Minha Park

Shadow Planet

There is always something ghostly about the characters in films by Minha Park (*1985 in Seoul, lives and works in the same city). They take shape for a brief moment, intimating that they want to pass on a message. However, they lack a voice, vocabulary, or a body. These figures are captured on camera, their contours vague, for only a short time. Park offers herself as mediator, telling stories that spring from her imagination. Like a jigsaw puzzle, the artist assembles the visual fragments and imagines her own to add, until a new figure emerges; one capable of communicating with the viewer via technically generated images.
In Minha Park’s latest film Shadow Planet (2023), we see a sequence of numerous photographs of Mars produced by technically sophisticated precision cameras on grotesque vehicles. The images come from NASA’s archive of photo and video recordings. They show rocks, barren landscapes, and bizarre equipment. Science assumes that there is no form of life on Mars due to its thin atmosphere. But the images in Shadow Planet tell a different story: ghostly formations move as if dancing on the Martian parquet. Whirled-up dust or electromagnetic traces of a disembodied civilisation? Both seem equally likely in Shadow Planet.
The scientific project to scan, photograph and map the whole of an inanimate celestial body not only demystifies it, but also makes Mars – as a place of longing – into our property. Machine vision leads to a territorial claim. Yet behind our obsession with documenting, there is also a hope that our cameras will unearth something extraordinary. Obsessive searching for ghosts in the image, however, shows that our desire to find them goes hand in hand with the pleasure of declaring a hoax.
Minha Park’s filmic work is highly poetic, dedicated to ephemeral phenomena in our environment or to our imagination of distant planets. Despite the cool video aesthetic, she succeeds in highlighting the creative potential of our imagination. In her work, the ghosts are no echo – not a mere memory of a real person – they are representatives of our inner world, seeming to manifest for a fleeting moment in order to tell us their stories.

07.07. – 30.07.2023
Tue - Sun: 2 - 7pm
Admission free