Viktor Jan: Flower

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Creation Year:



Artist Statement:

    Although Viktor Jan’s Flower may seem like an interloper among the many data sculptures and media representations appearing in this exhibition, it provides a contrast from the other works by focusing on how data can spur the creation and loss of natural entities. Inspired by the poem “Flower,” by one of South Korea’s leading poets of the late 20th century (Kim Ch’un-Su), the flower “blooms” or comes to life in a dark environment, when visitors whisper into its microphone, or when it senses data streams on local networks. Unlike a natural flower, Jan’s flower awakens in the evening and will never come to life unless someone calls its name. Flower reacts to the idea of “the gaze” in digital space, where people online are always vying for more views, likes, and mentions.

    Until I spoke his name,

    he had been

    no more than a mere gesture.


    When I spoke his name,

    he came to me

    and became a flower.


    Now speak my name,

    one fitting this colour and odour of mine,

    as I spoke his name,

    so that I may go to him

    and become his flower.


    We all wish

    to become something.

    You to me and I to you

    wish to become an unforgettable gaze [4].


    The work operates in a similar fashion to internet chat rooms, which are often most active in the evening hours when people are up late at night or home from a busy day at work and can finally contribute to the global online discussions. Flower, in effect, directly correlates to the variety of activities that take place online and out of sight. Flower only comes to life when people interact with it, which is similar to the phenomenon of Web 2.0, where databases and interfaces for cataloguing large amounts of data are created, and then wait for the general public to populate them with everything from personal photos to endless chatter. Maybe it is precisely this seemingly endless amount of data that either encourages us to be more creative or inspires us to challenge its use and purpose.