YOUNG-HAE CHANG

장영혜중공업

Heavy Industries
dakota

YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES DAKOTA

source: conferenceeliteratureorg
In this paper I discuss Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries’ digital poem Dakota. I discuss how the poem controls the reader’s experience and how this control affects its possible interpretations. The control is mostly executed by limiting the reader’s freedom over reading. Reading time, direction and duration are determined by the poem. It is only possible to start the poem, but not rewind, stop or fast-forward it. Furthermore, the manipulation of speed affects reading in many ways. In the fast extreme the effect is illegibility, but more subtly used speed creates varieties of emphasis and de-emphasis. The effect of emphasis of this kind, I argue, creates different layers of readings and invites re-reading. These different readings require different cognitive modes, which mirror our contemporary reading habits. Not being in control of the reading process also leads to a scattered sense of unity, one of postmodernism’s essential traits. While reading the poem I also question why I read as I do, and by doing so I hope to present more general traits of how to approach digital literature..
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source: wikipedia
Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries (장영혜중공업) is a Seoul-based Web art group consisting of Young-hae Chang and Marc Voge. The group formed in 1999. Young-Hae Chang, is a Korean artist and translator with a Ph.D in aesthetics from Universite de Paris I. Marc Voge is an American poet who lives in Seoul.

Their work, presented in 20 languages, is characterized by text-based animation composed in Adobe Flash that is highly synchronized to a musical score that is often original and typically jazz. In 2000, YHCHI’s work was recognized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for its contribution to online art. The group uses “Monaco” as the font for all their work, because they liked the way the name sounded. In 2001 the group was awarded a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists. Their solo show, “Black On White, Gray Ascending”, a seven-channel installation, was part of the inaugural opening of the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, in 2007. They are 2012 Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Creative Arts Fellows.

According to the artists, their piece Dakota “is based on a close reading of Ezra Pound’s Cantos I and first part of II.” Their pieces are characterized by speed, references to film, concrete poetry, etc. Their work is sometimes called digital literature or net art, but there is no consensus.
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source: iloveepoetry
The earliest snapshot of YHCHI’s website by the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine was in August 16, 2000, listing “The Struggle Continues” as the first of 5 works with numerous translated versions. As they added to the list of works, the order of the works varied, shifting according to logic that is difficult to discern. The February 2, 2001 snapshot is the first appearance of “Dakota” both on the site, and at the top of the list, where it has remained to this day.

Why is this important?

Because, as revealed in their interview, it “is based on a close reading of Ezra Pound’s Cantos I and first part of II.” The significance of this is that they are aligning their work with the first part of an important Modern epic, which in turn is referencing a scene from The Odyssey in which they invoke the spirits of the dead to speak to them.

The message is clear: Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries wrote “Dakota” to signal that they are launching an epic with their website, and are invoking Ezra Pound, Marilyn Monroe, Richard Ellman, Art Blakey (whose ritualistic “Tobi Ilu” piece graces the soundtrack) and other dead cultural icons to inform their project. After all, every epic must begin with an invocation of the muses…