Momenta Art is pleased to present a solo exhibition of work by Ahram Jeong, a recent graduate of Hunter College’s Master of Fine Arts program.
Using biological signals to trigger photographic apparatus, create notation, and stimulate improvised music, Jeong transforms humanity’s conscious control over machines into something akin to collaboration.
For Staying Alive, a multi-channel video and sound installation, Jeong dug her own grave as computer software and an invented device recorded her heartbeat by turning it into musical notation which was then re-interpreted into a drum solo by a percussionist positioned in the artist’s freshly dug grave. The installation in the gallery presents three videos simultaneously to be interpreted by the viewer: a projection of the score generated by the heartbeat, which is synchronized with two other videos, one of the drummer’s improvised solo and the other of the artist digging her grave.
Jeong’s bodily rhythms serve as the inspiration for a chain of action and reaction: the heartbeat translated into notation, that notation translated by the drummer into sound and action, that sound and action captured by the camera and translated into video, and the final transformation being that of the installation itself. Something as essential and personal as a heartbeat is reduced to its most pragmatic reality: nothing more than a faint sound generated by an automatic electric signal. Simultaneously personal and anonymous, the final product provides a score for the audience’s experience that reverts the music to its hypothetical origin: the heartbeat, the first music heard in the mother’s womb.
In No More Picture with a Dead Body, the artist and a volunteer participant lie on circular pedestals. Each of their heartbeats triggers the shutter and flash of a camera. As the shutters open and close the resulting images are projected onto the gallery wall.
The performer/audience relationship is upended. The cameras capture images of the audience instead of the performers. The result is the transformation of the audience into protagonists. The process of the public engaging, meeting the artist, meeting one another, and agreeing to participate creates a continually deferred relationship that destabilizes the work.
In this situation, control of the camera is relinquished to the performers’ involuntary bodily rhythms, subverting the traditional subject/object relationship created by the photographic system. The resulting images are no longer the final result of the creative process but become a byproduct. The simple binary of camera/subject is transformed into a ménage à trois between performer, audience, and technology.
Ahram Jeong was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received a BFA from The Korean National University of Arts. In 2010, she attended The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine, and received an MFA from Hunter College, CUNY. She participated in the Denniston Hill artist-in-residency in 2010 located in Woodridge, NY.