Video Art Program[The 69th Program] Ahn Sungseok

Wisdom of the Crowd, 2018 color, sound, 8min. 46sec.

This work is a simulation of a first-person video game. Ahn describes a game as “a virtual space where all eras of history blend together,” and says that “playing a game is a process of creating a new or fictional history.” In the actual game that Ahn utilized to produce this work, the player can freely alter everything including the game’s content. Thus Ahn could render the characters completely helpless, drop them from heights, or duplicate them, exercising a degree of control that verges on the violent. It is the artist, Ahn, who operates the system, but while the presence of a player is inferred, this is a video piece and not actually a video game, and there is no player in front of the screen. In front of the screen is only the viewer, who completely without their knowledge becomes the player and is incorporated into the work. However, the viewer is not authorized to manipulate the catastrophic scenes unfolding before them, and can only watch the player mercilessly toying with the virtual world’s inhabitants. By generating an inferred player who wields tyrannical power within the chaotic and non-temporal space of the game, Ahn expresses the absurdity of history, throughout which an unidentifiable “someone” has always pulled the strings behind the scenes, and the inexorable powers that continue to propel the real world today.

Ahn Sungseok:
Born and lives in Suwon, Korea in 1985. He graduated from the Sangmyung Univeristy with a degree in Photography and Visual Media in 2010. Major solo exhibitions include Stinging at OneandJ+1 (Seoul, South Korea, 2018), and group exhibitions include Young Portfolio Acquisitions 2014 at Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts (Yamanashi, Japan, 2014), Exhibition of Exhibition of Exhibition at Cecil Theater (Seoul, South Korea, 2018), and Liquid Glass Sea: Young Korean Artists 2019 at National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Gwangcheon, South Korea, 2019)