Korean Artist Imagines a Tomorrow of Sentient Machines

Arthur C. Clarke’s 2010: Odyssey Two predicted this was the year when humanity would make contact with an alien intelligence. But if you’ve seen the work of U-Ram Choe, you know the shocking truth: They’re already here.

The brainchild of the South Korean sculptor, “New Urban Species” is an art show disguised as a natural history exhibit from the future, and it’s one of the most engaging displays on tour this year.

U-Ram Choe builds art that comes from a not-to-distant-tomorrow, where organic life and mechanized objects have become one. His kinetic sculptures are not only creepy-fun marvels, they also create a compelling dialog about machine consciousness and the coming Singularity.

In his book Vehicles: Experiments in Synthetic Psychology, brain researcher Valentino Braitenberg demonstrates how human beings invest the increasingly complex behaviors of mechanical devices with a range of values and abilities including aggression, creative thinking, personality and free will, and how we project ourselves into these moving forms. Chou plays on this tendency so expertly that his illusion holds up to repeated viewings – visitors even whisper in the galleries so as not to disturb the “sleeping” pieces on display.

Read more at Joe Nolan’s Insomnia

U-Ram Choe – bitforms gallery solo exhibition (2006) from bitforms gallery nyc on Vimeo.

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  • Vox Penii

    Very cool stuff. Unlike a lot of contemporary artists, U Ram has some talent.

    However, he’s yet another victim of academic art culture, which can’t simply enjoy the beauty or aesthetics of art, but feels compelled to supply a “profound” (i.e., pseudo-philosophical/anthropological) commentary:

    “The term ‘art bollocks’ was first introduced into serious art writing by Brian Ashbee in 1999, in Art Review. ‘A Beginners Guide to Art Bollocks and How to be a Critic’ was a popular, witty and widely quoted essay that one might suppose would have drawn a line under the worst excesses of 1990s artspeak. In fact, in the past seven years the situation has grown much worse. Art bollocks has become institutionalised, normalised and is now practically the default way of writing about art and culture for seasoned journalists and a-level students alike. Like Orwell’s Newspeak, art bollocks is variously used in a knowing way, as an in-joke, a private language, a posture, or maybe out of fear – to maintain some questionable status among equally questionable peers. ”

    http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2007/02/art_bollocks_re.html

    • connie dobbs

      That’s why he’s an artist and not a craftsman. And btw, that’s gorgeous stuff you’re looking at. I believe you should change your sentence to “Wah! Wah! Wah! I don’t wike people talking about tings. i just wanna look at pwetty pictures.”

      But just to show there are no hard feelings, here is my gift to you. http://bobross.com/ Lots a pretty things to look at there for ya, and not a single hint of subtext or irony. Should be great for your amygdala without any of that pesky twinging of your cerebral cortex. It’s good for stoners and idiots so it’ll work for you whichever the case may be.

    • Haystack

      “However, he’s yet another victim of academic art culture, which can’t simply enjoy the beauty or aesthetics of art, but feels compelled to supply a “profound” (i.e., pseudo-philosophical/anthropological) commentary:”

      Like you’re doing right now?

  • Joe Nolan

    Hey Vox,

    Although Choe does create conceptual context for his work to exist in there are 2 things that I really appreciate about it.

    1. He also delivers all that formal beauty and amazing craftsmanship. I feel like art that is only trying to convey ideas is a failure from the start, but Choe’s work fills you with wonder.

    2. This conceptual context – using the phony Latin nomenclature etc. – is humorous and well executed, not self important or precious.

    Have you ever seen the stuff up close? I knew about his work, but it was such a blast to actually hang in those spaces with it.

    Have a great weekend.

    Joe Nolan

  • Haystack

    That’s beautiful. The first piece made me think of the hunter-seekers from Dune. I could definitely see Choe working in flim.

    If you like this, you might also like Jud Turner:

    http://judturner.com/index.html

  • Haystack

    That’s beautiful. The first piece made me think of the hunter-seekers from Dune. I could definitely see Choe working in flim.

    If you like this, you might also like Jud Turner:

    http://judturner.com/index.html

  • Joe Nolan

    Hey Haystack,

    Thanks for the comments and the link. Good call on the Dune reference! Fear is the mind-killer!

    JN ;)

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