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The Beginning

Taezoo Park

313 Bowery, New York, NY
November 16, 2023 – January 25, 2024
Opening November 16, 2023, 6 - 8 PM



“When I came to New York City in 2008, it was a year before the United States broadcast transmission system went digital. It was at this moment that millions of Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) devices around the country would be rendered obsolete. I had observed lots of abandoned technologies discarded on the streets, particularly analogue TVs which were expensive and once the icon of new technology in the period of Nam June Paik. As an artist, I not only wanted to give these objects new life, as a form of art, but I also wanted to comment on the direction of technological development, its sustainability, and the undiscovered possibility of computational consciousness through my body of work titled Digital Being.

Growing up in Korea through the 1980s and 1990s, I cherished the few analog devices that surrounded me. I was amazed to come to the United States and find so many devices discarded on the streets. Out of my love for these (to me) precious objects, and in lieu of any sustainable waste solutions, I began collecting thousands of these analog devices. Throughout the last 10 years, with the help of The Lower East Side Ecology Center and The Social Science Department at Cornell University, I developed a way of collecting, repurposing and reintegrating these technologies. Creating a marriage between the old analog and the new digital, I augment these obsolete technologies, fit with digital monitors and motherboards that imbue a second life and function into these machines. They become a sort of Frankenstein of the old and the new.

For example, with two relays, I could connect and disconnect two wires which are controlling the video on the (analog) CRT. The relays are controlled by a small (digital) computer called Arduino. The Arduino is working with a distance sensor which can detect any object in front of it. Therefore, if there is someone in front of the TV, the Arduino inside of the TV connects two wires through two relays, then the screen is on. If no one is there, the Arduino commands the relays off. The connection of the relay could be motion, it could be sound, it could be weight, really anything all using similar code. The variety of interactions and functions vary and are made visible through this installation.

There are very simple digital codes in all electronics such as televisions, computers, speakers, cassette players, etc. Unless the memory chips or CPUs of the circuits are broken, they can still operate by command codes inside their bodies. What if the codes can accidentally combine with others to then generate mutant codes when prompted or through self-imposed errors. As digital technology is developing, the interactions among machines increase dramatically and produce more e-waste. My artwork is based on this hypothesis.

Digital Being is an invisible and formless creature born out of abandoned technology. Some of them work interactively and others are programmed randomly working based on the original characteristics and function of the device. It’s like a new soul of the machine.

Through this exhibition, I would like to invite you to the moment I first encountered these Digital Beings and to create an open discussion about the direction of technology and our individual relationships with these machines”.

— Taezoo Park

Taezoo Park (b. 1979; Ulsan, Korea) is a Korean artist living and working in New York. Park is a digitalogist whose work explores technology, computer programming, digital history, sustainability, and consciousness. Park received an MFA in Digital Arts from Pratt Institute in 2012 and a BFA in Animation from Hong-Ik University in Korea in 2007. Taezoo Park is currently teaching in the department of Digital Art at Pratt. This installation marks his first solo exhibition in New York.