Opening: Thursday, January 9, 6:00 — 8:00 pm
Exhibition dates: January 2 – 30, 2020
4Culture Gallery, Seattle
Cabinets of Curiosity were developed during the 17th and 18th centuries and are widely considered precursors to the modern museum. Room-filling collections —comprised of musical instruments, artworks, animal skeletons, gemstones, plants, fruits, mysterious items from exotic locations, and other prized possessions— provided a forum to express one’s personal identity and gain social recognition. In contrast to the systematic classification and interpretation practices employed by curators and collecting institutions today, “wonder rooms” were celebrated for their ambiguity and irregularity.
Yunmi Her’s fascination with these unusual spaces is primarily due to their incongruity – they exist somewhere between myth and reality, hard to define as either public or private. The act of collecting in this manner (for its own sake) is oddly obsessive and yet to some extent ambivalent.
To help contextualize and study this phenomenon, Yunmi has installed a pool of water in Gallery 4Culture. By activating a Google Cardboard Headset, viewers can experience an almost identical virtual pool adjacent to the actual pool. As an additional lens and metaphor, 3D-printed sculptures displayed on shelves along the gallery walls represent a “collection” of internet keyword searches. The specimens were generated by searching for keywords related to a specific object and then acquiring images of that object. Insignificant morphological information, however, has been lost in the digital translation: a ladybug only has one side of its body, ammonites retain their patterning but are no longer dimensional, and a conch shell has a totally free form except for its three horns. Art and science once again meet in this contemporary Wunderkammer.
About the Artist
Yunmi Her is a multimedia artist working with VR/AR, video installation, and sculpture. Her interest lies in the paradoxical relationship between individuals and society. Yunmi’s work has been exhibited in Korea and the United States, including at the SOMA Drawing Center, Seoul Art Center, and San Diego Art Institute. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) at the University of Washington.
This exhibition has been generously supported by a 4Culture Arts Project Grant and UW’s DXARTS.