press release

Media City Seoul 2010
6th International Biennale of Media Art

Media City Seoul announces the sixth edition of the biennial under the title Trust. To connect with the rest of the world, we invest a certain amount of trust in various relations. Trust is by default an ambiguous notion, it is one grounded in good faith as much as in doubt. As individuals we not only have these relations to our fellow citizens, but also increasingly with modes of connection. With proliferating forms of media, information comes to us in many guises, and the message is more and more opaque; marketing poses as friendship, solitude as community, populism as democracy.

Instead of simply stepping up to the speed of technology, the curatorial team of Media City Seoul 2010 proceeds from a desire to pause, reflect, and critique the transitions and transformations of our social contexts. The exhibition is propositional by nature. Trust interprets media broadly—as a tool for engagement within a shifting terrain where political, national or religious identities are being re-charted; where means of distribution creates real and imagined communities; and where private interpersonal space share the same platform as global political issues of the day. As forms of media become more accessible and varied, we enter an era that seemingly allows more room for self-expression and individuality. Yet, what is at stake when media channels are more concentrated and powerful? How do these networks create new spaces of alienation and control? How do we reconcile the desire for changing social models, with a desire for new communities?

The exhibition works against the rhetoric of technology as progress and promise, offering instead a recalibration of its definition. Many of the artists in the exhibition are not known as media artists, but use various forms of media (printed material, urban detritus, photographic and video technology, documentary and fictional forms) to counter the generalizing of experience by dominant narratives. Trust investigates notions of community, representation and perception in a world that is continuously being retold and reconfigured. In this light, how are stories, histories and myths construed? How is collective experience represented through multiplicity and difference? The exhibition emphasizes artistic practices that play with documentary conventions, fictional forms, espousing for imagination, subjectivity and localities as underpinnings of contemporary experience. Sometimes revealing the underlying constructs of mediated stories, and at other times obscuring them. Trust does not aim to meticulously dissect the matters at hand, or present a scientific or intellectual study of our current mediascape. Instead, Trust offers a broad interpretation of media and invests in a humanistic and individual response to contemporary experience.

About Media City Seoul: Inaugurated in 2000 with a specific aim to enforce the image of the city of Seoul as a capital of technological development, the exhibition has been one of few international biennials with a focus on 'media art'. As the possibilities of media continue to redefine and alter everyday life, it is an opportune moment to re-examine our basic notion of media, in order to intelligently and thoughtfully head forth into a new era. The curatorial team has modified the title from media_city seoul to Media City Seoul, a modest but important gesture that emphasizes individualness of these entities and attempts to move beyond catch words and compound terms to the co-existence of separate but equal parts. In doing so, Media City Seoul 2010 is proud to take the biennial one step further and think about media beyond its formal definitions.

Participating artists: Tarek ATOUI, Yael BARTANA, Blast Theory, Mark BRADFORD, Abraham CRUZVILLEGAS, Manon DE BOER, Willem DE ROOIJ, Jimmie DURHAM, Shilpa GUPTA, IZUMI Taro, Adrià JULIÀ, Sung Hwan KIM, KOIZUMI Meiro, Miki KRATSMAN, Minouk LIM, Sarah MORRIS, Deimantas NARKEVIČIUS, Catherine OPIE, PARK Chan-Kyong, Walid RAAD, Judy RADUL, Jewyo RHII, Tino SEHGAL, Allan SEKULA, Nasrin TABATABAI & Babak AFRASSIABI, Erik VAN LIESHOUT, Apichatpong WEERASETHAKUL, Xijing Men (CHEN Shaoxiong, Gimhongsok, Tsuyoshi OZAWA), Yangachi among others. Final list of artists will be announced in June.

Curatorial team: KIM Sunjung (Artistic director, Media City Seoul 2010) and co-curators Clara KIM (Director/Curator of Gallery at REDCAT, Los Angeles), Nicolaus SCHAFHAUSEN (Director of Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam), and SUMITOMO Fumihiko (Curator, Arts Initiative Tokyo, Tokyo).

Venues: Seoul Museum of Art, SeMA Gyeonghuigung and public sites in Seoul.