HyperEssay: Augmented Shadows (2010)


Augmented Shadow, 2010 (Joon Y Moon)

Joon Y. Moon is a programmer cum designer. Having worked as motion graphic designer, he has managed to create interactive media art which includes a story line with both sounds and visual appeals. He has taken part in both individual and group exhibitions, and has won a few awards.

Some of his solo exhibitions are “Sensitivity Tangibility Tangible Sensitivity” in Seoul, Korea and “Inter-Scenery” in NYC, US.

Augmented Shadow is a 3-D interactive artwork. In this artwork, the cubes represents different objects such as houses, trees and for the main cube, light. By moving the cubes around, the silhouettes of the objects follows specifically. The placement, angle and shadows of the houses change according to where the main light was placed. The main idea of the artwork is that the main cube, which represents the light, is the activator of the whole artwork. Nature are attracted/needs the light to work. Therefore, wherever the light moves, it activates an action from the other objects.

For example, when the light moves around, trees starts to grow around it, as one of the source of survival for trees is sunlight. Humans starts to walk towards it and take parts of the light with them and bring it back to their home. As the houses (filled with light) moves around, trees will start growing around them too. Lastly, when trees are moved around, birds will start to fly around and everywhere. When the houses are dark, birds do not fly towards it. Instead, they fly away from it. But if the houses are lit, the birds start to fly towards it as they are attracted to the light.

There are a few techniques we can apply to this artwork.


In order for this artwork to work, interactions from the public is needed. Similar to Magnet TV by Nam June Paik (note: another Korean artist based in America), the art lies in the ability to change or interact with the artwork and have it respond instantly and differently to different interactions.

This form of interactivity has 3 different stages. Input, System (data) and Output. The reaction that happens due to the input and comes out from the output is know as feedback. From this artwork, we can apply the Automata theory too as it’s a form of using machines to imitate living things. From here, we can see how different forms of living things are represented in a form of cube and projected on the screen.

This form of interaction Cybernetics (Greek word: Kubernetes) is defined as a relationship between a man and a machine. Audiences are considered as “steersman”, who are able to control a machine which is bigger and more powerful than they are. It is a simple 2-way interaction between human and machines. As an audience to this particular artwork, it creates an Entropy (measure of disorder) impact as we are unsure of what to expect when interacting with it. It brings us different possibilities of outcomes and our only way to find the outcomes is by exploring and interacting with the artwork. Audience are needed to move the cubes around the image projected on the table. The placements and timing the cubes are placed plays a major role as to what is shown to the audience. A few seconds late and a different result will occur. This can be related to Ascott’s Thesis which stated that “Interactive art must free itself from the modernist ideal of the perfect object”. The reason that this particular artwork is highly interactive is that there are thousands of possible outputs when the cubes are moved around. The outputs are not stagnant and depends solely on the audience. In short, the imperfections of the artwork is considered as an essence which adds on to the interactivity success of it as well.


Hypermedia is also included in this artwork. As seen above, the artwork works in a repetitive story line. The difference it makes is where the cubes are placed and what timing it is moved around. Similarly to the artwork Deep Contact (1984), the output depends on what was interacted with. For Deep Contact, a different output happens when different fingers are touched, which reveals different story line.


Configuration of artworks:

Augmented Shadow 2010

Videoplace 1970

Similarly to Videoplace (1970), both artworks played around with onscreen silhouttes which activates the movement of it. Whatever happens on the screen is due to the silhouette or shadow casted on the screen. Both of the artwork uses projection, light and video camera as well. It gives off an artificial life (augmented reality) to the audience and they are free to do whatever they are pleased with. Joon Y. Moon even mentioned that audience “can influence on the system by playing with the blocks or observe the changes of the shadows as if kids were playing with an ant farm.

To generalize Augmented Shadows, it is used as an educational platform to educate audience on the ecosystem of the world. How we rely strongly on (sun)light as one of our main source to live. We co-exists with other living things in the world and our actions affects whatever that is happening around us. It can also be a platform to educate audience regarding the global warming that is happening around us now.

In conclusion, I feel that art has gotten more developed as time goes on. As technologies advances, so does art. Artists has catered more to the public and some depend solely on the audience in order for their artworks to work. It has become a form of communication (or linkage) between artists and the general public. Despite including machines or technologies into modern art, it does not lose its essence of it being an interactive artwork. We must take the imperfections of the artwork as a form of artwork too.