This body of work uses as its starting point the Bardo Thodol, the eighth-century text commonly known as the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Much of what we know comes down through words entrusted to systems of writing and other methods of notation. These systems can be delicate and fragile, and losses of texts can turn into losses of knowledge. Works in this series entrust the one and a half millennium-old Tibetan text to QR codes, a now-ubiquitous system of encoding information that is heavily used in advertising. Ultimately in these works I'm most interested in the technology's fragility in its dependence on machines to read the texts, and also in the final pure graphic beauty of the coded text, and how this coding technology can be seen as a contemporary manifestations of calligraphy.
The most publicly-viewed work in this series has been Twenty-Two Flags (Bardo Thodol) which was on display at one of the main security checkpoints at San Diego International Airport. Here's a quick video overview (click through to Vimeo for HD):
Twenty-Two Flags (Bardo Thodol), 2014 from James SOE NYUN on Vimeo.
For some other works in the series, check out:
- Mandala: "Act so as to trust in that bright dazzling light"
- Bardo Thodol (Tibetan Book of the Dead) Book 1, complete
- Bardo Thodol (Tibetan Book of the Dead) Book 2, complete
- Bardo Thodol (Tibetan Book of the Dead) Book 1, Part 2
- Bardo Thodol (Tibetan Book of the Dead) Book 2, Part 1
- Mandala: "Indeed all these are like dreams like hallucinations like echoes..."