Jung-Chul Hur is a Korean media artist, curator and academic. He has a Visual Communication Design background from Konkuk University, Chungju, Korea. He started to produce experimental moving images after joining an MA in Visual Communication course at the Kent Institute of Art & Design (renamed as UCA: University for the Creative Arts), Maidstone, in the UK between 1999 and 2000.
His experimental videos have been shown at over 150 international festivals, galleries and on TV stations in Asia, Europe and South and North America. His video works have been shown at Video Lisboa Festival (Portugal 2001); Bangor New Music Festival (UK 2002); ‘Breakthrough’, Smithsonian Institute (USA 2003); Microwave Media Art Festival (Hong Kong 2004); Media Art Friesland Festival (Netherlands 2005); Curtas Vila do Conde Film Festival (Portugal 2006); Vienna Independent Shorts (Austria 2007); OPTICA Festival (Spain 2008); Irpen Film Festival (Ukraine 2009); In Out Festival (Poland 2010); Video Art Festival Miden (Greece 2011); Thinking MEDIA (Korea 2012); Athens Video Art Festival (Greece 2013); Festival Images Contre Nature (France 2014); Festival Cinema Libre (Germany 2015); Experiments in Cinema Film Festival (USA 2016); Video Festival VideoMedeja (Serbia 2017). Jung-Chul’s videos have been broadcasted on several Asian and European TV stations, including MTV Asia, Channel [V] Thailand, Okto TV (Channel 8, Austria) and Souvenirs From Earth TV (European Cable Network, Germany).
His digitally produced artist’s books entitled Element, Element 1 and Element 2 are in several permanent collections, including the special collection of the National Art Library at the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Tate Library at the Tate Britain in London, UK.
As an academic he has over 15 years teaching experience at universities, in media art and design related international courses, in Southeast and East Asian countries. He is currently lectures on the BFA Media Arts program, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), Thailand.
Jung-Chul Hur, a still from Frantic 2015, 2015, single channel video, 5 minutes 21 seconds, color, sound
This film was created in 2015 as a work with continuity with the artist’s one of earlier video pieces entitled Frantic which produced in 2004. It was intentionally made to have the same length and similar format between the two works.
In 2004, the artist visited the location of the film, a seacoast town in Samut Prakan province, in Thailand, called Bang Poo, a well-known place for birdwatching, having an abundance of migratory seagulls, completely by chance. Over 10 years after the first visit, the artist made his second visit and returned to the same place in 2015. The place has become more and more popular over the years, attracting a large number of visitors across all generations. People feed the flock of birds giving their own leftovers and the animals take their food with their beaks as they fly. Birds show an extreme frantic reaction in their instinctive response to those irresistible banquets. The artist filmed thousands of countless seagulls while they flew around and entertain the viewers. The original footage was digitally processed and manipulated, and, through creating mirrored imagery, alluding to a kaleidoscopic whole onto the newly transformed images. The subsequent results show film spectators to another visual spectacle of perfect symmetry, radiation and visual dynamics that cannot be created by birds in its natural state, but only exists in the digital form.
The sounds involved in this work have two distinct elements which were recorded at the same time as images were filmed. The first one is, the sounds of birds crying in response to foods, or perhaps sounds as their own communication. The other one is the voices of people watching gulls, conversations among people, and shouts for the visual spectacles that birds creating. Thai viewers of the film will recognize some voices in this work, as they are some bits of a conversation between a father and a child, shouting mainly about the birds flying sequences and their visually striking performance. The sounds of birds that humans cannot understand and the voices of the humans that birds will not even know, match together, and somehow these two very different sound elements seem to fuse well, with a subtle and synchronized effect with the kaleidoscopic imagery.
The seagulls in this part of the world are said to migrate between Mongolia and Thailand every year, from October to May. Seagulls are long-lived species. The lifespan vary from species to species, but it is said to be about 15 to 30 years. Just by contemplating the birds, the artist wondered if there was any of them who have returned or existed when he visited the place in 2004. Perhaps there are some or probably many. As the birds’ migration also shows one of the most characteristics of our human nature, the return. We always return to our birthplaces and, or, meaningful places we have found throughout our lifespan. Some will manage to revisit the significant places while some others would never be able to return to the place where they were happy or simply born. Perhaps we are not so different to the life of this birds.
The film takes a benign view towards the subject allowing the viewer to identify the frenetic activity. The artist also wishes that this piece could be a space where viewers visit and experience a unique audio-visual marvel. As the birds will continue return to the same location again and again, the artist and his camera also plan further visits to the place, he hopes that he will be able to make a visit to the location every 10 years, carrying on his continual audio-visual experimentations with the same subject.