Duality 2: Candle vs. Incense (2006)

December, 2006

Cross projected video loops with the image of a mouth blowing opposite a candle and incense on two vellum screens hung from ceiling to floor.


a mouth blowing

flickering candle vs glowing incense

a mouth inhaling

flaming candle vs dimming incense

a mouth to candle to incense to a mouth



paper stirring


Duality 2: Mouth – Candle vs. Incense (2006)

I’m interested in the concept of duality -two sides of the world, like ‘light’ and ‘shadow/dark’-, relative relationships, and time, space, and speed. All these works are about the relativistic concepts of time/space, and duality.

<Why Duality?>

Shadow can only exist because of light. If there’s no light, we cannot see anything. Light has lightness, but also has darkness. Light and dark always exist together.

I believe nothing in the world can be absolute. Everything is made from relative concepts. So there cannot be mainstream/non-mainstream things. There cannot be a winner or a loser. No one can be better/stronger than the other. We cannot say who/what is right or not right. They can only be different.

Moreover every living thing is made up of non-living things (inorganic compounds).

Every visible thing is made up of the invisible. For example, ‘color’ is not a tangible ‘thing’, it is an idea. Material things are made of immaterial things: Concepts.

I think one of the most important artists’ roles now is talking about the world that we are living in. I believe that ‘duality’ is one of the most important and essential concepts in our world. For example, here is the ‘yin / yang’ symbol:

This symbol (from the Korean flag) is a divided circle, and it shows that ‘yin and yang’ are not in opposition. They only have meaning relative to each other. This symbol shows those dual meanings in balance, supporting each other, inseparable.

Every thing has this duality inside of it. The surface of things is not so important. But people usually don’t recognize the more important things, because usually the more important things are hidden. That’s why I’d like to talk about, and experiment with, ‘duality’ in my works.

Thinking about ‘Time, Space, and Speed’ & about ‘Relationships’

Speed: After the Industrial Revolution, the concept of ‘Speed’ becomes one of the most important points explaining the world we live in (as per Post Modernism/Paul Virilio). I want to examine this, to experiment with it, because now it is hard to explain our lives without the ‘logic of capital’. In the Capitalist system, ceaseless movement is natural for the world, (especially in West, because the Capitalist system started in the Western hemisphere). Moreover, in this system ‘to stop’ is to ‘die’: Things must keep moving in order to exist.

Time: Our memories are contracted pieces of time. And present time is based on past time. The time is running successively. The present time becomes the past time, and the future time will end in the past time. So every memory is a coexistence of different times and spaces. We speak of these as different times, however in fact there cannot be any boundary between them. Every mechanism is constantly changing.

Space: Successive time passage also changes the concept of present-space. Contemporary man has been called ‘Homo Nomad’. The word ‘nomad’ which is frequently used now does not literally mean a wanderer. Its meaning has been extended to a free, creative, and challenging way of thinking or lifestyle (as per Gilles Deuleuze’s ‘nomadism’ in his book ‘Difference and Repetition’), and developed with the concept ‘deterritorialization’ (as per a Canadian communication theorist Herbert Marshall McLuhan). Finally, this nomadization is breaking the boundaries of space.

Relationships: Basically, I think consideration of time and space (therefore speed) can help us to understand conceptual relative relationships, and that those concepts are the most basic elements in any relationship between material things. Time and space are represented by the manifestation of their relationship. Relationships are connections, but there cannot be any boundaries. Those connections are in essence relative, successive, and unlimited.


About Suk Kyoung Choi

artist / researcher

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