Out-Layers – Seoul 2018

Audience watching two art installation meditatively at The Sense of Data exhibiton at Platform-L.  Left:  ‘Out-Layers-Seoul 2018‘ by Kim, Y. Right: ‘Seeking for Outliers-Seoul‘ by Kim, Y.

In the set of artwork, ‘Out-Layers – Seoul 2018‘, the artist visualizes the live data of selfie-related texts in the public post of Selfie using the hashtag #셀카 in Instagram – ‘셀카’ is pronounced as ‘Selca’ and means ‘Selfie’ in Korean. The algorithm set in the datacook site looks for the Korean words that are associated with five kinds of emotions and thoughts exposed in the Korean selfies in social media then visualizes into five colors of stripes: daily – green, travel – blue, emotions – yellow, appearance – pink, and promotion – orange.

These bold graphic pattern are screen-projected in a large scale (the larger the better) on the wall being layered and performing with the live data updates, along in parallel with the colourful lights embedded in the wearable version; both patterns are inspired by Korean traditional color pattern called, ‘Sakdong‘ and Hanbok image collars called, ‘Dong Jeong‘.  Since I was working with Seoul data, I intentionally wanted to create patterns and forms that resembles the traditional dress using simple pattern to cut.

A screen grab of ‘Out-Layers-Seoul 2018‘ 2018-10-15at11.18.49am
Testing a paper model for the collar (Dongjeong) part
Out-Layers when it is off.

My interest of selfie started with a research in 2017 with Dr. Jaz Choi in collaboration with the Social Data Lab leading by Dr. Mia Cha at KAIST.  While many were interested in the photos of selfies and scientific counts and findings, I was somewhat puzzled with this selfie phenomenom in Korea.  My question was why do they post these? Instead of having a bias of shallowly showing off their beauty and well-beings, I’ve looked into visuals of these public posts at that time and they were just selfies of nice shots of selves in a perfect angles and etc.  What interested me was their textual data following their selfie posts.  Perhaps they reveal their status of thoughts, feelings, and etc through this channel – as if they are diaries.  This was a beginning of one and half year art project which triggered from one month of research experience.

To explore this idea and being true to myself being an artist instead of being a scientist, I’ve narrowed down the selfie posts that only uses a Korean hashtag, ‘셀카’ and thematically analyzed their texts.  With technical supports by datacook, I’ve got live data from Instagram with ‘셀카’ hashtag.  As I assumed, the texts were mostly in Korean.  These texts were revealing loneliness, happiness, travel excitements, weather sentimental, beautiful moment and selfs, daily moments.  For following year, I have worked on the live data work that accompanied by a wearable by prototyping mutiple versions and here present, ‘Out-layers-Seoul 2018‘.


Visitors to the exhibition told me that somehow they feel connected with others as they watch how these color stripes are being updated while generating these subtle different patterns as time passes.  I told them that just like the wearable piece, we share and wear other’s emotion on us.  – Younghui Kim, Nov 2018

Out-Layers-Seoul, model by Sofya Glazunova , photo by Younghui Kim 2018
The artist, Younghui Kim in front of her creation