Artist statement

"Expressive Entities"
By: YoungSuk Lee

I call my interactive kinetic sculptures “Expressive Entities”, and they employ a variety of themes focusing on nature, ecosystems, and the connection between life forms. As human beings, an inescapable part of life is our interaction with other creatures. The fundamental theme in my work concerns how ecosystems, societies, and life itself form an interconnected web where disturbance of any part affects everything. The interaction components seek to depict ecosystems and environments in a surreal manner as life-like interactive entities that create intriguing experiences for humans.

Incorporating Technology into ordinary artifacts to open poetic engagements with digital creatures

Bringing life and vitality into artificial environments and life forms requires finding a way to create movement or some form of change. One way to vitalize them is to use computer-based technology, which allows a conceptual exploration to incorporate various functional components into interactive artifacts that response to motion, touch, or ambient sound. This symbiotic aspect of “Expressive Entities” essentially makes viewers part of this environment where the interactive artifacts are shown as symbolic living creatures. Therefore, the artifacts depict parts of both human and animal bodies whose interactive nature mimics emotional traits such as anger, happiness, shyness, and more nuanced expressions. The anthropomorphic elements are exposed in a surprising manner to invite people to explore how to interact with life-like digital entities.

The common method to make the artifacts expressive was creating dynamic motions of each character; thus, most “Expressive Entities'' are kinetic-based interactive designs. In relation to human approach or influences, the digital entities engage them through an interplay of ‘attraction and repulsion’, and ‘playfulness and defensiveness’. In essence, these dualities of characters through contrasting relationships can be found throughout “Expressive Entities”. They are used to build paradoxical connections in Human-Computer Interaction between how the digital entities evoke strong emotions and how that could build self-reflections and connect with other people. A further intent of these interactions is to create a playful environment within the living spaces. Thus, ludic engagement can define one of the main characteristics of “Expressive Entities” These engagements continued to develop in opening affective experiences through everyday artifacts’ functions and meanings from a speculative design perspective.

Moreover, my research explores how interactive designs built through an artistic approach could shape our experience outside of a museum, and how this interaction can be found in everyday life through ordinary artifacts. How will everyday people react and how can such knowledge be leveraged in developing speculative yet experiential designs, and expressive yet usable interactive arts? In this space, I explore "Poetic Engagements with Technology" to open new aesthetics and creative interaction possibilities with ordinary artifacts by combining artistic creation's unique sensibilities with utilitarian product's functional features. As such, I view creatively designed artifacts as an integrative role that actively engages our everyday life and constitutes a mixture of the pragmatic and the aesthetic. I intend to covey thoughtful metaphors by creating provocative and meaningful embodiments in designing poetic quality in Human-Computer Interaction. My conceptual framework focuses on creating visceral and sensual interactions with four themes (Expressive, Felt, Mediative, and Ludic Tech) in my design exploration, considering the sociocultural and psychological effects on people's emotions and behavior.