Interview #01

From 104 to ‘Infinity’

Lee HeeWon

Written by RMM
Photo credit by Infinity III, Trouble Makers, Nemo, 104

Last time RMM introduced you with 104 Centquatre, a popular cultural center in Paris, also commonly called as 104. In order to better understand the operation of 104, it is our honor to have an interview with a Korean artist in France, Lee HeeWon, talking about the exhibition that she collaborated with Arcadi and 104 Centquatre.

Organized by Arcadi and held in 104, the digital contemporary art festival NÉMO had a nifty theme of TROUBLE MAKERS. The event animated the art center which is located in the edge of Paris – a corner that used to receive little attention. If you visited the exhibition at weekends or during holidays, it would not be surprised to find the venue swarmed with visitors. Long queues were not uncommonly found in front of few popular works. Many visitors found the theme interesting and wondered the story behind. In fact, arrondissement 19 of Paris, where 104 is located, used to have a high crime rate in the past – this explains the wit of the theme TROUBLE MAKERS. In general, only residents could be seen there; visitors rarely came to the district in holiday or in their leisure time due to security concern. Not until the grand opening of 104 did the community begin to be more lively and energetic. Instead of crimes and darkness, positive energy and laughter started to gather. The history of the area made the theme TROUBLE MAKERS witty and humorous. Hosted by Arcadi, the 16th digital contemporary art festival NÉMO was held in 2013; nevertheless, the collaboration with 104 first began in 2011. In other words, Arcadi has collaborated with 104 on the project for 3 years already.

Korean artist in France, Lee HeeWon
Photo © You Jin Chung

Could you tell us how do Arcadi and 104 support artists and art events?

While Arcadi finances artists’ creation and production of art, 104 provides venue for their exhibition of works. In spite of the fact that 104 gives artists a precious space for showing their hard work, 104 does not intervene in artists’ creation and production at all. This is fundamentally important for artists because 104 gives free rein to their creativity and imagination for creation. Comparing to other art centers, 104 is considered as a free space for many artists. What is more, the opened area in 104 is exceptionally suitable for displaying multimedia art.

When did you start creating this piece of work?

The whole production process took around 1 year. I had developed the idea since the September of 2012, and the production began in November. The filming was carried out in December. The idea and inspiration of the artwork series (Infinity) came from Japanese classical poem (Haiku). In 2010, we used “The Sun” as the core idea of the work. That piece of work looks likes merely a plain white picture at the first glance, but a secret is hidden behind the illusion of dullness: in the daytime, the picture is totally white in colour; after the sun has set and the night has come, the picture happens to be darker, and you can finally find out the secret of the work at this moment – words “Neverending Stories” will appear on the picture. Thanks to the amazing effect of fluorescent pigments that allow the picture to show the “Infinity” in the never-ending, consecutive alternation of day and night. In 2012, we had the theme “Water”. The work appears to be a fictitious waterfall embedded in a space of reality designated by artists. The intercrossing of fictitiousness and reality makes audiences lose their sense of time and therefore they can experience the true meaning of “Infinity”. The work shown in 104 in the year of 2013 used “Migratory Birds” as its topic. This multimedia art projects half of the image on the floor, another half on the wall. Audiences would have a feeling of being surrounded by a flock of migratory birds. They would then lose their sense of spacing, and indulge themselves completely in the space and effect created by the work “Infinity”.

Is this a tailor-made work (in situ) for the venue?

Yes, you are right. This is specifically created for the venue.

Did you work with other artists together to create this piece of work?

Yes. I worked with a German art duo - Ulf Langheinrich designed the sound effect and David Roubah worked on the production of 3D animation.

We would like to express our gratitude to Lee for the short interview. Please feel free to visit the following websites for more information concerning Lee, Arcadi and 104.

Recommended websites:
From Six Feet Under to Hundred Four - 104 Centquatre
Lee HeeWon

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