Submitted by Gina Cortopassi on
Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries’ [YHCHI] Artist's Statement No. 45,730,944: The Perfect Web Site is a hypermedia work consisting of flash animated text, in which the flow of words follows the rhythm of a piece of jazz music. As is the case with each of the artist duo’s projects, the user is faced with a continuous yet irregular flow of text (a single word may appear on the screen, a sequence of words may disappear rapidly, while another lingers, etc.), which in no way requires his participation. YHCHI’s aesthetic technique reminds one of what the Web used to be, viz. a flow of textual information which has little in common with the current Web 2.0 and its defining characteristic, interactivity. For the artists, the choice to eschew all forms of interactivity is not only a means of going back to the beginnings; it is the guiding principle behind their artistic process:
Our Web art tries to express the essence of the Internet: information and disinformation. Strip away the interactivity, the graphics, the design, the photos, the illustrations, the banners, the colors, the fonts and the rest, and what's left? The text (Strickland, 2006).
The use of Flash allows the artists to create animations in which data can be loaded quickly and can be displayed in full screen. The effect is stunning: the user has no control over the flow of text; his only options are to let the piece follow its course or to close the window. And yet, the user, if he lets himself be immersed in the work, is by no means passive. He becomes the machine absorbing the flow, completely hypnotized by the text, black on white, which fills the screen.
Artist's Statement No. 45,730,944: The Perfect Web Site presents the monologue of an anonymous speaker meditating on the Internet as a platform for multimedia art. It is not without irony that he questions the Web’s value:
I’ve been thinking about it now for at least the last few minutes: The newest multimedium: The Web. The biggest art space: The Web. The greatest chance to say something or to make something dumb. Or, better yet, boring. Breathtakingly boring. Deathly boring: Art.
Following this opening statement, the text flows to the rhythm of American jazzman Bud Powell’s music, and the mildly ironic discourse on net.art gives way to a biting critique of communist ideology and of North Korea’s militaristic ambitions. Thus, the user is reminded that the Web is a powerful means of expression which is not to be taken lightly.
At times, the words flow so quickly that a blink of the eye can be fatal, and many viewings are necessary in order for the user to grasp the text in its entirety. The work has a hypnotic dimension which serves its purpose, insofar as the piece’s stroboscopic character, though it may at first discourage the user, visually reinforces the intended parody of the communist regime. The overall aesthetic of YHCHI’s work suggests a parallel between the language of propaganda (through the size of the characters, the way in which words flash repeatedly on screen, the text in black-and-white), and the language of advertisement, seen as a form of writing that seeks to penetrate the mind in the most direct manner possible.
Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, it is worth mentioning, translate their works in many languages, and Artist's Statement No. 45,730,944: The Perfect Web Site is also available in English, French, Korean and Spanish.