[Dec 12] Ghost Komungobot

Ghost Komungobot is an interdisciplinary live interactive performance of electric komungo and komungobot (virtual robotic instrument) with visual media design. The work is conceived by Jin Hi Kim (performer/creator) in collaboration with Alex Noyes (interactive sound design) and Benton-C Bainbridge (visual media design) and lighting designer, Federico Restrepo. Ghost Komungobot is co-produced with CultureHub.

Date:  December 12, 2015


The Downstairs at La MaMa

66 East 4th Street

8:00PM / Performance

9:00PM / Artist Talkback hosted by Harvestworks

General Admission / $15

Artists Tickets / $5 (Online Only)

Student Tickets / $5 (Must Show ID at Door)

Buy Tickets here:

Ghost Komungobot is an hour interdisciplinary live interactive performance of electric komungo and komungobot (virtual robotic instrument) with visual media. The work is conceived by Jin Hi Kim (performer/creator) in collaboration with Alex Noyes (interactive sound design), Benton-C Bainbridge (visual media design) and lighting designer, Federico Restrepo.The work will be presented in December for CultureHub’s REFEST 2015, which is co-produced by Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center, NYC.

For over three decades Jin Hi Kim’s work has reflected her dual identity between ancient Korean and contemporary American culture through her indigenous instrument. Jin co-designed the world’s first electric komungo and has developed its system with sound designer Alex Noyes using MAX/MSP to create live interactive performance pieces for the instrument. This electric komungo represented a radical departure from traditional Asian instruments and became a precursor to subsequent instrument innovations throughout Asia. Jin and Alex are currently developing a new komungobot, an algorithmic virtual robotic instrument, which relies on new interactive computer programs and works in tandem with Kim’s current electric komungo. This on-going project is inspired to create a cross-cultural project utilizing advanced American technology and the ancient komungo resulting in a new performance instrument.

For Ghost Komungobot Kim will co-develop the robotic instrument, as well as composing for and performing with the instrument. The virtual komungobot generates sound, while visual media lets it be seen through floating projections of rapid light. Benton’s imagery generated from komungobot sound and data uses video, lasers and light to manifest the extraordinary, microscopic vibrations of komungo strings. In performance the electric komungo, komungobot and hovering light are all interconnected and interacting with each other. Jin uses a second computer for the komungobot, as it responds to her live electric komungo performance through a second MAX program. Alex’s role is to be the programmer and interface/interactivity designer for the real time performance of the two instruments.

Jin Hi Kim’s works challenges and reflects multicultural society and advanced art technology in American life. Jin created Digital Buddha (2007-2014) contrasting both the neurotic intensity of American life with Asian meditative practice. Challenging the duality of Asian mythology and American scientific exploration of the moon, she created Touching The Moons (2000). Ghost Komungobot is a reflection of new emerging aspects of American culture including robots, artificial intelligence, and explorations of multidimensional space in the universe.

The storyline structure of the work is predicated on the ancient Korean origination of the komungo. This myth held that a black crane (bird of sky) flew to the newly created 4th century instrument resulting in the name ‘black crane zither’. In this piece the black crane is expressed as the ‘ghost’ in the virtual rendition of the komungobot. The original mystical drama will evolve with a series of true experiences that Jin has encountered in recent years with other birds jatayu, kadoya and eagle during her touring with her komungo.

Jin HI Kim_Ghost Komungobot_Bleue Liverpool 2:2-600x600

  • BIOS

Jin Hi Kim is an internationally acclaimed innovative komungo (Korean 4th century fretted board zither) virtuoso and a Guggenheim Fellow in Music Composition. Kim has performed as a komungo soloist in her own compositions at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Freer Gallery of Art, Asia Society (NYC), Royal Festival Hall (London), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin) and around the world.

Kim was featured on PRI’s The World, Voice of America and BBC-Global Hit in recognition of her works that lead to a new direction incorporating a profound Asian cultural heritage with a balance of Eastern and Western aesthetics. She has received commissions from the American Composers Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and many others.

Kim also focused on working with advanced interactive technology interfaced with Asian traditional instruments. Kim’s widely acclaimed 60 minutes Digital Buddha, for Komungo/Electric Komungo with video mandala and digital images of extraordinary juxtapositions, fast cut swirling images of a deconstructed electric komungo, was performed at Metropolitan Museum of Art, Expo Zaragoza (Spain), Festival Salihara (Indonesia) and many other places.

Kim’s Touching The Moons, a 70 minutes multi-media lunar ritual, in which the electric komungo, Indian tabla, Korean kagok singer, and Indian kathak dancer were processed live with a computer-controlled MIDI systems and sensors resulting in interactive digital animation, won the Wolff Ebermann Prize at the International Theater Institute (Germany). The work was commissioned by The Kitchen (New York) with workshops at MassMoca and presentation at the Kennedy Center.

Kim’s autobiography Komungo Tango was published in Seoul, Korea. A retrospective interview about Kim’s major works was archived in Oral History of American Music at Yale University Library. An interview about her electric komungo was featured on MBC-TV in conjunction with Korean Traditional Craft Exhibition 2007 at United Nations.


Benton C Bainbridge is an American artist known for creating movies, installations, and live visual performances with custom digital, analog and optical systems of his own design. His early career focused on the live creation of electronic cinema in collaboration with other artists and anticipated today’s VJ collectives. Bainbridge’s aesthetic technique is characterized by extensive realtime manipulation analog and digital media. His work is presented in both art and entertainment spaces ranging from museums to stadiums. Working with custom systems of his own design, Bainbridge creates immersive environments, interactive installations, and optical/analog/digital time-based artworks.

Career highlights include video art and VJ’ing for two Beastie Boys world tours, analog video synthesizer FX for TV On The Radio’s “Staring at the Sun” music video, and Whitney Museum’s best-attended live event with video ensemble The Poool. His visual performance and media design have been seen around the world; current projects with Kaki King/Glowing Pictures “The Neck is a Bridge to the Body” and two collaborations with electric komungo virtuoso Jin Hi Kim, “Digital Buddha” and “Ghost Komungobot,” have toured cities throughout Europe, Asia and North America. A special performance of “Digital Buddha” was presented as part of the “Silla: Korea’s Golden Kingdom” exhibit at Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC).

Bainbridge’s work has been presented on 5 continents, including showings at Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center,

About Refest:

Refest is CultureHub’s annual festival celebrating work at the intersection of media, performance, and technology by artists from New York City and around the world. The mission of Refest is to make media art accessible by creating a shared space for media and performing artists to collaborate, experiment, and interact with audiences.

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