Judson-Morrissey 2021 Fellow: Chanee Choi

Chanee Choi 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.

Chanee is a transdisciplinary artist. She is originally from South Korea and now lives, works, and studies in Seattle, Washington. She earned her BFA in Craft Design from Dongduk Women’s University in 2013 and MFA in Fiber and Material Studies from the Art Institute of Chicago in 2016. Choi is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Art and Technology at DXARTS at the University of Washington. Her projects and exhibitions have been shown domestically and internationally, New York, Chicago, Covington (KY), Seattle, Los Angeles, Hongkong, Taipei, Berlin, Helsinki, and Seoul.

Chanee was a recipient of a 2021 Judson-Morrissey Excellence in New Media Award.

Tell us a little about your background and your trajectory as an artist/ scholar.

I was trained to make traditional Korean embroidery pieces, and eventually, it felt natural to blend this technique and its aesthetic principles with newer technologies, such as neon, video games, and E-textiles. I love traditional crafts but it was exciting to distance myself from the repressive patriarchal social expectations associated with them. I find that the 3D design process and game programming both calls on a skill set similar to traditional handicrafts. The small repetitive movements of my hands as I make 3D environments and art games feel very similar to the motions of weaving and embroidering a small piece of fabric. I feel at home in this work, rooted in craft, but I love how energetic, expansive, and wild the results can be. I want to immerse the audience’s mind and body in interactive installations that wash them into a more open state of being.

My artwork has combined East Asian traditional crafts and new media, forming a hybrid genre focused on immersive experiences. My research employs Orientalist aesthetics while exploring the specific dynamics of hierarchical social structures through a feminist lens. I research fashion-tech design and human-computer interactions to create interactive installations that immerse the audience both in mind and body, as in my previous projects Polaris(2019), and Loop Series(2016). Pandemic(2020-2021) was my first foray into the field of 3D game design. In my upcoming art project Remembrance(2021-2022) I will focus on Electroencephalography (EEG) and dementia.

What are some of your main influences?

My work has been shaped by individuals, history, culture, my studies, and my life, but the main influence has always come from the question ‘Why?’

What are you working on now?

I am developing my ArtGame project “Pandemic” (2021), and started researching “Remembrance”(2021-2022), an AI virtual reality animation addressing the poetics of a mind as it is dying of dementia.