OH Inhwan
Born in Seoul, S. Korea
Lives and works in Seoul, S. Korea
Street Writing Project  

In 2000, Oh Inhwan began a long-term project of assembling unique sets of the English alphabet. At disparate street locations, whenever and wherever he encountered "suitable" objets trouvés (bread crumbs , broken glass, cherry blossom petals, wood scraps etc), Inhwan would construct an image of a letter which he then photographed. These printed letters were then used to write out words such as HERE, THERE, or HOME.

Inhwan's assembled words impose a contrived order upon otherwise arbitrarily related spaces, generating chance encounters between scenes, locals, moments, objects, textures, and colors.* The absurdity of abundance resulting from arbitrary sequences following a single axis of reason - spelling a word - shifts attention from the mechanics of permutation and variation, towards a reflection upon the nature of human cognition: the peculiar physio-psycho aptitude to favor certain perceived details over others and consequently to imbibe them with meaning.

However, it is ultimately the particular words Inhwan chooses to construct which lend the project its poetics ; fragmenting and disseminating the experience of Place between randomly recruited sites ; then again, perhaps doing exactly the opposite - gathering Place by blending singular moments and disparate spaces, gravel, splinters, and petals.

*The combinatorial principle underlying the Street Writing Project traces its roots to the early Modernists' play with randomness and modular construction - the very same concepts which are said to underlie today's so called Digital Revolution, where media elements can be instantaneously accessed and reshuffled in seemingly infinite combinations.


>>> critic's review (footnote #11)