Artist talks about the process of creating interdisciplinary art

February 1, 2019

Art is a medium for expressing interdisciplinary ideas in a creative and cohesive way, according to artist David Kim, who spoke in Goldman Schwartz Art Auditorium on Wednesday afternoon.

Kim, who previously worked as a cancer and genetics research scientist, uses his background in research to intertwine biological science, new media and fine art disciplines through living and digital media, according to his website. His art is used as a medium of expressing his interest in social justice.

“The idea of work that is not only inspired by science or biological processes, but in fact using science and biological processes as the medium, that’s what became one of the central parts of my practice,” said Kim.

Kim said that when working with nature, he allows some randomness to dictate how his work progresses, and that the most interesting art is the art that exceeds preconceived notions and expectations.

“You input meaning and the output meaning might be different,” said Kim. “When you collaborate with living things and living systems, they have a mind of their own and you can’t 100 percent control them. You have to be prepared for the unexpected and be okay with things not going the way you thought.”

After working as a researcher, Kim returned to school to study interdisciplinary computing in the arts and digital media. As an educator, he’s worked at a number of universities and at the high school level, and has been teaching for over a decade. Kim has worked as a curator for interdisciplinary and social justice art-aligned expositions.

“If I had to do it again, maybe I wouldn’t have gone back to school and maybe I would just engage directly with the groups I collaborate with,” said Kim. “I still have a private practice, but I’ve grown so much stronger by collaborating with people who have different perspectives.”

Kim identifies as a gay, Korean-American man, and he said that he uses his personal narrative to influence his art and explore social and emotional dynamics. His work has become increasingly centered around his personal experience with marginalization, as well as global issues of marginalization, according to Kim.

“The art in my private practice is more squarely personal, and the art I work with collaboratively is much more focused on global and social justice issues. But to me, they have a very clear resonance. The reason I’m engaged with these larger social issues is because of my own social narrative.”

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