SUNY Old Westbury Hosts ‘The Great Chain of Being’

One of the video installations at the SUNY Old Westbury Amelie A. Wallace Gallery. (Photos courtesy of SUNY Old Westbury)

The Amelie A. Wallace Gallery at the State University of New York College at Old Westbury is exhibiting ‘Sung Rok Choi: The Great Chain of Being,’ a solo exhibition of new media art. Sung Rok Choi’s animations present spectacle on dynamic screens that resonate with our current media culture saturated with video games, cinema, and surveillance cameras. It will be on display until Friday, March 18 at 5 p.m.

‘The Great Chain of Being’ consists of five major animations that lie at the intersection of animation, video games, digital paintings, and drone camera views. Exhibiting these works for the first time in the US, Choi explores his earlier critiques of machines expressed in recent 2D animation works, compartmentalized into sections that indicate parts of the world. While Choi’s epic digital animation is imaginary, one cannot escape the current world that faces crises of climate change, technological singularity, and a global pandemic.

The films portray a giant cyclical system in which humans, animals, robots, and viruses multiply and conflict, ending in destruction and rebirth. Operation Mole-Final Stand (2018) comments on a covert system in which humans appear as victims of weapons of war, leading to an apocalypse that returns earth to an uncorrupted natural state, followed by civilization, only to end in a worldwide fire.

In contrast to these works in which a narrative unfolds in fixed frames, an earlier work, Scroll Down Journey (2015), is a drone camera view of a world populated with bridges, roads, houses, water, and greenery constantly moving past a fixed lens: the composite reality shows the extended vision of the machine.

The videos are projected on a large screen in the gallery.

Choi’s most recent work, Genesis Canyon (2021), initially commissioned by Asia Culture Center, is a digitally animated virtual landscape featuring the beginning of the world, which starts in a canyon where computer simulation shows the motion of light, wind, magma, and water. Consisting of three stories about Light, Fire, and Water, Choi’s work explores the force of life in a primordial world where symbiotic relationships between plants and animals are formed and where our primitive senses are stimulated by these elements.

Sung Rok Choi (b. 1978, Korea; lives and works in Seoul) engages digital animation and video work to explore contemporary landscapes and narratives generated by technology. He is interested in understanding how relationships change in response to technological advancements. Choi has shown his work in Korea and abroad over the past ten years. He has a BFA from Hong-Ik University, Seoul, Korea, and an MFA from the School of Art, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh.

Career highlights include his participation in “Project 2” in Busan Biennial in 2016, Ars Electronica Festival, Deep Space 8K, Linz, Austria, and Gwangju Media Art Festival, Korea in 2017. His “Operation Mole/Final Stand” was exhibited in SeMA Bunker, Korea in 2018. His work was shown at AVS: Used Future, Soorim Cultural Foundation, Seoul, and at Viborg Animation Festival, Denmark in 2019. His “Great Chain of Being” was shown in a solo exhibition at Gallery Chosun, Seoul, after which Choi expanded the work and exhibited the updated version on the outdoor media façade during the 2020 Paradise Art Lab Festival in Incheon. His most recent media façade work, “Genesis Canyon,” was commissioned by Asia Culture Center and was exhibited outdoors in fall 2021. The first-place winner of the 8th AHL Foundation Visual Arts Competition in New York in 2011, Choi is a recipient of Hyundai Motorgroup’s 2nd VH Award (2017), Asia’s leading award for new media artists.

“Sung Rok Choi: The Great Chain of Being” is one of 20 final winners of the fourth international open call for the Fund for Korean Art. Amelie A. Wallace Gallery, SUNY College at Old Westbury is the recipient of Fund for Korean Art Abroad 2021-2022, which is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of Korea, and is managed by the Korean Arts Management Service (KAMS).

Gallery Director Hyewon Yi thanked ASC Foundation (Auxiliary Service Corporation) at SUNY College at Old Westbury, and particularly Arthur Angst and Raghunathan Aiyer, for providing practical assistance. She also thanks Florence Lynch of Florence Lynch Galleries for her partnership in organizing this exhibition. We are most grateful to Korea Art Abroad 2021–2022 for providing the bulk of the funding necessary to host this exhibition, and to Sook Nyu Lee of AHL Foundation for generously providing additional funding.

For more information and to arrange a viewing, contact gallery Director Hyewon Yi at YiH@oldwestbury.edu or 516-876-2709 ext. 3056.

The Amelie A. Wallace Gallery is open Monday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m. and is located in the Campus Center, Main Level, at SUNY College at Old Westbury, Route 107, Old Westbury. Directions: Long Island Expressway to exit 41N; 107N to the main gate of SUNY College at Old Westbury; turn left and follow the signs to Campus Center; go downstairs to Gallery on the main level. For more information on directions and visiting, visit https://www.oldwestbury.edu/about/visit.

—Submitted by SUNY Old Westbury

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