Low Rez HI FI, Washington, DC, 2006

J. Meejin Yoon

Location: Boston, Massachusetts | New York, New York
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The nature of J. Meejin Yoon’s work and of her practice resists easy definition or classification. She simultaneously works as an architect, professor, artist, and occasional book and dress designer. Her professional practice consists of two entities—MY Studio in Boston, where she does solo conceptual work; and Höweler + Yoon Architecture, a multidisciplinary firm in New York she runs in partnership with Eric Höweler— that function independently and in collaboration with each other. The conceptual foundation of her work weaves all these threads together into a new kind of hybrid practice.

A passion for engaging the public and a belief in media as material are what drive Yoon’s work. Media Spill: Cast and Broadcast, her entry in a 2003 competition for the Nam June Paik Museum in Yong-In, South Korea, proposed a synthesis of the material and the immaterial. By working with the natural topography of the site and preserving the forest, the project used the required program as a catalyst to cast the residual space of the landscape. The resulting building featured a performative roof with a liquid-like surface which converts light into electricity and displays electronic images, as well as drive- and walk-through galleries where new forms of media art can be viewed. In Yoon’s vision, the museum itself became a field that is both receptacle and transmitter.

For White Noise White Light, an interactive installation created for the 2004 Athens Olympics, MY Studio’s luminous grid of flexible fiberoptic stalks inserted in a public plaza at the base of the Acropolis created a field in flux. The field responded to human presence and natural forces, creating a beautiful and evocative new landscape of light and sound choreographed by the cumulative interaction of the public.

Yoon’s fascination with the ways human presence can activate public space continues with Low Rez HI FI, the studio’s most recent public project, in downtown Washington, D.C. LEDs and interactive pin lights are installed on both vertical and horizontal planes to register movement through light and sound and to transmit information, engaging passersby in a dynamic sensory and spatial experience. By pushing the limits of conventional practice, Yoon makes sure that her own connection with the public is always in play.