Which Words Provide You and Other People with Power and Warmth?

The Korean artist Kyungwoo Chun is utilizing the supply grids for water, electricity, gas, and heat as the point of departure for an unusual art project. An invitation has been issued to 2,700 employees of the swb AG - the utility company in Bremen and Bremerhaven. All the participants have the opportunity to designate words which provide them and other people with power and warmth. The words subsequently will be glued onto various pipes and cables and, starting in September 2011, will be installed underground throughout the city. The sites, along with the names of the participants, will be documented on the website of the project.

Its electrical cables and water pipes are the lifelines of a city. They constitute a complex network which interconnects all the households in the city. Yet as a rule, the pipes and cables cannot be seen. Only when the supply of utilities is interrupted are they noticed, and then most often negatively. Kyungwoo Chun wants to make citizens freshly aware of these subterranean conduits. He is offering to the participants, but also to an interested public, the opportunity, independently of workaday reality, to think about the meaning of energy in their lives.

The project The Invisible Words is an endeavor to produce over and beyond material also spiritual connections between and for people. The cooperation of the individual participants gives rise, simply by means of words, to a work of art which gradually will spread throughout the entire urban area. Just like the public utility infrastructure, the "invisible words" cannot be seen, but they are capable of having an impact on the thoughts and conversations of the participants. And just maybe the words will one day be brought to light and considered anew. This could occur in the near future, or only after a few decades.

About the Artist

Kyungwoo Chun (*1969 in Seoul) has for many years now been initiating performances in which the audience is actively involved. These are temporally limited processes which can be carried out individually or as a group. As author and initiator, Kyungwoo Chun withdraws to a large extent into the background. He establishes a framework in which the participants can act independently.

They generally have the possibility of leaving behind something of their own. Sometimes it is a personal object, a photograph, or just the answer to a question. In other cases, their physical presence is already sufficient. For example, the participants in a performance in Barcelona were called up to embrace a stranger for fifteen minutes. The sensitization to an altered perception of time and the intensification of a dialogue with oneself and with others are essential aspects of this artistic practice.

Ever since the middle of the nineteen-nineties, photographic works have arisen in parallel to the performances. Kyungwoo Chun attained international recognition through his portraits, many of which have a characteristic blurriness in their movements-he consequence of extended exposure times. As diverse as the artistic approaches seem at a first glance, Chun considers both the performances and the photographs to be in equal measure "visible manifestations of that which is not visible."

The oeuvre of Kyungwoo Chun has been presented in many solo and group exhibitions in Europe and Asia. Furthermore, he has realized numerous performances with participation of the public in many cities including Barcelona, Seoul, Berlin, Prague, Liverpool, Lisbon, Bremen, and Copenhagen. Kyungwoo Chun lives and works in Bremen and Seoul.