Ink Drops to the Origins | 2012

Opened in spring 2013, the Hansol Museum in Korea presents two collections, one of contemporary art and one comprising 3,000 artefacts and a database documenting the long history and superior qualities of Korean paper. The collections, created by the Hansol conglomerate, are housed in a building designed by Tadao Ando.

Ink Drops to the Origins is an artistic installation that was commissioned to link the two collections. The interactive installation celebrates the beauty and purity of paper in a broad sculptural gesture. The interactive element of the installation is inspired by the primary use of paper since its invention: carrying information through time and space. The installation engages the visitor in a creative, collaborative action that reveals the close relationships between paper and ink, script and identity.

Upon entering the space, the visitor’s gaze is drawn to an installation of big, white sheets of paper that seem to have been blown off a tall stack. Each sheet is mounted on a thin rod and curved individually so that they form a dynamic paper wave that seems to fly away, an impression, which is supported by the sound of wind filling the space. Visitors also see and hear virtual ink drops hitting the floor. These drops can be ‘caught’ with sheets of paper that visitors can pick up and carry around the space. When an ink drop is ‘carried’ on a piece of paper, it dissolves, or it flows and forms fluid text, depending on the movement of the paper. By connecting different pieces of paper, ink can be transferred from one sheet to another.

When the drops are taken to the paper wave, the ink flows across the wave’s surface and merges with ink drops from other visitors to create large Korean characters. The characters form a quote from the ‘Hunminjeongeum’, a famous text published by King Sejong the Great in 1446 that presented an entirely new and native script for the Korean language. The characters then move and disperse as if blown away, giving way to those that follow.

The project was realized in conjunction with my friends and colleagues at ART+COM. Special mention: Danqing Shi, Jussi Ängeslevä, Felix Hartmut Beck