A Night at a Lighting Shop, Euljiro, Seoul, 31 March 2010, commissioned for the Graphic Design Festival Breda (8–30 May 2010). Digital printing, 840 x 1,190 mm. Photography by Kim Kyungtae.
We often find ourselves intrigued by things that seem to ask us, regardless of their true nature, to decipher their hidden meanings. For us, secret codes are everywhere: confident shapes arranged on a stencil template in a seemingly systematic yet not wholly comprehensible order; twelve-digit letters and numbers of barely visible size inscribed on a yogurt container; a standard symbol from a household appliance taken out of its original context and placed on a button on somebody’s chest; and the LED light specimens installed in a dense Seoul lighting shop, arbitrarily fixed in their ad-hoc positions, blinking in the after-hour darkness. If, as Oscar Wilde once claimed, “the true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible,” then it is to our cryptographic delight that the visible world is full of uncoded codes, waiting to be converted into meanings that they themselves are not even aware of.