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CIRCA PRIZE: Sohyeon Park, 2024 Curators Circle


CIRCA PRIZE 2024 Launch, London, Piccadilly Lights. © CIRCA, photographed by Ayushi Channawar

The Phantom Creates Space and Community


With the passage of time, we experience the breaking of previously held beliefs and the overturning of what we once believed to be scientific truths. These experiences signify the expansion of our perspective and understanding across time.

When photography emerged as a new technology, the art world was slow to accept it. It took about 100 years for photography to be recognized as an art form. Similarly, today’s digital media can be seen in the same light. People are fascinated by this new medium, consuming it playfully. Amid the spectacle and splendor, we may overlook the artistic potential of this medium. However, an artist’s creativity is not limited by the medium or materials. By delving deeply into the technology, history, and cultural and social contexts of digital media, we can discover new possibilities within it.

In the early days of projecting images in public places with the development of projectors, Polish artist Krzysztof Wodiczko used this light in the 1980s to amplify and empower individual voices in public spaces. Wodiczko insightfully understood the essence of new media and wove its context beautifully. In the early 2000s, Tony Oursler created apparitions of light in urban and natural settings, creating ghosts of the city. His works could only exist briefly at night, but within them lay the essential artistry of the artist. Thus, art does not only exist within the walls of museums.


Krzysztof Wodiczko, Hirshhorn Museum. Washington, DC, 1988


Today, we have media that firmly establish and create illusions of light regardless of day or night. It is up to the artists to use this light canvas to voice their messages. Modern cities resemble sophisticated electronic circuits. Cities are interconnected, evolving at tremendous speeds, and consuming and accumulating vast amounts of data. The emerging big media façades in this environment are like the faces of the city, revealing all that data and the accumulated contexts and interconnections.

Usually, the identity that these faces of cities reveal is their capitalistic nature. However, even if temporarily, CIRCA occupies these screens to reveal the sensibilities of artists beneath the surface and bring the unconscious of the times to the forefront. How do the artists of this city and this era interpret the unstoppable flow of change and the present time?

CIRCA occupies the Piccadilly Lights screen with artists’ works, broadcasting them at specific times. The ritualistic screening at the same time every day creates a unique spatial sense. German philosopher Byung-Chul Han states that rituals give order to time, saying that “our immemorial rites are in Time what the dwelling is in Space.”* He describes the ritual as the “symbolic technique of making oneself at home in the world.”* This implies that the occupation of time creates a space that is not just a fleeting event. In this public exhibition space, CIRCA provides artists with a chance to participate in this ritual. In the fleeting moment given through the CIRCA Prize 2024 with the manifesto ≪Break Free≫ Times Arrow Flies Forever Forward, how will you change the context of the city? We look forward to seeing how the power of art can change the atmosphere of actual urban spaces and the state of passersby, creating a temporal sense of community.



*Pg. 2. The Disappearance of Rituals; The Disappearance of Rituals: A Topology of the Present. Han, Byung-Chul, author; Steuer, Daniel, translator. 2020.


Sohyeon Park is a curator specializing in contemporary and media art, based in Seoul, South Korea. She has been involved in exhibition-making, public media art shows, multidisciplinary collaboration, participatory art and education, and various other projects that experiment with boundaries. Previously, she was a curator at Barakat Contemporary Gallery, where she played a crucial role from the gallery’s opening stages. She also served as a senior curator at KT&G Sangsangmadang, handling inauguration and operation duties, and worked as a researcher/curator at Art Center Nabi. Currently, Sohyeon is the president of the art planning consulting company UOMPI and the operator of the online digital art project Mars Green.