Judson-Morrissey 2021 Fellow: Jonghong Park

Jonghong Park (he/ him) is an artist and designer based in Bremen. His work focuses on discovering, researching, and revealing inherent relational algorithms from nature, mundane artifacts, technical objects, and human behaviors, and exploring new media and digital technologies. He has worked as a designer in several studios in Seoul and is currently studying digital media at the University of the Arts Bremen in Germany.

Jonghong 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 worked as a graphic designer in South Korea for some years. At that time, I was constantly eager to study aesthetics, interactions, and philosophy, and finally went to study in Germany. I graduated from the University of the Arts Bremen with a Bachelor’s degree in Digital Media and am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Digital Media. My work mainly focuses on researching, uncovering and demonstrating the relationship between mundane artifacts, notions and phenomena. I consider relationality as a methodology that can define, characterize, differentiate, and identify inherent properties. Without the notion of relationship, everything that exists in the world, such as matter, notion, and history, cannot be recognized by humans. Just as matter and time coexist with each other, all relationships are interpreted as symbiotic relationships. Time is the relative amount of change in matter. Hence, the definition of a specific matter that exists in time changes according to its relationship. I only hope that I can continue to work on revealing the nature of things.

What are some of your main influences?

Poetic phrases that come to my mind instantly and curiosity about nature stimulate me. But most of the time, there are two paths to get the idea. The first are the trivial tools, artifacts, and machines surrounded with us. Technology as a categorized and structured nature always raises questions about the principle of operation. Knowing how a particular machine works, its purpose, what it senses and sends, we can define that machine. In other words, we can grasp the internal and external constituents of the machine, the relationship with external environmental factors and relationality within society. Also, things around us are always telling us something. They communicate with us both as intangible and tangible. We just embody it without knowing it. They are memories of our past, and they reveal notions outside of human perception. Artifacts and natural objects connect with me and evoke my little memories. Small personal digital experiences can also be a good subject for the next work.

The second are the philosophers. Especially, Whitehead and Simondon tell us how this world is made up and how we should look at it. When I look at things with their eyes, I feel as if they are communicating with us. I learn a lot from them and most of my work is leaning on their thoughts.

What are you working on now?

Currently, I am studying and working on the notion of repetitiveness, recursivity, and contingency. In this project, balloons, air and adhesive tape are used as materials. This is an attempt to define recursivity and contingency through the relationship between two objects with contrasting properties. This is therefore an attempt to define and demonstrate the coincidence in iteration as a recursive algorithm.

The stretching properties of synthetic latex and the expansion of air give each other energy to generate a specific shape. The shape of the balloon generated by interacting with the air is related to the adhesive tape. This pneumatic pressure, adhesion and elasticity interlock together to produce unpredictable shapes and wrinkles. This action occurs both inside and outside, so the balloon and tape act as both material and formwork.

The shape manifested in the two iterative movements of the expiratory-inspiratory movements and rotational movement is either a coincidence or an unexpected result. Such a coincidence can never happen alone. Coincidence manifests itself in relationships and systems. The consequences of any phenomena or events defined as coincidence are recursive results manifested as the accumulation of small changes in iterative motion. This creates new results and changes, that is to say, it promotes changes in the rules of the system.