Chanee Choi is a transdisciplinary artist and currently serves as an assistant professor at the University of New Mexico in The Department of Film & Digital Arts. She has developed a ritualistic craft-based art practice that transcends the conservative and isolationist roots of traditional East Asian craftwork by focusing on a celebration of feminist theory and modern tech. Within this hybrid genre, she produces both embodied and virtual immersive experiences exploring the effect of immigration on issues of identity, and the synesthetic processes of corporeal-cognitive space.
Tell us a little about your background and your trajectory as an artist/ scholar
My artistic journey has been shaped by my background and personal experiences. Growing up in Korea, I was inspired by the rich cultural heritage and collective values that fostered a sense of unity and community. However, I also encountered unique challenges when it came to individual self-expression, particularly for women. Nevertheless, a significant turning point came when I discovered the immense power within me and the ancestral connections that served as a source of guidance and strength. To further explore and celebrate these aspects, I turned to meditation and art, using them as tools for self-discovery and personal growth. While I deeply appreciate the many aspects of Korean culture, I found it to be a source of inspiration and a platform for artistic exploration. However, at times, I felt a desire to expand beyond the traditional boundaries and explore new artistic possibilities. I sensed an innate connection between ceramics, embroidery, and digital artwork, envisioning a realm where these mediums could coexist and interact harmoniously. Motivated by this inner calling, I followed my intuition and embarked on a journey to experiment with the fusion of diverse artistic media. Settling in the United States, I began integrating my tangible creations into animation and video game design. Embracing an interdisciplinary approach allowed me to honor the interconnectedness of my work, drawing inspiration from both my Korean roots and my experiences as an immigrant artist. My artistic practice has evolved into a ritual of self-discovery, where I merge physical and virtual elements to embody and express my own psyche. By celebrating the cultural heritage of Korea and embracing feminist theory, I explore themes such as the intertwining of physical and cognitive spaces, the impact of memory, and the influence of immigration on personal identity.
What are some of your main influences?
As I live my life, I draw inspiration from everything I see, hear, and feel.
New Media is …….
New media, especially new media art, refers to the exploration of possibilities beyond the confines of traditional art forms, pushing the boundaries to present new forms of art while addressing various issues.
What is your typical day like?
On a typical day of teaching classes, I usually go to school early and prepare for the lessons before conducting them. On days when there are no classes, I usually wake up early in the morning and first sit in front of the computer to do various tasks and research. Whenever I have free time, I (mostly) go outside to visit cafes, restaurants, or cultural facilities with my friends. That’s mainly how I spend my days.
What are you working on now?
Currently, I am conducting research on controlling video games using brain sensors and brainstorming ideas for a performance installation live show that can be presented to the audience.
Do you have a collaborative idea that you want to get off the ground?
Yes, I am considering the possibility of collaboration. Since my current research project combines performance, video games, and engineering, I would like to engage and work with individuals who have extensive experience in each of these fields.
What is the most recent thing you’ve learned?
When it comes to what I have learned about life, it is that what is visible in the world is not everything. There are transcendental aspects that actually exist in this world. So it is important to handle all relationships in the world with kindness and to always stay strong. No matter how challenging the circumstances may be, it is crucial to handle them wisely.