Chang Young-Hae and Marc Voge are contemporary tribal storytellers. The flickering hypnotic bonfire around which their eager audience congregates is the iridescent computer screen; their clan the Global Village.
Combining provocation and humor, a sharp socio-political consciousness, and an acute sense of timing, the artists craft web-based animated tales which aggressively demand viewers' attention. Their texts are synchronized to the rhythms of Jazz music, often delivering edits at speeds just beyond the threshold of comfort, generating in viewers a heightened anxiety of losing track of the fast-moving narrative.
While YHCHI dub themselves web-artists, their work dispenses with most conventional online features such as interactivity, graphics, photos, illustrations, banners and colors, and leaves viewers with the bare essentials of language and sound. The means of distribution, and the personal computer portal/screen for which their work is primarily intended, are to them the defining factors of their genre.
In contrast to the rich experience their narrative delivers, the site from within which the work is accessed - the artists' homepage - is a blunt statement of non-presence, designed as a functionally stripped-to-the-bone page (a mere list of links) whose sole function is to serve content to the visitor. YHCHI's insistence on denying their home-page a "home" seems to conflict with the second ‘habitat' that an exhibition such as this one imposes in effect on the work, which already exists on their site. Within the context of this particular exhibition, however, the very desire to deny the work a Locale serves as its own justification, as it introduces into the show a provocative - albeit arguable - stance against the significance of Place in virtual space.
In a recently published interview the artists qualified their work: "It's pretty obvious that the 'tone' or 'voice' of Internet literature is more distant and difficult to 'locate' than that of traditional writing…distance, homelessness, anonymity, and insignificance are all part of the Internet literary voice, and we welcome them." Fortunately, neither YHCHI's distinct literary and political voice nor their distinct visual language are hard to locate.
MISS DMZ, YHCHI’s piece featured in this exhibition was initially created following an invitation to participate in a show at the DMZ (the Korean Demilitarized Zone, marking the border between North and South Korea). Countering their emotional resistance to visiting the place, YHCHI transformed their disagreeable destination into a literary object of desire, telling a dreamy tale of longing for a different no-man’s land.