My work reconfigures boundary materials—fencing, glass and plastic windows, sheetrock walls—to expand and explore a variety of liminal spaces: spaces between inside and outside, sculpture and drawing, image and object, vision and what we see.
A walk through the gallery in You Are Here. Soo Sunny Park, Photo-kinetic Grid, 2018, brazed chain link fence, acrylic tiles, video cameras, projectors, and light, dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist, commissioned by North Carolina Museum of Art
The central form of Photo-kinetic Grid is built out of welded chain link fencing, filled with see-through silver plastic tiles hand-tied in place with stainless steel wire. Several projectors throw images of the grid back onto itself.
Soo Sunny Park at work on her kinetic sculpture
NCMA art handlers preparing the work for exhibition
Light is an elusive liminal being, and in recent work, such as in the NCMA exhibition You Are Here: Light, Color, and Sound Experiences, I have tried to use light as a sculptural material alongside the more concrete stuff that usually goes into making an installation.
Here I explore kinetic sculpture in a new way. If light is a material out of which the work is made, can light be an interesting kinetic element? Can it be the only kinetic element? And would such a piece allow us to explore liminal spaces in a new way?
The central form of Photo-kinetic Grid is built out of welded chain link fencing, filled with see-through silver plastic tiles tied in place by stainless steel wire. Several projectors throw images of the grid back onto itself. The projectors are the primary light source for the work, and these projected images are, in turn, bounced onto the walls, ceiling, and floor of the gallery.
When you project an image of something onto itself, however, you change it. That produces a new image, which is also captured by the cameras and thrown back at the central form. The result is a feedback loop among the cameras, projectors, and the reflective grid.
Feedback loops like these are inherently unstable. It’s as if the cameras and projectors are trying to capture something, but in the act of doing so, they change it. The tiles are just reflective silver mirrors, so they have no local color. All of the color is generated by the strained camera-projector cycles in which subtle chromatic cues are enhanced by rapid feedback of visible light. Small movements of the grid, and even the reflections of spectators in the tiles, can also affect the loop and thus the form of the installation.
The work here is not just the fence and plastic, or the projectors, cameras, and light, but the living assemblage of all of them.
The work here is not just the fence and plastic, or the projectors, cameras, and light, but the living assemblage of all of them. In that sense this is a kinetic work, in constant, evolving motion, even though most of its concrete parts are still.
This piece also opens up new liminal spaces for investigation. Cameras produce images that could ordinarily be nothing but records of what something else is like. Deployed like this, however, the image plays an important part in making the work what it is. The kinetic feedback opens up that unstable space between images as records and images as things that change the world. To me it’s reminiscent of how frustrating it can be trying to understand ourselves. As we try to do so, we change, and so we’re moving targets. We want to occupy the liminal space between ourselves as a thing to be understood and as the very thing trying to gain understanding.