Kwon Byung Jun





Kwon ByungJun started his artistic career in the early 1990s as a singer-songwriter. Kwon’s oeuvre consists not only of six music albums whose genres range from alternative rock to minimal house, but also of musical operations and performative acts on the diverse platforms of movie soundtracks, theatre, fashion show and modern dance. He spent the late 2000s in the Netherlands studying sonology and working as a hardware engineer at STEIM, a research center for new musical instruments in the electronic performing arts. Since returning to Korea in 2011, he has developed and secured a certain niche in contemporary (visual) art in which he deploys his characteristic sound and media.

 

In Hiroshima, Kwon presents an installation of eight speakers that use the ambisonic technique. This new piece, entitled The Bell, stems from the artist’s interest in traditional Korean Buddhist bells that generate low-frequency echoes whose sounds ring longer than the bells of any other country. This unique phenomenon called the “MacNoRi” is made possible by the asymmetrical structure of bells, whose details are still being studied by sonologists. For this installation in Hiroshima, the artist field-recorded both Korean and Japanese bells and combine the documentation with the bell’s reverberating resonance. The electronically generated MacNoRi is made more immersive through the ambisonic technique employed by Kwon and thus convey the beat frequencies as one possible form of Asian harmony.

The reverberations of the modified piano strings reverberate towards the city of Taipei, from the exhibition space located on a hillside just outside of the city. The old piano, which had long been neglected outside to house thousands of insects, has been transformed by the documentary Is This a Musical Instrument? into a new instrument, which makes sound by moving slightly instead of hitting the strings. Eight tunes, composed with the modified piano's timbre, are played every hour from the two horn speakers located on the rooftop of the exhibition space.

Kwon Byung Jun was born in Seoul, Korea, in 1971. He began his musical career as a singer-songwriter in the early 1990s and released six albums ranging from alternative rock to minimal house. In the following decade, Kwon composed and performed music that used self-made sound devices for films, fashion shows, dance, theater and traditional Korean music performances. Living in the Netherlands from 2005 on, he has worked as a hardware engineer for STEIM and an electronic instrument R&D centre. He returned to Korea in 2011 and has been active as a media artist and related hardware developer, working beyond the boundaries of genre in areas ranging from contemporary art to experimental electro-acoustic music. In workshops with young artists focusing on new instruments and stage devices, he organizes new media performances generating distinct scenes. Kwon is currently an adjunct professor at SoGang University.