We are currently under the influence of the unexpected pandemic that has continued from 2020, and the end of it is still not quite in sight. The hastiness of this situation brought with it various ruptures throughout society; the field of arts was no exception. This crack created a lot of transitions whether we wanted them or not. In the process of these changes, many artists and art historians have debated about what contemporary art should say post-pandemic, and how it will be expressed. However, away from this debate stands Particlefield, a studio of three visual artists, merrily telling their own story.
Particlefield is a Seoul-based, digital visual studio working on a variety of 2D and 3D- projects, which consist of motion graphics, animation, VFX, and VJing [real-time visual performance]. The design studio is comprised of three young members, Junghyun Eom, Taekyung Park, and Sungryung Kim, who founded it on 6th April, 2018. The name of the studio, ‘Particle Field’, is derived from one of the effect names in Adobe’s After Effects, which is a tool used mainly when creating 2D motion graphics. However, what amplifies these digital visualization materials is their own sense of humor. In the bio on their website, they describe themselves loving “all the sensuous forms of digital media and a flash of humor.”
Particlefield has a very distinctive accent, which stems from the way they introduce themselves in a promotional way. They express their ideas with consecutive visual images, revealing their identity as a studio. The visual and narrative youthfulness of Particlefield is clearly revealed from their moving bio. It’s not just a textual CV written down on his or her history, but a visual ‘promotion’ that shows who they are. The technical expertise in the work is sufficient to dispel doubts about their visual expressiveness, and their own humor excites the public. In this self-visual advertisement, they claim that they are “a team of the next generation artists who embroider the world with their fantasy.” This is what Particlefield is about.
Particlefield, Particlefield Promotion I, II, 2019. © courtesy from the artist.
The range of Particlefield’s work is as flexible as their thinking and modes of expression. Their work is spread over a variety of fields, including visual arts-based exhibitions in art institutions, design collaboration projects with commercial brands, and even music videos for singers. Particlefield’s diverse range of activities gives the public the joy of unexpectedly encountering their works in each cultural field. Their activities continued to flourish even in the 2020 pandemic situation. In an exhibition, I, Etcetera, held at Hite Collection in Seoul in 2020, Particlefield released Dalai Lama’s Feed Diorama Drama. In the artwork, they mainly use flourished memes like idol videos, satisfying videos, and yoga clips from entertainment programs, among other digital feeds that flow from moment to moment, online as the main materials. In, Are you going with me?, which washeld at Kolon Sports Hannam in 2020, Particlefieldintroduced the concept of outdoor apparel in the city centre, through collaboration with fashion brands. Furthermore, by producing music videos for singers like Crush and LEENALCHI, Particlefield is continuing to broaden their boundaries beyond the artistic field. This is probably why Particlefield defines itself as a design studio.
Accompanied by Particlefield’s conceptual flexibility expressed in various fields, the production method of their works shows their own attitudes toward images. The way they adopt and use digital materials goes beyond just overcoming spatial constraints; the studio aims to encompass the characteristic of reproducing and transforming stories from a single still image, to one consecutively connected digital image. Particlefield is able to focus on their tastes, thus exploring easily consumed contents in the current mobile environment, which serves as sources. In other words, by combining these segmented visual images, they reinvent these digital fragments into a single video, adding their own humorous vitality, even if there is no particular narrative in common. The videos they produce are formed from the process of drawing one large moving image through the collection of successive images. It is apparent that by using these visual techniques, along with the implementation of thematic vividness that Particlefield employs, the studio is able to bring a fresh perspective to the artistic field.
Particlefield’s digitally transformed humour highlights this sensibility. Whatever source they find attractive and interesting, Particlefield uses it actively. Such is the case with Dalai Lama’s Feed Diorama Drama, exhibited at Hite Collection in Seoul in 2020. This work converts the meme from floating around online, to being very active. The main representative meme used in their artwork is extracted from the Korean TV show “Infinite Challange,” which is a video of an uncle shouting “Mu-yoohoo!”. On the large screen, the Muyoohoo figure appears in high-resolution modeling, and other people appear from the mouth of the man in a relay format. Meanwhile, there are constant random images appearing around. The visual pleasures that they create unrealistically entertain the public. In their work, Particlefieldshow us the essences of the art of searching for simple pleasure.
Particlefield, Dalai Lama’s Feed Diorama Drama, 2020. © courtesy from the artist.
These days, people live a deep sense of loss. Much is ruptured, transformed, and even reborn. So what should contemporary art say in this case? There are no right answers to this question, but Particlefield offers the pleasure of losing oneself into aesthetic alternate worlds, which allows us to travel for a while.
Particlefield, Baby, 2019. © courtesy from the artist.