Through diverse media, my work discusses the scientific inquiry on rising sea levels and the more significant implications of everyday behavior in society leading to climate change. A technique essential to my practice is producing still-life paintings and objects that can better communicate information to the public. By using still-life techniques in paintings from observing site-specific and site-responsive installations, I explore how the environment, society, and culture are linked with the issues of climate change. The still-life paintings and objects are the product of a space defined by my perceptions and experiences concerning particular objects in space and time. They are a carefully constructed reality that manifests the way in which I relate to the world.
The issues of climate change in my works are conceptualized in terms of causes and effects, which have long-term implications. The repercussion might be felt in places and times which are remote from their origins. They do not unfold uniformly but demonstrate thresholds that lead to some dramatic changes which are difficult to anticipate. The theory of entanglement is central to ways of understanding the issues of climate change and its environmental challenges in my works. “Entanglement means thinking about environmental issues as complex and multi-layered.” A key figure in social science thinking around the questions raised by such entanglements is the philosopher Bruno Latour. Entanglement can be understood as the relationship between human and environment, which influences each other. Following the work of Latour and the Geographer Doreen Massey, it is through entanglement that climate change connects to the interdependence between human and environment which is the key to global environmental issues. Latour argues that the feeling of crisis comes from the fact that we don’t have the politics and sufficient knowledge to absorb the new climatic regime. He suggests that only a new body politic inclusive of non-humans will open up the possibility of sustaining life on our earth. Latour and Massey’s notion of entanglement is important for thinking about my subject matter because it draws attention to the influence of human activities on the world. Unlike Latour and Massey, Ian Hodder, an archaeologist draws somewhat different conclusions. In his essay “The Entanglement of Humans and Things: A Long-Term View,” Hodder notes that “human and things co-constitute each other, human existence, and social life depend on material things and are entangled with them; humans and things are relationally produced.”
My research explores Latour’s notion of entanglement between humans and nature, and Hodder’s reliance on humans and things on each other. My research seeks to understand whether they are both entirely compatible and complement each other. While Latour acknowledges that human and things are codependent and interrelated, Hodder recognizes mutual coexistence. Through my paintings and objects, I take viewers on a journey to experience the notions of entanglement. The complicated environment-society entanglements create significant consequences in climate change.
Moon Hee Kim