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Technology and Art, a Liberal Arts Course Like No Other

Art can be intimidating. Upon entering the “white cube,” a term suggesting the closed-off space for exhibitions, we sometimes feel uneasy by the contained atmosphere and worry about how to appreciate the artwork. Even for the art lover, the inner workings of an exhibition can be obscure. Knowing the details of how an exhibition is conceived and presented can ease the fear of the unknown.

Technology and Art, a liberal arts course hosted by the Faculty of Liberal Education, is designed to accomplish exactly this. Throughout the course, participants take part in hands-on group activities centered on creating their own artwork and planning its exhibition. The weekly lectures provide an overview of the inner workings of an art museum and the exhibition process. An additional session features a talk by an invited contemporary artist. To facilitate group interaction in the face of COVID-19, the course is conducted following a hybrid method, with the first half conducted via Zoom and the second half at the university art museum with measures implemented to lower classroom density.

Creating and exhibiting an artwork is a challenging prospect especially for students majoring in fields other than art. However, Professor Sujung Lee (Faculty of Liberal Education) guides the participants by focusing on storytelling. Groups are initially formed based on students answering a simple question about their current personal interests. The issues differ by semester but usually cover topics such as media, health, relationship, career, and consumption. The groups engage in lively discussion to materialize the concept into their own work. “I had a good time and deepened my thoughts on the theme of relationship through discussions with my team members,” said Hyuk Chan Seo (Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development) who participated in Fall, 2021.

Through the discussion sessions, the groups agree upon how to present their theme. After establishing their main message and deciding on what materials and methods to use, each team moves on to craft their work. “Dream In Tree (Entry),” one of the more memorable of the semester’s pieces, featured group members’ books and other objects that they used to prepare for their futures. Discussing this, Professor Lee explained that “the shadow of these objects eventually resembled an image of a tree, visually alluding to the future branching out before them.” After the crafting is over, the students display their artwork at the University Cultural Center where the works are exhibited for a week.

Dream In Tree (Entry), 2020
Dream In Tree (Entry), 2020

Although participating in lively discussions, creating one’s own artwork, and listening to lectures may be a lot of work to do in one semester, at the end participants proudly exhibit their hard work and appreciate the work of other groups. Seo recommends the course to all students who long for a meaningful group experience with members from various majors. “For a senior student like me who has to take other demanding major courses, participating in this class was especially pleasant, since it helped me interact with other students and learn more about art and art exhibitions.” Have you also been interested in art but haven’t yet had the chance to explore its inner workings? This course will be the one that will enrich your next semester with unforgettable memories.

Written by Jaeyong lee, SNU English Editor, moonn6pence@snu.ac.kr
Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, tlsmith@snu.ac.kr