Joo Young Lee
In Lee’s computer-generated animation Body Keeps the Score (2019), street pigeons become a center of the narrative. The pigeons are not abject and despised birds anymore, but a symbol for resilience and witnesses to normalized deaths. With reference to both Calvino’s Invisible Cities and Goya’s “Disasters of War” series, the work reflects on the themes of memory, violence, and recovery in the urban environment. "The city refashions itself every day: every morning, the people walk on the clean streets. On the sidewalks, encased in spotless plastic bags, the remains—the dead bodies—of yesterday’s await the garbage truck. Nobody wants to have to think about them further. Nobody wonders where, each day, these bodies go. Outside the city, surely; but each year the number of dead bodies excels. The bulk of the outflow increases and the piles rise higher, stratify, extend over a wider perimeter. Perhaps there is a whole world, beyond the city’s boundaries, covered by craters of dead bodies, each surrounding a metropolis in constant eruption." — Joo Young Lee’s rewrite of “The City of Leonia” from Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino for Body Keeps the Score
Joo Young Lee is a new media artist based in Seoul. Using 3D animation, sculpture, and installation, Lee investigates the dynamics of safety and fear, simulation and survival, fiction and documentary. Her deep interest in the themes of safety, fear, and survival is derived from witnessing how gender and social norms trigger political and social violence. Her focus is on contemporary urban environments, which she observes through the lenses of visual research, feminist theory, and media technology. She holds an MFA in sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA in sculpture from Pratt Institute, New York, and participated in the BA program at Central Saint Martins, London. Lee has exhibited at venues including Steuben Gallery and Galapagos Art Space, New York; Sullivan Galleries, EXPO CHICAGO and Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago; and Seoul Art Space Seogyo, Seoul. She has also participated in screenings at Daedalus Multimedia Art Festival, Mykonos; the Culture Station Seoul 284 and the Book Society, Seoul; and the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection, Chicago. She was 2018 19 Mana New Media Program Artist in Residence. Lee is the recipient of the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship, and the 2017 18 Arts, Science + Culture Initiative Collaboration Grant from the University of Chicago.