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Seoul Studio Kimchi and Chips sculpt with light

Seoul Studio Kimchi and Chips sculpt with light to create Halo. The installation forms a circle of light suspended in the air above the Edmond J Safra Courtyard at Somerset House, created by an array of 99 robotic mirrors which track the sun. Each mirror draws a beam of sunlight into the mist of water. Together the straight beams are shaped together to draw a circle.

Seoul based art studio kimchi and chips are known for manipulating space with intangible matter. Atmospheric sculptures are created using projected light, lines or pixels. The studio presents their latest installation HALO at the Somerset House in London as a continuation of their ongoing series, “Drawing in the air”. Natural sunlight is used as a medium to sculpt form which exists between material and immaterial.

Founded by Mimi Son and Elliot Woods, Kimchi and Chips redirects the sun’s rays with over 100 motorized mirrors. These mirrors, arrayed across two 4 meter high towers and one 15 meter long track, move in line with the sun throughout the day. With these mirrors, natural sunlight is sculpted to take the form of a halo, floating in mid-air and made visible by fine water jets in a cloud of mist. This is the first time that kimchi and chips work with entirely natural, rather than artificial light. Because the visibility of the ethereal halo is entirely dependent on the strength of the sun, the sculpture is in a constant state of flux.

The studio creates actions which superimpose material and immaterial modes of existence, suggesting new technical and artistic attitudes. These actions actualise fictional realities as physical experiences, often employing digital light and computation to manipulate physical space.

 

Beside the courtyard is an open studio where the concepts and technology behind the installation are on display. Various prototypes and sketches are on display as well. Kimchi and Chips collaborated with the scientific research division of London based Improbable Worlds Limited to develop a mathematical model and virtual simulation of each mirror. In order to achieve a clear halo, each mirror was given a set of parameters which accomodate for its unique position, rotation, axis offsets and polynomial correction parameters. The studio had documented the making of HALO.

The studio has two main founders and is based in Seoul, South Korea.

Elliot Woods (UK) is a digital media artist from Manchester. He tests possible futures between humans and visual design technologies (e.g. cameras, projectors, computation). Towards this goal, Elliot co-founded Kimchi and Chips, an experimental art studio based in Seoul with Mimi Son. He applies his academic studies in physics to produce sense-able phenomena from abstract domains.

Elliot is a contributor to the openFrameworks project (a ubiquitous toolkit for creative coding), and an open source contributor to the VVVV platform. His code is available open source and for free on GitHub.

Mimi Son was born in Seoul where currently she lives and works. She remembers her vivid childhood fascinated by father’s painting and musical talent which led her into experimenting with materials and drawing.

An obsession with geometry and Buddhist philosophy inspires her to articulate space and time from various perspectives. This continuous experiment has allowed her to create installation that aims to depict an intersection of art and technology, material and immaterial, real and virtual, presence and absence.

Over the past decade she has worked as a designer, professor, storyteller, curator, and artistic director in various countries and institutions.  She completed her master degree on Digital Media Art and Design at Middlesex University and Interaction Design at CIID. She is currently the Adjunct Professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul and mostly working in her studio, Kimchi and Chips.

They formed in 2009 to combine the disciplines of code, form, material, concept and mechanism. Since then, they have created installations and dialogues which have been exhibited on four continents, developing natural interactions between people, nature and the possibilities of the digital network.

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