Hoyun Son: Unspoken_Boston_SIGGRAPH (Unspoken_Series)

  • ©, Hoyun Son, Unspoken_Boston_SIGGRAPH (Unspoken_Series)



Unspoken_Boston_SIGGRAPH (Unspoken_Series)


SIGGRAPH 2006: Electronically Mediated Performances


Site-specific interactive public performance



Artist Statement:

This performance piece includes three municipal safety vests embedded with 840 red and green LEDs in each to show 24 characters per vest. The LEDs are the kind that are generally used to display information in public spaces: crosswalk signals, commuter information, and consumer advertising.

The messages on the front and back of the vests relate to the psy­chology of the individual within a specific public space. They are the secret thoughts that we urgently hide in public. Instead of expressing those inner thoughts, it is common for people to avoid eye contact and other forms of communication when in close proximity to others. People focus on public information or advertising rather than connecting with other people.

In an earlier version of this work, vests were worn by three individu­als who rode an evening commuter train in Chicago. The vests said: “I want to fart … make me happy.” “Took my seat … I am not happy!” “Look you are trapped … are you happy?”

In this version, I changed two of the messages to reflect thoughts that attendees might type into a computer inquiry during SIGGRAPH 2006: “Took my idea … I am not happy!” “This is crap … Are you happy?”

Technical Information:

There is a “flow” to Hoyun Son’s materials. There is no hi-tech or lo-tech to her constructions. They channel a desire to create. Instead of merely creating function, they question function. Hoyun Son uses her hands to crochet circuits into the vests, or to stencil words on vests. Technology is politicized and contextualized within time. Crocheting was considered technology centuries ago upon invention, and cir­cuits are currently technology as well, but landline phones are slowly becoming antiquated. Hoyun Son combines different ages within the material to create and overturn notions of time and function, which channels the energy of creativity and, in a sense, creates spontaneity of unification.