In comparison to a perfect circle, why would an irregular Moon jar (15C Korean porcelain) feel more aesthetical? Such feeling comes from when the thing is slightly and subtly atypical, rather than how it completely deviates from the perfect shape. It is probably because we could sense that creator’s obscured hard work and attitude longs to get closer to perfection but is eventually unable to.
The process is right there. Whatever it is, in order for a ‘thing’ to become a ‘thing’, someone’s time and effort always exists as a form of ‘process’. Originally, it was natural for the completeness of the outcome to be proportional to the time and effort. However, we are now living in an era that does not operate like that anymore. Not only did the remarkable development of modern technology initiate output of infinite possibilities but it also resulted in many processes befalling to something even more simple and flat.
Pure pleasure from the simplest of labors done by the human hand, the sense of achievement acquired through time and effort being poured, reflection through irreversible mistakes in addition to the longing for unintended beauty expressed through said mistakes - these things have been the essence of this work for the past five years. Both the general production process and the format has been reconstructed in a more personal and exaggerated way, once again, making the process “thicker” to show how the results are incapable of being replicated through machinery. ‘A Very Personal Methodology of Crafting the Graphic’, a project which started 5 years ago, has been gradually added/expanded every year. Through this ever-changing process, graphics have been ‘crafted’ solely by human hands.
Phase One_Typeface 2016-2017
The first ever challenge in ‘crafting’ the graphic is the ‘typeface’. The two most essential elements of letters are the ‘readability’ and the ‘writability’ of said letters. However, the ‘typeface’ is a special character in itself that, on one hand, it is readable, but on the other, impossible to replicate in written form. The act of ‘writing’ is carried out without consciousness, almost instinctual and visceral to begin with. Though the predetermined characteristic such as shape, ratio, and lines of the fixed typeface can be ‘drafted’ and ‘drawn’, typefaces cannot be ‘written’ in a wholly humanistic act that instinctively conjoins line by line. In order to physically write these typefaces, Bodoni, as a typeface, was selected to be dismantled. In addition to the dismantling process, a specific system was created to accompany the tool (machine) that was made to actually ‘write’ the typeface. Each letter goes through manual labor, which takes about 30 minutes. It takes a copious amount of both time and effort to perfect the writing. However, in the end, the subtle difference when recreating the letter ‘A’ at different times is something that cannot be intentionally replicated as it is an aesthetic that can only be produced through the unpredictability of human themselves.
view the type writer_ http://eelijoos.com/#/865004006353/
Phase Two_Paper 2018-2019
The next step of the process was the ‘paper’, which was the medium that will encapsulate the letters. Seeing a flawless paper getting sucked into the printer emulates something of perfect nature, instigating the notion of ‘easiness’. Fast and perfect, it sometimes ironically devaluates the subject, thus wasting paper every minute and second without any awareness.
This process is similar to the process in which the typeface was involved, a new system and the tool (machine) were created to produce a specific kind of paper. Starting from softening the bark of the mulberry, the paper goes through 11 steps throughout 2-3 days to become a sheet of paper with a size of 80*60. Depending on the degree of the screen and the sizing, the paper comes out with stains in addition to the smudges of the ink being subtly different. However, thanks to all this, every single paper gets its own unique features.
View the paper makier_ http://eelijoos.com/#/paper-making-machine/
Phase Three_Shape 2019
The next additional phase was “shapes”. In order to express visual communication through shapes rather than letters, ‘sewing’ was picked as a crafting method. Derived from the idea of a printer cartridge being able to move horizontally and continuously spouting ink, it can be seen as the most time-consuming step. Unlike the previous phases, a specific tool (machine) was not created, as exploring sewing techniques was the primary focus.
Final Result_Graphic 2020
The process gradually expanded to the present time where I am now crafting graphics by producing paper, writing typefaces on it, and sewing shapes. It takes about a month or so to satisfactorily finish a piece of work.
Lately, I have been preoccupied with the notion of whether the form (process) can be the content itself. To guarantee that the process is weighed heavier than the result, the contents of the result are limited to capture only the superficial meaning. Leaving the letters and the shapes as ‘signifiers’ through positioning them in a way that makes them exist only as an image was a deliberate decision. The recent series work ‘letter, line, circle, square’ shows how the morphological nature of the letters and shapes are intended to create an equivalent composition to obscure the actual meaning of the letters.
This process of mine is always in contact with the beauty of human nature’s pursuit of perfection. The ‘attitude of seeking perfection’ is not brought by a ‘perfect form’, but from a very ‘imperceptibly imperfect form’. Therefore, I am not trying to draw any creative form of an image, but instead, achieve that by using standardized typefaces, straight lines, circle, squares, etc. With those so-called standard shapes, I am intentionally expressing unintended humanity.
Some of the forms and lengthily drawn lines are clearly visible when viewed from afar; they look neat and tranquil as if drawn with a pencil. However, a closer look shows a not-so tranquil labor process as each and every stroke of a letter, individual stitches indicating a sense of space, and the density of the yarn from the weaved shapes are all indicative of intense labor.
Through positioning myself as the sole and leading producer of this project, I felt a sense of responsibility facing even the smallest moments of my work through the relationship of both myself and the process, and myself and the tool. I personally think that my attitude towards these kinds of work is related to my preexisting internal compulsion. For me, the contentment of the result is not determined only by its completed form but also from whether the moments leading up to the result were clear and controllable. I think that is similar to the reason why artisans reject trying out new and innovative tools as an approach since they cling to the things they have trained but also, are trained by the said things for a long time. The existence of computers and other machines, which I do not even understand how they work, does not seem like a tool that I can interact with. Rather, it feels like I am ‘tooling’ myself as I try to keep up with them in a one-sided relationship.
I am reminded of the time when after the Industrial Revolution, William Morris was trying to question the value of humanness and trying to detach himself from machines. As well as Bauhaus’ challenge, successfully melted both the idea of commerce and art into our lifestyle. In the era of the fourth industrial revolution, which might be more radical than its previous counterpart, it is questionable that we are having little to no discussion about preserving our own humanity in the midst of this radical change. I believe the density of the process shown through pure human labor can make a thin sheet of paper heavy. Regardless of the speed of technology, I hope that I can still continue to work with my slow and harmless pace.