I have always been curious as to why people are mesmerized by fragmented and archaic artifacts which have evidently been ridded of all its elements and authentic beauty. The Soomaksae, which is a national treasure in Korea, is a representative example in that it is distinct from the original position and carved patterns have disappeared over a long period of time. Furthermore, people deliberately replicate the damaged object, albeit, they are clearly aware of the original prototype of Soomaksae. In this project, I explore the multi-layered history of Soomaksae through a deep analysis of the various versions of this object that I have compiled.
As a medium, I utilised the photoscan of Soomaksae as a gateway to my analysis. The medium specificity of the photoscan echo the semiotic discourse surrounding photos when they were first invented. A photo exists as the index of the being, which captures time in a single moment. Using photoscan, I attempted to reproduce my own restoration of Soomaksae, which was stimulated by the theory of “restoration as Scherbe” by Walter Benjamin.
During this procedure, I reinterpreted the Venice Charter, which is a canonical work of restoration, as my guidelines of reproduction. Due to the fact that my project is also a process of ruminating on the meaning of the book as a medium, I am presenting the copy of my reworked version of Venice Charter in a photo scanned form. Through this, I strived to embrace a myriad of abstract meanings such as damage, primeval components, canons and media in order to conserve its history.
My reworking of the Venice Charter is centred on the iconography of the vague facial expressions of the original Soomaksae. Based on the charter, I replaced this indistinct smile on the original with an emoji, which is a universal facial expression circulated globally and exists only in digital formats. It is worth noting that this digital file was printed in 3D and photoscanned. Throughout my project of reinterpreting the Venice Charter and reproducing the Silla Soomaksae, I alternated between reality, re-enactment, and virtual expression.