Pilgrim of Curiosity

Trent Kim (Artist), Oliver Searle (Composer), Eunju Shin (Other)

    Research output: Non-textual formPerformance


    Pilgrim of Curiosity’ is a collaborative new media art project led by composer Dr Oliver Searle and artist Trent Kim in collaboration with Choreographer Eunju Shin. This project explores the notion of amalgamations of cultural and sensory memories. Searle used a method of musical composition by integrating his personal memories of sacred places (belonging to different locations and faiths) while Kim extrapolated the notion of chance within the creative process of amalgamation as an artistic opportunity to defy an assumed sensory hierarchy in new music performance. Throughout the duration of the project [2014-2018], Searle and Kim have produced several national and international performances, as well as talks and exhibitions, and have expanded their knowledge and understanding on a collective authorship as a methodology for new media art. In the early part of this project (2014), Kim utilised mark-making and ink-printing as methods in order to fully exercise chance operation and establishing a counterpart to Searle's sound. In contrast, the revised versions -(in 2015 and 2017-2018) show a significant shift from the chance operation to a parallel composition, where imagery establishes its own rhythmic structure, and the aural and imagery exchanges are often restricted as counterpoints. 'Na-Mu', an additional movement added in 2015, features three independent rhythmic structures derived from Korean Buddhist chants, gospel music, and a traditional Korean children’s song ‘Toad! Toad!’
    The project has undergone three development phases: 2014, 2015 and 2017-2018. In 2014, Searle and Kim primarily focused on the notion of sacredness and used their premiere performance (26 October 2014) at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow as an experiment concerned with audio visual performance as acts of sacred ceremony. The performance consisted of cathode ray tube monitors in scattered positions, staging a performing wind quintet, Athenaeum Winds. The march-like blocking and gestures presented a form of communion (presenting small cut-out fragments of the artwork to audience members) at the end of every movement. In 2015, Searle and Kim were invited to an artist residency in Busan, South Korea by Project GR, and the original composition was revised. In this phase, all of the visual works particularly developed their own temporal structures. In addition, a new movement, ‘Na-Mu’ was created during the residency and the entire piece was performed by the Busan Woodwind Society on 4 and 5 July 2015 at Busan Jin Station. This disused, derelict space was transformed into a temporary gallery and performance space by Kim. On 5 September 2015, the revised work was performed at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland by Athenaeum Winds. On 12 and 18 December 2015 Athenaeum Winds performed the piece at Linlithgow Academy Theatre and Smithton Culloden Free Church respectively. The music was exclusively (without accompanying artwork) performed on 29 October 2015 at Aberdeen Art Gallery by Athenaeum Winds and on 3 December 2015 at Dongnae Cultural Center, South Korea, by the Busan Woodwind Society. Kim’s original ink prints from Pilgrim of Curiosity were included in his solo exhibition at the Sasang Indie Station Gallery, South Korea, between 15 April and 3 May 2015, as well as at multimedia art exhibition at Space B Art in Busan, South Korea between 24 November and 3 December 2015.
    In 2017, South Korean Choreographer Eunju Shin proposed a collaboration and responded to the ‘Na-Mu’ movement in her solo performance at Dansekapellet in Copenhagen, Denmark on 20 November 2017. Kim and Searle collaborated with Shin for a week-long residency at the University of the West of Scotland (between 22 and 26 January 2018) and translated Pilgrim of Curiosity through Shin’s choreographic intervention. This new version of Pilgrim of Curiosity was performed at Renfield St. Stephen's Church in Glasgow (27 January 2018) and at the Gaiety Theatre in Ayr (28 January 2018) before being invited to perform at the Busan International Dance Market (Busan Citizen's Hall), South Korea (16 October 2018). In this choreographed version (2018), Kim attempts to amalgamate projected images with theatrical light, by displacing monitors and projection screens and in doing so created a silent movement of his own, Luminal Fold as part of Pilgrim of Curiosity. Interestingly, new composers including Nick Hallett in 2017 and Yuji Nara in 2018 wrote music for this piece. Additionally, Shin created new choreography for the movement in response to, and conjunction with, Nara’s additional music. This new movement was included in the performances at Renfield St. Stephen’s Church, Gaiety Theatre, Busan Citizen’s Hall.
    ‘Luminal Fold’, featuring the music of Nick Hallett, was included in Yale University Art Gallery’s live screening event: ‘Performance, After Wilfred: the Contemporary Lumia Experience’ by guest curator Joshua White on 23 February 2017.
    This project has created several incredible collaboration opportunities as well as critically reflecting and exploring the notion of amalgamation of cultural and sensory memories to experiment with a collective authorship in the context of new media art. This has critically revealed how traditional authorship can be transformed into a collective, but also contemporary, thinking about authorship.
    Original languageEnglish
    Media of outputOnline
    Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2014


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