Artist Statement

I am an interdisciplinary artist who works with living and digital media. Founded upon interspecies collaboration, my practice is deeply research based and informed by backgrounds in the disciplines of biological science, new media, and fine art. As a creative practitioner that works with biological and technological media, I grapple with what it means to have an interdisciplinary practice that engages art and biology and with whether disciplinary distinctions are of value. On the one hand, I believe that the methodologies of art and science possess incredible potential to catalyze each other; certainly, I feel my work is most successful when both inform it. However, I do not feel that the interdisciplinary nature of my practice need be the conceptual focus of the work. As with most creative practitioners, I am engaged with concerns that both encompass and extend beyond the qualities of the media that I work with. While grounded in both political and formal concerns, the trajectory of my practice has recently drawn closer to the personal. I’m presently invested in considering my own history through the framework of living media and fostering similar opportunities for the audience.

Usually taking the form of installations that depend upon living elements, my work exists in undeniable dialog with the traditions of bioart and biodesign. Indeed, I have been informed and inspired by a broad range of work in these genres. Nonetheless, I have come to espouse certain oppositional stances in relation to these disciplines and their precedences. These distinctions are productive and central to my practice. Paramount among them is the tenet that the organisms I work with are to be respected and nurtured - rather than approaching my collaborators as material that happen to be alive, I am committed to understanding the biological systems, dynamics, and processes that they engender as the medium for art making.

My primary interest is in exploring how choreographed microecologies can embody emotional and social dynamics. More specifically, my practice has become increasingly concerned with my personal narrative as a gay, Korean-American man estranged from family for the greater part of adulthood. Although I did not anticipated this shift in focus over the past few years, perhaps it was inevitable. Regardless, I discovered within myself a need to reexamine elements of my identity that I have long compartmentalized. In response, my artwork has come to serve as attempts to reconcile these interdependent facets: ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, familial disconnect, cultural divide, otherness, and self-perception. I have drawn from defining firsthand experiences, as well as the broader societal landscapes that they occupy. Along the way, I have come to view introspection and catharsis as progressions generally beyond conscious control; similarly, I admire living organisms and systems as fundamentally intractable and self-determined. In embracing these qualities in both my process and chosen medium, I am also compelled to encourage viewers in their own interpretations, allowing for unique resonances with each individual.