[July 16] Creative Play with Yehwan Song

The web is an experimental, diverse, and creative medium. Web artist Yehwan Song creates anti-friendly, unconventional, and independent websites, attempting to overturn general understandings of web design and subvert user behavior. At the workshop, Yehwan will install her artwork “Aquarium” and invite participants to interact with this piece. Aquarium is a pair of websites that are connected and communicate in real time. Yehwan will discuss how she creates different web–user interactions for Aquarium as well as the technical structure behind the artwork.

Saturday July 16 from 1- 3 pm. A 20 minute experience repeated 3 times with breaks. Walk-ins welcome.

Harvestworks Art and Technology Program, Building 10a Nolan Park Governors island

Today, web design is fully templatized and user friendly. The concept of “user friendliness” focuses on ease of use above all else. It asks as little as possible of the user. In order to achieve this, most websites use standardized design and interface conventions that do not require the user to learn how to use a new interface; instead, users repeat behaviors that they have been trained to perform. This automatic repetition of action causes people to lose their content awareness.

This workshop will be a space to explore and discuss non-templatized, anti-friendly, and experimental websites. During the workshop, Yehwan will install her artwork—Aquarium—and invite participants to interact with this piece. Aquarium consists of a pair of websites that are connected and communicate in real time. One website shows a deeper, side view of an aquarium, while the other shows the surface of the aquarium. When users touch the surface of one website, they will be able to see their virtual fingers on the other website, as though actually dipping their fingers in a deep aquarium.

While exploring the aquarium, Yehwan will talk about the purpose and technical structure of her artwork. Aquarium will attempt to convert a flat website into a physical, 3D space. Most web users passively and automatically accept flat, square devices (phones and tablets), consequently losing their ability to receive and process other information such as textures and architectural structures. Yehwan has been trying to break this framework and make the web a physical structure, thereby overcoming the flatness of the web. Aquarium is one such trial to meet this end. By using two iPads and constructing a cuboid structure, Aquarium is not limited to a flat surface but is presented on a two-perspective structure. Technically, two websites are connected using a real-time database to enable real-time communication. Real-time databases are used for websites containing data that is constantly changing. This allows any connected device to receives updated data within milliseconds.

•       BIOS

Yehwan Song (b. 1995, Seoul, Korea) is an artist and designer questioning standardised design and interface conventions that frame users’ behaviour and the templates that make them lose their content awareness and become accustomed to oversimplification. She constructs hard-to-use devices and interfaces in order to challenge the notion of user-friendliness and bring back users’ content awareness. Her anti-user-friendly interfaces create a situation in which users need to explore and learn before they can use the interfaces. Through this process, users are given an opportunity to become conscious again—in a sense, a form of self-care. She pursues diversity instead of consistency and respects variety in the web environment above efficiency. Her latest group exhibitions include the Typojanchi Biennale, Seoul, South Korea (2019); Virtual School Tour, Venice Biennale Korean Pavilion, Venice, Italy (2020); Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, Seoul, South Korea (2021); World on a Wire, New York, USA (2021) and To you: move toward where you are, Seoul, South Korea (2022) .

Youtube video

•       PRESS QUOTES

The web is an experimental, diverse, and creative medium. 

Yehwan has been trying to break this framework and make the web a physical structure, thereby overcoming the flatness of the web.

Aquarium will attempt to convert a flat website into a physical, 3D space.

Website : yhsong.com

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/yehwan.yen.song/

twitter : https://twitter.com/yehwanyensong

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