FITC is a gathering at the intersection between design, technology and art. Both attendees and speakers often cross this intersection themselves, and Sougwen Chung is no exception. Although she is clearly from the direction of art, her work is spread over a wide range of media. In her session, she talked about how this made her conscious about her relationship with technology, and how the medium influences the message.
Sougwen spends a lot of time in front of screens, as most of us do. It’s easy to get lost in the digital world, and digital is often the default mode for creative output. Despite the connected nature of the digital world, Sougwen felt disconnected. She called this screen fatigue, and it left her with a desire to break out of the frame; to return to the tactile sense and immediacy of the physical world.
This was far from a complete departure however, as a lot of her work combines the digital with the physical. A recent example she talked about was Chiaroscuro, an installation commissioned by the Mapping Festival in Geneva last year. In this project, projection mapping was used to augment and enrich her drawings, creating a complex interplay between the intuitive and the algorithmic; between the old and the new.
She explored similar themes with Experiments in Light and Form. Here, she used paper as a physical substitute for low-poly digital art. The project explored structures that can be made using the properties of paper, and enhanced those structures with motion and light. This gives the final composition a certain depth and authenticity which would be impossible to achieve using digital tools.
Her work predominantly features abstract forms that trigger experiences in the viewer. Her style is influenced in part by her background as a violinist. For Sougwen, the violin is a very gestural and physical instrument. These same properties can be seen throughout her work, as even her paintings seem in perpetual flux. It is quite remarkable how she manages to convey the same aesthetic across such a wide range of media.
Sougwen’s talk invited everyone to engage with the process: to think about how the tools we use influence the product, and how they influence us. Using paper, doodling and drawing can be a boon to your creative output in more ways than you might expect.