Youngmin Choe’s book Craft Media: Materiality, Mediation, and the Decompression of Compressed Modernity will focus on early 21st-century Korean art that gestures toward what Choe calls a “cultural decompression”—an opening up of both the material and the human and a return to more organic forms of exchange, interaction, and porosity. Through these key elements contemporary Korean artists are conceptualizing release following the rapid modernization of Asian nations. Choe will examine how artists combine craft and technology to develop new vocabularies regarding the body in response to South Korea’s “compressed modernity,” that is, the economic conditions and intense social and cultural pressure put on the human body to conform to the demands of the labor market.

Youngmin Choe is associate professor of Korean Cinema and Visual Culture at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Tourist Distractions: Traveling and Feeling in Transnational Hallyu Cinema and co-editor of The Korean Popular Culture Reader (Duke University Press, 2016 and 2014 respectively). Her articles have appeared in film and media journals including Cinema Journal and the Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema.