[ISEA2019] Artist Statement: Oliver Griem – divine mercy

Artist Statement

Installation & multi channel video.

For several years I was living just a few 100 meters away from the Yongsan US- army base. The army base covers about 2.6 square kilometers and is located near the Han river right in the middle of Seoul. The helicopters going back and forth between the Yongsan garrison and other US-army bases where a daily routine. Every time tensions got complicated between North- and South-Korea, the fear that war could brake out also was a part of every day live.
In the Yongsan army base facebook-feed I came across an advertisement that announced the screening of a documentary called “the original image of divine mercy” at Yongsan army base. The documentary deals with a painting that originates from the visions of catholic saint Maria Kowalska, it shows Jesus with red and white light rays emerging from his heart. The image for the facebook announcement however didn’t show the original painting, but showed an US soldier in combat gear on the ground looking at a Chinook transport helicopter that hovers in front of an orange sunset. That advertisement gave a main inspiration for creating this work.
My work shows an imagined part of the Yongsan garrison. Some soldiers are enjoying a bbq meal, others are sitting in front of their computers dreaming, children in halloween costumes are running around for trick & treat. There is a part of the Korean neighborhood, where a Korean right wing protester build his tent on the street waving a Korean & American flag. Above all a chinook helicopter hovers in the air. A guy in halloween costume with gas-mask leaning out the side-door. Most of the soldiers on the ground are astonished and staring at the hovering helicopter, one of them is opening his arms in expectation of a holy miracle.

  • Oliver Griem is a media artist who lives and works in South Korea. He is currently teaching moving-image and interactive-media at Hongik University in Seoul. In the beginning of the 90’s, while working as video editor for documentary, music-video and television he studied media-design at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne (KHM). Through his graduate work at the KHM, a documentary feature called ‘Parallel Worlds – observations in South Korea’, he got interested in South Korean culture and moved there in 1995. Then he began to also work on electronic scenography for theatre and dance performances and multi channel video installations. After 2000, he started to work with max/msp/jitter and over the years he produced several interactive works and immersive installations that use sound, video and light. An archive of his work can be seen at the website below.  fischkalb.com