Artist Kwon Byung-jun, the winner of the Korea Artist Prize 2023, orchestrates a live theater populated by his own robots programmed with open-source software and 3D printing. Courtesy of MMCA

Sound and media artist Kwon Byung-jun has been named the winner of the Korea Artist Prize 2023, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA) announced Thursday.Kwon, who started out as a singer-songwriter in the early 1990s, transitioned into the role of a hardware engineer and researcher specializing in experimental electronic musical instruments and stage devices for performing arts in 2005.For the Korea Artist Prize 2023 exhibition this year, he curated a live theater featuring his own robots, lovingly dubbed his “band members.”Kwon’s mechanical actors are a stark departure from their industrial counterparts, which are designed purely for utility and efficiency. In fact, his machines — such as “Ochetuji CASINOSITEKINGCOM Ladderbot” (2022) and “Robot Crossing a Single Line Bridge” (2023) — are programmed to laboriously crawl across the floor in circles, perpetually prostrate themselves or even perform a solo Korean fan dance.“These robots, engaging in seemingly useless actions, share an uncanny resemblance with us humans,” the show’s curator Lee Soo-yon remarked. “At the same time, they challenge the utility-driven mindset of industrial society that impacts human workers.”

The jury commended Kwon’s pieces for their “sense-stimulating approach to post-humanistic philosophy present throughout the contemporary era, applying a superb, synesthetic form of theater to an age-old theme in art: questions of scientific, technological developments and humanity,” according to the museum.Since 2012, the Korea Artist Prize, co-organized by the MMCA and SBS Foundation, has drawn up a shortlist of four individuals or teams every year who present new visions for the country’s contemporary art.This year marks the return of the award after it underwent extensive reform, including an increase in the cash prize given to each of the shortlisted creatives from 40 million won ($30,100) to 50 million.While past iterations exclusively showcased the participants’ most recent works at the museum, the exhibition now features both their new and earlier pieces, offering a more thorough insight into their oeuvre. The final jury review process has been overhauled to include open discussion sessions among the judges, artists and members of the public.The finalists for the latest edition were Kwon, Lee Kang-seung, Gala Porras-Kim and Jun So-jung.The exhibition featuring the works of the four artists runs through March 31 at the MMCA’s 카지노사이트킹 Seoul branch.

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