1 Jan 2004

Young-Hae Chang

Heavy Industries

Based in Seoul, South Korea, YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES combines text with jazz to create Web-based New Media work. Young Hae Chang and Marc Voge strip away interactivity, graphics, photos, illustrations, banners and colors and all but the Monaco font to leave viewers with language and sound.


Hello - Image taken from Tate.org.uk .

It's a simple technique that cuts across the lines separating digital animation, motion graphics, experimental video, i-movies, and e-poetry. To them it's Web art.

They are writing in three different languages, English, Korean, and French. Each one comes with a full bagage of history and culture. Language is the essence of the Internet, the real gateway to using the Web.

To write, read, and chat in English on the internet is to implicitly justify a certain history. Certain governments don't ban or burn books anymore, they prevent access to the web, meaning they justify a different history than the one YHCHI does by using English.
So their choice of language is probably the biggest historical influence on their work.

It's pretty obvious that the 'tone' or 'voice' of internet literature is more distant and difficult to 'locate' than traditional writing. Mere book packaging tells a lot about the book and the author; browser packaging is generic. Internet writers can either see this as a problem or welcome it as a relief from the critical fashion of reading biography into every aspect of literature.

They can't and won't help readers to 'locate' them. Distance, homelessness, anonymity, and insignificance are all part of the Internet literary voice, and they welcome them.

There isn't much critical writing yet on web writing. One reason is that it's a young medium. Another is that it's not taken very seriously (i.e., there's no money in it). Still another is that it's more satisfying to create than to criticize.

There's a tendency to read quickly on the internet. Speed is everything, and densely written texts, be they creative or critical, seem to make the reader anxious – maybe because of the phone bill. Then again, maybe another reason for the dearth of critical Web writing is that there's nothing to criticize – Web writing might not be very good.

An interview with YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES by Thom Swiss