Public Program

Converging Realities: Navigating the Para-Real in a Digital-Physical World

Thu. October 12, 2023

Art Hall, Art Sonje Center

Converging Realities: Navigating the Para-Real in a Digital-Physical World

Art Sonje Center, in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Korea and the French Embassy in Korea, is pleased to announce the upcoming program, Converging Realities: Exploring the Para-Real in the Digital-Physical World. This program is scheduled for Thu. October 12 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM, and offers a unique blend of activities, including a VR Chat performance and a screening by Cade Diehm, and artist talks featuring Lee Eunsol and Gregory Chatonsky.

As part of Art Sonje Center’s Art & Technology Research Program (ASJC Research), this initiative is designed to delve deep into the intricate relationship between web-based visual culture and contemporary art. ASJC Research serves as a platform for fostering discourse and raising awareness about the nature of technology convergence art practices, often overshadowed by market-driven and capitalistic motives. Following the presentation of Michael Joo’s NFT project in June, this second event explores the connection between the emerging metaverse as a new production site for subcultures and contemporary artistic practices. In this dialogue, we aim to explore the following inquiries: Can the visual culture generated by the metaverse emerge as an alternative to underground culture that catalyzed new artistic expressions and production in the 1960s and 1970s? Do various metaverse platforms enable new artistic expressions in contemporary art practice? How does the operation of virtual communities facilitated by metaverse platforms open up new possibilities in contemporary art practice?

Participating artists in this program bring diverse perspectives to the forefront within the realm of digital subculture. Cade Diehm delves into the various activities of subcultures aimed at building networks and digital identities to protect common interests and break free from economic exploitation, all while observing the emergence of digital subcultures. In collaboration with the New Design Congress, Cade Diehm will screen their latest work titled “Together in the Wires: Para-Real Memory in Ephemeral Worlds.” This documentary film explores the influence the Korean influence on world design and community in emergent digital spaces. Furthermore, to delve into the peculiar and transcendent spaces that emerge at the intersection of the digital and physical worlds, the program will introduce VR Chat dance artists and performances. Gregory Chatonsky, a French-Canadian artist and the pioneer of Net Art, will lead discussions on the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) as a subject of research and creative exploration. He will explore themes such as ruins and the materiality of digital flow and will introduce his recent work in Le Havre, France, “The Artificial Non-Existentialist Revolution.” Lastly, Lee Eunsol will present her recent work related to a character named Kimberly Lee, a virtual character created due to a hacking incident on her Instagram account in 2017. Inspired by events that unfolded without her knowledge, this project explores the complexity of virtual characters within the vast landscape of the online economy. Lee Eunsol has organized an online community to carefully manage and protect the digital existence of Kimberly Lee, presenting this ‘care-taking’ project as an artistic practice.

Program Schedule

17:00 Introduction
17:05 Presentation by Gregory Chatonsky

17:35 Presentation and Screening of Cade Diehm & Elys‘s Together in the Wires: Para-Real Memories in Ephemeral Worlds
17:55 Presentation by Lee Eunsol
18:25 Panel Discussion and Q&A with all participants
18:50 VRChat Dance Performance (organized by Cade Diehm)
19:00-20:00 DJ Party

*Simultaneous translation services will be provided for the program above.

About the Participants

Gregory Chatonsky

Gregory Chatonsky is a French-Canadian artist, and pioneer of the Netart with the foundation of in 1994. In 2003, he became interested in the aesthetics of ruins and the materiality of digital flows. In 2009, he ventured into the world of AI, which became an object of research and creation over the years, followed by a seminar at the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Paris on artificial imagination. He has exhibited at various museums, including the Palais de Tokyo, the Centre Pompidou, the MOCA in Taipei, the Museum of Moving Image, and the Hubei Wuhan Museum. He has taught at Le Fresnoy (2004), UQAM (2006-2015) and Eur-Artec (2021-present).

Cade Diehm

Cade Diehm is the founder of the New Design Congress, an international research group confronting the gap between what is said to be happening and what is actually happening in digitized societies. With a multi-disciplinary background in information security, interface politics, and digital systems, Cade and his team work with internet subcultures, at-risk communities, universities, companies, non-profits, artists, environmentalists, and policymakers to reset the first principles of digital societies – identity, connectivity, ownership, and scale. Through this work, Cade has led consultations with PEN International, UCL London, Google, Mozilla, Signal, the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights, the International Institute for the Environment and Development, the European Commission, Protocol Labs, the Center for Digital Resilience, the Algorithmic Transparency Institute and many others.

Elys Jones

Elys Jones is an interdisciplinary systems designer, community organizer, researcher, and event organizer based in Lausanne, Switzerland. With the New Design Congress, they research the Para-Real, an emergent theory of online subcultures developing patterns for economic solidarity, and develop experimental research software. Elys is the founder and core organizer of ReclaimFutures, a grassroots technology and culture conference about post-capitalist desire, and a founding co-organizer of Loose Antenna, a community-run and oriented web radio, launched in June 2020, where they host a monthly music show.

Lee Eunsol

Lee Eunsol is the creator of a virtual character named Kimberly Lee, a digital entity. She explores the significance of digital entities within the virtual value system, where the online economic activities of individual companies interweave to form a complex and interconnected network. To ensure Kimberly’s survival in the virtual world, the artist conducts research on various platforms and potential future residences. The name Kimberly Lee originated from a 2017 incident in which the artist’s Instagram account was hacked, resulting in an unnoticed name change to Kimberly Lee that lasted for an entire year. This incident symbolizes the intrusion of the artist’s identity within the virtual realm. Through the persona of Kimberly Lee, the artist aims to delve into the structural framework of maintaining a virtual identity by actively managing the character’s life.

Dayun Ryu

Dayun Ryu is a curator, writer and translator based in Seoul, South Korea. Some of her notable projects include: Korean translation of the book “Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto” (Mediabus, 2022), co-curation of the online exhibition “Hinterland” (PACK, 2022, 2023), contribution of the essay “Accidental Bodies” (SeMA Coral, 2022), participation in the UC Berkeley Film and Media Graduate Conference “High/Low” (2019), and more. She graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a BA in Visual and Critical Studies, and has built her professional experience working at various (non-)profit art institutions in Chicago and New York. More recently, she was the curator at the arts and culture organization PACK, where she organized experimental exhibitions, research workshops, art fairs, and arts events at the intersection of art and technology. She has also contributed essays, exhibition reviews, and artist interviews for various on/offline publications – such as AQNB, FAR-NEAR, Nang, Visla, and The Kitchen’s blog – spotlighting diverse projects of emerging artists among the Korean and international art scenes.

This project was published with the support of “2023 Art and Technology Convergence Support Grant Program”

Thu. October 12, 2023
Art Hall, Art Sonje Center
Cade Diehm, Elys Jones, Gregory Chatonsky, Dayun Ryu
Organized by
Art Sonje Center, Goethe-Institut Korea, Cultural Service of the Embassy of France in Korea
Curated by
Je Yun Moon
Supported by
Art Council Korea, Franco-German Cultural Fund
Admission fee