A Study on Video Art as an Alteniative Art Movement

– Focused to Series of Artist Park Kyong Ju

Yun Donghee (Indepentent Curator)


We are experiencing today the world centered on the USA,We are witnessing that the USA deals with the culture of the Third World that does not share the European origin (Rey Chow 1993, 234) based on its own arbitrary judgement. And media plays a major role in it.

Even though the USA-centered media, such as CNN, claim to stand for objectivity, in reality, ”the” objectivity is only the other side of colonialism of the West toward Third World (Rey Chow 1993. 234). The conflict in historical understanding of media is originated from discord and antagonism between the USA and other countries. In other words, there is confrontation between a major history that unites all the events in one way and other numerous histories (Lee, Jinkyung 2007,266).

Paul Virillio analyzes that the difference in ‘velocity* of understanding and reacting to history divides the world into two – so to speak, a major history and a minor history (Mark Polizzotti 1983, 43). Such a competition in velocity results in ‘immigrant (Rey Chow 1993, 252). Immigrants who move along the borders between countries and cities, become today’s another landscape and reality. Moreover, most of immigrants we are witnessing are left outside of human rights and labor and suffering labor alienation1 as Marx predicted in the 19th century.

Park Kyongju is an artist who deals with the subject of ‘immigrant Workers’ who live as ‘minors’ in Korea. He captures immigrant workers’ lives in photograph and film and runs an independent media ‘Immigrant workers Internet Broadcasting station’. He is not just confined to museums but lives up to action according to his belief with his aesthetic study.

Park Kyongju records and criticizes immigrant worker^ reality of ‘alienation of human labor’ and ‘practices’ the alternatives and ponders on diaspora and minors’ lives in Korea. His work is more about ‘what to do’ rather than just about ‘how to express’ since he concentrates on cultural and political practice by describing immigrant workers’ difficult lives in Korea which is a quite closed society. Given that his work conveys political and social messages and expresses his understanding of society and history by picturing minors’ identities artistically, it is in the same vein as an alternative art movement.

Also the fact that he took photograph and film as his tools during his study in Germany and right after returning to Korea, can remind us of the ‘alternativeness’ of the early video art that was one of the alternative media to a commercial TV.  By running an independent media ‘Immigrant Workers Internet Broadcasting Station’, his cultural practice evolves from an alternative media into an ’alternative network’. Beyond video and film and forming an alternative network, his video art suggests a new concept of alternative artistic movement in this digital media age.

Thus, Park, Kyongju’s <Immigrant Workers〉series reminds us of the early video art that was an alternative media within an alternative artistic movement and ’synthesizes’ other alternative artistic movements that used to be outside of art world, such as independent film and documentary and video activism.

Original Text 



Publication Year: 2008