»friendly patterns« is an exhibition I realized in collaboration with Sascha Pohle at art space one in Seoul in 2016.
Friendly Patterns is an attempt to negotiate the role of art in the urban renewal and regeneration process applied to the current transition of Shinheung Market, where Space One is located. The title of the show, Friendly Patterns, not only evokes association with positive „friendly“ qualities, but also implies an aberration of the expression "friendly fire" (the bombardment by one’s own troops), in which a safe zone or home is accidentally put in danger by its own inhabitants.
Entering the exhibition space, the visitor encounters artworks by Flo Maak and Sascha Pohle carefully displayed in a setting reminiscent of a typical fashion or concept store. The viewer finds in and amongst the display, a series of Pohle’s draped textiles and a monitor with Maak’s video work.
Pohle’s textiles are produced just across from Shinheung market in one of the few remaining knitting factories of Haebangchon. Each textile depicts a photograph of the market’s floor - an undescribed and mostly overlooked visual detail of our urban surrounding. The floor with its multiple layers of concrete, cracks and different shades of grey, resembles a disordered patchwork that randomly developed over a certain stretch of time. In the context of the market’s regeneration process, Pohle’s “knitted” photographs imply revaluation as a twisted notion. By means of exhibiting an urban fragment within its own spatial and temporal context, the work showcases its ambivalent status that alternates amongst artifact and consumer good, visual remainder and fashion scarf.
Maak presents video and sound work that reflect the failure of his original project. His initial attempt was to adapt a bird’s eye perspective over the roofs of Shinheung Market with a professional camera drone. Although officially permitted by the Ministry of Defense, the drone’s software recognized the market as a “restricted area” based on the GPS coordinates and automatically disabled it to fly. Due to these programmed and thus indisputable technical constraints, Maak instead used camera equipped toy drones. These cheap devices come without GPS receivers allowing them to fly anywhere. However, they are almost impossible to maneuver. This results in bumpy trajectories and video footages associated with a view of a panicking animal.
The second exhibition space on the rooftop is locked, but not empty. In front of a closed door, the viewers hear the noise of spinning rotors and the sound of an unseen inhabitant bumping around the ground, crashing against walls, door and ceiling.
Both artists' works are produced in situ. They adapt visual qualities of the market, which is then further abstracted through different technical transformation processes: Pohle’s original digital photographs, are first redrawn on the computer, and translated into the analog mesh of knitted thread. Maak’s video is a performance of a downgrade from high-end camera drone to a toy drone, from a clear overview to pixelated fragments of the space.