controller) by addressing and embodying various corporeal and feelosophical experiences that resonate beyond the edges of the screen.

(Photo courtesy of Liat Berdugo, Farhad Bahram, and Steven Frost)