August 8, 2018

Hangouts: Instant Coffee (Jinhan Ko and Sunny Lee)

Sunny Lee in Studio.

Instant Coffee

I was able to sit down with Instant Coffee members Jinhan Ko and Sunny Lee where we talked about their practices individually and working as a collective.

A bit about the collective:

Instant Coffee: Get Social or Get Lost.

Instant Coffee is a service-oriented artist collective based in Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver (Canada), and Seoul (South Korea). Through formal installations and event-based activities, we build a public place to practice where ideas, materials, and actions can be explored outside of the isolated studio and in a manner that renegotiates traditional exhibition structures, but is still supported by them.

Instant Coffee's frequent practice is to build architectural installations, which become venues for a series of organized events from formal lectures and screenings to informal gatherings and workshops. Each installation requires hosts who initiate some form of social interaction through the presentation and performance of ideas that pertain to artistic production and discourse.

Instant Coffee has an extensive art practice, spanning over fifteen years. As an artist collective we have been invested in combining the social with the aesthetic, and as such have worked in public spaces to engage expanded audiences. We have shown extensively nationally and internationally, and have exhibited in many prominent art institutions as well as have produced numerous permanent and temporary public art projects.

Together we have developed a multi-disciplinary practice that culminates in bringing together large numbers of artists, designers, musicians, architects, writers and other cultural producers. We offer networking services that promote local, national and international activities through weekly listing in Halifax, Toronto and Vancouver to over 9000 subscribers. In conjunction with our exhibitions and events, we also publish book-works, posters and artist multiples.

Jinhan Ko in studio.

Jinhan spoke to the value of working in a collective, how working with a group of people gave him more confidence in his practice.  Instant coffee started out as originally eight people, now four. Together, they create public installations that become sites for interaction and public engagement as a means of exploring public space and private space. The collective has been practicing for over fifteen year, and Jinhan described the practice as not necessarily changing, but rather transforming in order to accommodate to new technologies. This is also partly reflects how Jinhan is having to adjust to living in Korea where he has begun to spend most months of the year. He says that accommodating to new lifestyles and technologies are an extensions of his anxieties about change.

The Conversation quickly turned into a talk about, his, Sunny, and my own diasporas and asian/asian immigrant histories, leading to Jinhan showing Sunny and I a photo of his cousin's extended family in California. The photo was wholesome, trust me!

At the DIS Summer Institute, they wanted to broaden their scope and explore new technologies and tools for living. They would be exploring new lifestyle technologies. When they originally heard about the Summer Institute, they originally weren't sure what to expect from the program, when fellow collective member, Jenifer Papararro invited them to apply. They were working on pink noise pop up in Seoul, Korea this past spring and Jinhan and Sunny took a chance. Jinhan and Sunny used Winnipeg as the site for developing their new lifestyle technologies. To them, these are ways of living and existing. They both made work about the time spent in and around Winnipeg including homemade rice wine, a road trip video, and crafting practical objects for their lifestyles.

Sunny has a background in animation, hand drawing, and crafting. Throughout the Summer Institute, Sunny has been thinking about her role as an artist: what you can do, what you should do, and why you are able to do it.  She has been watching, listening, and learning. Sunny is interested in sharing stories, and drawing from life (pun not intended unless you thought it was funny).

Throughout the Summer Institute Jinhan and Sunny have created sculptures, zines, and other mixed media and handmade items. Thanks for the Winnipeg Special Cocktail Sunny and Jinhan! It was very sweet, but very delicious!

Sun Sign:
Jinhan Ko: Virgo
Sunny Lee: Scorpio

Sunny Lee in studio.

No comments:

Post a Comment