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Exhibit offers rhythmic visual choreography


The art exhibition now running at Seoul Institute of the Arts, Ansan campus, has a seemingly contradictory sounding title, "Fertile Confusion."
Presented at the show, commissioned to inaugurate the school`s new Art & Technology Center, is American poet, photographer and playwright Janet Sternburg.
The exhibition utilizes the building`s Neo-Cubist architecture to present Sternburg`s photographs as prints, projections and on monitors where different sequences create a rhythmic visual choreography.
The exhibition includes a three-story glass facade designed by video artist Ed Purver on which Janet Sternburg`s images are projected in rising and dimming patterns of light.
When asked to narrow her field to one, Sternburg said, "I used to think I had to define myself to one area because many times people and the market say you have to. But life does not have a razor-edge clarity and is a `fertile confusion` without boundaries."
Her works are just that, in fact -- a perplex photopoem rich with layers of imagery, where there are no boundaries between inside and outside, or solid and fluid or the past and present.
"Defining what I do is not as important as developing a way of seeing and this exhibition is about a way of seeing and perceiving," said Sternburg, a professor of creative writing at California Institute of the Arts.
Her photos seem like digital juxtapositions of many images but Sternburg actually uses disposable cameras and chooses not to make any manipulations.
She achieves the multi-exposure effect by photographing reflections on glass.
"I like the word `reflection` in all its meanings," said Sternburg, whose works make the viewer reflect on the multiple layers of experience within a moment.
The reflective process is further enhanced by Sternburg`s poetry projected on and off one side of the photos.
Exhibition producer Soh Jae-young said, "You will see here, multi-everything. We`re taking a simple analog photograph and showing it using print, on digital monitors, through projection and on a huge glass using sunlight as well as artificial light."
The event is a collaboration of Sternburg, New York media artist Ed Purver and professors at SeoulArts. President of SeoulArts and project commissioner Duk-hyung Yoo said, "For us, this is a part of our on-going experiment to create a new genre of arts where the analog meets the digital, where elements of space, sound and time merge together as they interconnect, intermingle and integrate in multi-concept to emerge as an inter-disciplinary new form of arts."
As with any good exhibit, a verbal description is not the way to see. You have to see it for yourself to experience the ways of seeing. The exhibition continues until May 18, and upcoming international tours will be announced. For more information visit:
Janet Sternburg`s photography has been exhibited in one-person shows in New York, Los Angeles, Mexico, Berlin, Heidelberg, Munich and now Seoul, as well as in portfolios in Aperture and Art Journal. She is also a poet and memoirist.
By Cecily Kwon/Special to the Korea Herald

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