Heavy Industries

The net art of YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES is different than many of the works we have discussed in the past weeks. The artists began working on these pieces in 1999, yet each work remains relevant ten years later. Each flash “movie” begins in a format we all recognize, the 10 second countdown and a screen with “Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries presents…” This iconic beginning gives the viewer a starting point to identity with – similar to many films we have seen before. Each work tells a different story using sizes of text, speed, and flashes of black to provoke emotion on an otherwise white canvas with black writing in a consistent font. The text moves at a rapid pace, a pace to fast that if you stop concentrating for a millisecond, you will miss something. With the many distractions of the the Internet and the way that we easily have five different tabs open simultaneously, consuming multiple pages on the Internet, the pace of these works keeps the viewer engaged on the Art, and only the Art. Unlike many works we have seen, these flash movies require no interaction, only concentration. We can decide which movies to watch, but the narrative is written and each piece is complete.

Each piece centers around a different theme – sex, surveillance, North Korean culture, politics, the Internet, technology, among others – and each piece seems to take a stance on these themes, relaying an opinion or statement. The artists translated the pieces into multiple languages, and while many of the pieces center on North Korea, they play off the Internet as a global epicenter. Underneath the loose narrative of each piece is a universal theme in which anyone can connect to. In one of the pieces “What Know?” they even state, “what now – our concerns become global.”

Each piece has it’s own score and the timing of each beat is perfectly tied to the display of words and sentences. As the words move quickly across the screen, the fast passed Jazz music keeps the viewer engaged and hyper attentive to the screen. It’s pretty amazing how perfectly timed every piece is. The importance of the music is reminiscent of film and the way both mediums of the Internet and film can create a full sensory experience by combining music and images. This was also central to “Flight,” in which the music added dramatic and urgent tones to the narrative.

The artists have also been able to present these works and others similar as installations in museums. Do you think this would add to the the experience (bigger screen, empty room)? Or is the web an integral part of the experience, making it more of an individual art consumption, rather than with a crowd.

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