Sjoerd and Mark and have studied the changing of a city through artificial intelligence that captures the images of an era. In this work, “Beach Umbrella”, they observe the gradual vanishing of the eponymous object and the transience of time.
Media Artist ㅣ Sjoerd ter Borg & Mark Jan van Tellingen
A Conversation on Art, Time, and Beach Umbrellas
A reminder of yesterday
Of captured of time
And dreams of tomorrow
Q: Hello this is CROWN GOOSE, I would like to introduce two artists from the Art Center Nabi Residency Exhibition—or perhaps you would like to introduce yourselves?
Sjoerd: Yes, my name is Sjoerd ter Borg from the Netherlands.
Mark: And my name is Mark Jan van Tellingen, also from the Netherlands.
Q: In your work, Beach Umbrella, this object is a common theme. Here in Korea, it is often referred to as a parasol. As you collect pictures and sounds from different times, it seems that the beach umbrella gradually fades from existence. Could explain what you tried to portray with this project?
The formal economy of Seoul is really interesting because when I started reading about this and researching the topic, most of these [parasols] were already on the decline. The street vendors, the beach umbrellas/parasols—there are going to be less and less of these due to economic changes and cultural changes. That is something we researched but only through the lens of the street view imagery.
Q: You mentioned before the interview that you taught the computer to recognize the beach umbrellas. This must have taken a lot of work!
Yes, but the most interesting thing is—you just have to select a large set of images to feed the computer. Then the computer automatically learns how to recognize it. So actually, if you have enough images of one object it is not so difficult after all.
Q: Very modest [Laughs]. Let’s get back on topic. Your art project has an element of transience—an element of change in it. There are changing times and changing places. Even if you see the same place it looks totally different—from the 2018 Instagram images featured in you work, the street view images (also from 2018), and the sounds from 2013. Art is often seen as timeless, and in this project you are recording the timelessness of an era through the parasol. What do you think art should be?
This is a difficult question [Laughs].
Sjoerd: I guess I can only give a personal answer to this. For me it is interesting to show the difference throughout the years. You can see the difference between what was happening in 2008 and what is happening in 2018, and perhaps think about what is going to happen in 2028. So it is a process of change. I guess the audience themselves should think about what it means to them. We as artists and designers can only show them how it is all changing.
Q: Did you get a lot of rest while doing this project. It must have been very grueling.
The last few nights we did not get a lot of rest, but it was okay. Before it was better [Laughs]. Our work pays off.
Q: Did you sleep well while you were in Korea? Is it your first time here?
Yes it is my first time! I slept pretty well. Sometimes I was too busy thinking about work, but normally the sleep was good.
Q: I ask because as the sponsors of this event, CROWN GOOSE provided the goose down bedding [Laughs]. I hope you had a pleasant stay and I hope the bedding was comfortable.
It was comfortable, but I had get used to the setting as we had to sleep in the traditional sleeping space—the floor. But the duvet itself was really good.
Q: How was the CROWN GOOSE bedding?
Honestly, we were so tired! We were working, and working, and we just had to sleep. The duvet worked well.
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Q: What are your plans for the future?
We are actually leaving Friday back to Amsterdam, but I would like to come back to Seoul in the future.
As the sponsor of the event, CROWN GOOSE hopes you have been sleeping well for the past few weeks and I hope you will come back in the future.