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Interview: Moo Kwon Han

Season 3, Ep. 1

In this episode I talk with multi-media artist Moo Kwon Han about his recent exhibition, DRUM, at the Gyeongin Art Museum in Seoul, Korea. To make this work, he was granted access to multiple power facilities, many of them nuclear, all in South Korea. In our conversation we unravel the works in the exhibition, from the initial inspirational image of a detail of yellow drums containing radioactively contaminated clothing – a mere fraction of the total drums in this facility – all the way through to a final musical score that encapsulates both the path and the contents of the exhibition. When we see artworks in museums and galleries, it’s like looking at a lightening strike. We’re amazed by the instantaneous moment and evidence of what was created, but we really don’t understand what went into its making. In our conversation, I draw out the creative path Han followed in constructing Drum. I encourage you to look at his website before listening: https://www.hanmookwon.com/drum.

Mookwon Han was born in Gyeongju, Korea, and currently lives in New York. He has had solo shows at Kumho Museum of Art, Seoul (2017, 2020 forthcoming), Doosan Gallery New York (2009), CUE Art Foundation New York (2009), and Gyeongin (Kyung-In) Art Museum, Seoul (2000, 2019). Han’s work has been included in group exhibitions at Cube Museum, Seongnam; NY Media Center (2017); The Fondazione Filiberto Menna, Salerno, Italy; Galeria U Jezuitow, Poznan, Poland; Bund18 Creative Center, Shanghai, China; Coreana Museum, Seoul, Korea; Nation Centre for Performing Art, Asia Society Mumbai Centre, Mumbai, India; Metropolitan Pavilion, NY; David Zwirner Gallery, NY; Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery/ Asia Society Museum NYC; Unit B Gallery, San Antonio: Hoam Gallery and National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul.

​Han received an MFA from the School of Visual Arts NYC (2006), attended the Skowhegan School (2008) and participated in residencies at Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts (2015-16), Seoul Foundation for Art and Culture (2013-14), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Program (2011-12), LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island (2010), Art OMI (2009) and CUE Art Foundation(2008) and was a Smack Mellon Hot Pick. He was awarded a Korea Hydro Nuclear Power, Co. and Gyeongju Cultural Foundation Grant (2020), Puffin Foundation Grant, and New York Foundation for the Arts Artist Fellowship in Digital/Electronic Arts (2009) and joined as a review panelist (2014/2017).

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NoP: Onkalo or the Contamination of Eternity

Season 4, Ep. 5
In this lecture from The Night of Philosophy in 2019 at 05:00 am on October 06 at the New School for Social Research in New York City, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Nicolas de Warren, discusses our debt of plastic and nuclear waste. While many of us dream about augmented technology and the possibility of becoming cyborgs in the future, Dr. de Warren considers a different transformation of homo sapiens. With the prevalence, distribution and breakdown of plastics and nuclear waste into micro and nanoparticles, it is likely that we will consume so much as a species that future homo sapiens will indeed become part organic and part something else. Our waste habits produce an uncontrolled Kippleization – a term de Warren borrows from Philip K. Dick – that is guaranteed to transform the bodies of humans 100,000 years in the future. That is close to twice as long as homo sapiens have roamed the earth. The pyramids in Egypt are much younger than that, and yet the lazy gift we will saddle our descendants with will be far more cursed than the tombs of the pharaohs. In another Sci-Fi nod, this time to the Strugatsky brothers, de Warren compares us to disrespectful roadside picnickers - we have not taken from the forest everything that we brought in. Our campsite remains a mess.Nicolas de Warren is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Penn State University. He has published extensively on phenomenological subjects such as Original Forgiveness, Husserl’s Awakening to Speech, Emmanuel Levinas and the Evil of Being, Sartre’s Phenomenology of Dreaming and Towards a Phenomenological Analysis of Virtual Fictions.