When it comes to technology, South Korea is only competing with itself. Continuously engaged in finding new ways to do things, new ways to be creative, Korea is in a league of its own.
When I travelled to Seoul in 2018, it was like I had entered into the future. Technology seamlessly integrated into everyday life, I discovered a world very far removed from little ol' New Zealand. From robots pouring coffee, skyscrapers advertising ramen, to digital art of which the likes I had never seen before- I was surprised to find the extent to which technology was being used in new imaginative ways.
As someone who is is very afraid of the prospective future of AI's and an immersive digital world- I find myself in equal parts in awe and terrified. But a'strict makes it near impossible to fear this world when it has the potential to be as beautiful as their design work.
a'district is the art branch of d'strict: a South Korean design company that "creates a user-centred experience by integrating both content and digital media technology."d'strict made headlines all across the globe in May with their WAVE video installation atop the COEX Atrium. Using projection, d'strict transformed the flat LCD screen into a self-contained transparent space.
Inside the box seems to be an endless tidal wave. High definition ripples fly high, licking the top of the building before crashing back down and ultimately being re-absorbed for the next wave. I'm not brazen enough to lie- if I had seen this in person I think it would have taken my brain a solid minute to figure out what I was seeing.
WAVE is an anamorphic illusion: a visual trick where the viewer must stand at a specific vantage point in order to unmask the illusion. This makes for a commanding experiential work that combines a creative mindset backed by the power of technology.
Shortly after the widely generated interest in WAVE, d'strict initiated their art collective "a'strict" a non-commercial venture into the digital art world. Last month marked a'stricts foray into the gallery space with Starry Night, their first 'artwork' designed specifically for Kukje Gallery's K3 space.
Starry Night is a large scale installation work harnessing projection and sound to create an incredibly immersive experience. Situated in a big black space, the viewer stands amidst digital waves that climb the 6m high walls and softly crawl under your feet. Speakers line the room and emit the sounds of the waves in time with the scene unfolding directly before your eyes.
The blue, luminescent quality of the waves create a moon-lit scene in which the viewer sees, and hears the meditative hum of the beach. All within the confines of a gallery.
More information on d'strict:
d'strict website: http://www.dstrict.com/en/
Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9NTI-FPKhzb_OYBwgbv3kw
Starry Night at the Kukje Gallery :https://m.kukjegallery.com/exhibition/226
First-person experience of Starry Night: https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/2020/08/28/culture/artsDesign/art-dstrict-astrict/20200828164200394.html
Header image: a'strict, Starry Night (2020) @ Kukje Gallery