[LAB NOTE] About everything that moves


Dong-joo Seo gathered people’s thoughts and emotions placing the word ‘movement’ at the center. Seo began research based on the possibilities of mental and relational movements including physical movements, and met artists, athletes, writers, and scholars. They responded with different movements. A short report on <Movement That>, a research paper on the movement by Dong-joo Seo.


LAB NOTE Summary
There is no other word that has as many meanings as ‘Movement’. It means a change of positions and it is also used when referring to the activities of an ideological group, such as a ‘movement’ of democracy or a ‘activity’ of chivalrous robbers. It can also be referred to as ‘parts’ of a watch or a ‘conductor’ of music. The form of movements is also different. It can be visible like the movement of objects, but things that are invisible like thoughts also move. People constantly think and empty their thoughts. People lift and settle their minds over and over again.

Movement is so comprehensive that it cannot contain all the meanings in the dictionary and perhaps even it can replace all the words. Dong-joo Seo decided to collect individual definitions of movement without boundaries. Seo started by asking questions about movement to various people with different perspectives.

Dong-joo Seo’s work <Movement That _____> is an effort to fill in the blank. An artist Hyeyune Choi filled in the blank with ‘reverberation’, a musician Heejong Yoo with ‘tuning’, a media artist Ji-won Ham with ‘memory’, and an anthropologist Yoon-ha Kim with ‘flow’. Dong-joo Seo, as a listener and editor, collected people’s movements and displayed on the website (http://movementthat.net/), believing that a big new movement would be born when the pieces of stories were piled up.

Dong-joo Seo filmed the movements of the dancers to visually show the stories. Seo planted a story of people into each piece by dividing the video screens. The film induces visitors of the website to put the video together like a puzzle by arranging the pieces at random. It implemented the core idea of the project that the scattered movements of individuals in society may be connected as a united and communal movement with a sense of joy/participation.

The archive on the movement will last in the future, and a new type of work will be presented by weaving the stories with the voice of Dong-joo Seo when enough stories are gathered.


Movement That
The thoughts and emotions of various people gathered around the keyword ‘movement’


“Through ‘movement’, we explore the daily lives of individuals and communities, emotions, and the aspects and relationships of behaviors”

We spent two years with the COVID-19 pandemic. I have never experienced such a forced and static time of my life. Dong-joo Seo also realized when he saw a carrier trapped in the dusty garage. It was the carrier he used for half a year, but in the meantime, he completely forgot about it. Maybe now was a good time to think about the movement. The forced detention that we have never experienced at the time of today. Seo believed that a fundamental exploration of movement would be possible.


“The individuality and diversity, and communality and heterogeneity of the constantly moving human world can be explored by extending the characteristics of movement such as vibration, flow, and change and derivative effects to the physical (movement and gesture), immaterial (mind and emotion), and relational (culture and ideology) levels?”

It is quite a lazy thought to suppose a reality as a dichotomy, in which objects and phenomena are intertwined. Dong-joo Seo tries to maintain an unbiased gaze. He finds the center of both extremes with a humble low stance. He tries to find an important meaning in the little things and beauty in the ugliness. His works break down the ambiguous boundaries between nature and artificiality, analog and digital, reality and virtuality, image and text, figure and abstract, material and immaterial, micro and macro. <A Thousand Horizons> (2019) which is edited by taking a picture of the folded part in an open paper book to look like a horizontal line is a video work that gives a glimpse of Dong-joo Seo’s attitude to contain all the different characteristics such as analog and digital, a small book and a vast horizon, natural sound and artificial electronic sound, etc.


“It is an all the attention to the diverse human voices (multivocality), a search for the cognitive extension of movement, and a collection of small gestures that reflect the present and wish for changes in the future.”


“The fragmented movements of individuals in society influence each other and are connected as a communal movement. The project gradually builds up the human voices penetrating the present times represented by unstable social/political/economic situations, rapidly changing nature and digital media environments, and pandemics. It illuminates the colorful movements of individuals who constantly think, feel, and act on the other side of their daily lives from various perspectives, and expands them into an exploration into the collective emotions, bonds, and affective state of the community.”

When we talk about movement, we instantly think of dynamic images. But movement can be defined differently depending on which axis of thought it lays upon. For some people, movement can be a stop, retreat, or shrinkage. For example, yoga and meditation artist Jung-hee Han talks about a new sense of movements we can only realize when we stop our body and mind while doing a ‘headstand’ posture of standing head down for 5 minutes. Advertising company AE Soo-hyung Kim looks back on the daily life that has moved linearly like a simple graph with the X and Y axes and talks about an attitude looking into a daily life in a new way through the depth of the Z axis which was finally created when the pandemic forced all the movements to stop.


“The project is completed into an interactive website in which text archives such as essays, author notes, contributions, fiction, and diaries of various participants are mixed with video, images and sound. Visitors can access the website designed by a puzzle game format and see the contents in each puzzle piece that composes the screen. On the web wallpaper, the movement of the body, which expresses the relationship between body and mind, person and person, and person and object, appears as fragmented images. Visitors can put the scattered puzzles together on the screen with a mouse and hand to complete a single overall image.”

Dong-joo Seo studied design and anthropology. In the past, Dong-joo Seo rarely worked using media and images. He thought about a suitable way to express the subject of movement, and he chose an archive method instead of an image. The story of movement will be continuously updated in the future.


About the Artist
Dong-joo Seo (www.dongjooseo.com) conducts pure, public, commercial art, and design projects based on new media, video, graphic design, text, and anthropological research methodologies. He also expresses various contemporary subjects to a complex medium that encompasses analog and digital technologies and explores the relationship among art-technology-environment-life and the aspects of changes.

Master of Film & Media Anthropology at Free University of Berlin, Bachelor of Visual Design at Kookmin University / Ars Electronica Festival, Hyundai Motor Group Vision Hall, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Amorepacific Museum of Art, Sejong Hyundai Motor Gallery, ASEAN Cultural Center, SOMA Museum of Art, Exhibition at Post Territory Ujeongguk / Hermès, Amorepacific, Performed design project of Pohang Museum Of Steel Art / Supervised 2018 Sulwha Cultural Exhibition / Selected as Lotte Museum Young Artist Competition (2019), Hyundai Motor Group VH Award Grand Prix (2019), Won Grand Prize at Adobe Global Design Competition (2008), Finalist at Hermès Global Design Competition (2019), Won International Competition at Tampere International Short Film Festival (2020) / Creator at Hyundai Motor Group ZER01NE (2020-) /