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Exploring with Pressure

by Yong Joo Kim

Second round of voting concluded at:
11:59pm Pacific Time, Mar 21st, 2022

Click here to enter your email so you can be notified when the next voting period commences.

What is this project about?

This is a participatory art project by artist Yong Joo Kim.

By clicking on an image you wish to vote, you will influence the direction of Yong Joo Kim’s first-ever digital work of art.

What influence does my vote have?

At first, artist Yong Joo Kim will present a 4 × 4 grid of 16 images, each with a single pixel.

  1. When voting commences, you will have a deadline by which to vote for an image of your choice.
  2. On the specified deadline, voting will be disabled and the image with the most votes will be announced on Instagram.
  3. The pixels from the image with the most votes will be copied to the other 15 images, overwriting any pixels existing in the same location and retaining any pixels located elsewhere.
  4. Yong Joo Kim will either add or remove one pixel to or from each of the resulting 16 images.
  5. The updated 16 images will be presented on the website as the new grid of 16 images for which people can vote.
  6. A new deadline for voting will be specified and another round of voting will commence.


This 6-step process will repeat until the 31st of December, 2022 or when Yong Joo Kim deems the work complete, whichever comes first.

The end result achieved will then become the final form of Yong Joo Kim’s first-ever digital work of art.

We will not disclose how many votes each image receives in order to prevent the voters from following the masses. We encourage everyone to stay true to thine own self.

Why add or remove a pixel?

Artist Yong Joo Kim is known around the art world for her pioneering use of hook-and-loop fasteners.

When making art using hook-and-loop fasteners, Yong Joo Kim is constrained to either attaching or detaching pieces of hook-and-loop fasteners to and from one another as a way to make art. She wishes to apply the same constraint to her first-ever digital work of art.

With each iteration, Yong Joo Kim wishes to constrain herself to either add or remove a pixel as she would either attach or detach a piece of hook-and-loop fastener. Furthermore, when adding an additional pixel, she wishes to “attach” them to an existing pixel by placing the new pixel either laterally or diagonally adjacent to it.

Yong Joo Kim has also spent the first 8–9 years of her career constrained to the use of black, gray, and red hook-and-loop fasteners in making her art. She wishes to apply the same constraints to her digital artwork since this is also the first year of using digital pixels as her material. Thus, when adding an additional pixel, she wishes to use only different shades of black (i.e. gray) or red.

Why pixels?

Thus far, artist Yong Joo Kim’s body of work has existed only in the physical realm. However, she has recently begun to feel the pressure to produce works of art that exist in the digital realm.

She is curious how leveraging this pressure as motivation to create art would impact the future direction of her body of work.

Why leverage pressure as motivation?

It can be easy to judge pressure and weight as “bad.” However, since 2009, artist Yong Joo Kim has dedicated her practice, crossing the genre of both installation art and wearable sculpture, to creating beautiful works of art motivated by pressure and weight.

Yong Joo Kim started her career as an artist making jewelry out of hook-and-loop fasteners. She did this not only because she found hook-and-loop fasteners interesting, but also because she felt the weight of financial responsibility associated with surviving as an artist. Given her desire to take responsibility for her own survival as an artist, it made sense to choose materials like hook-and-loop fasteners in order to keep material and fabrication costs down. The second reason she choose hook-and-loop fasteners to make jewelry was to challenge her ability to survive in a marketplace known for pressuring artists to use nothing but expensive stones and metals.

Why a participatory art project?

Since 2013, Artist Yong Joo Kim has been expanding her body of work beyond the domain of jewelry and wearable sculpture into the domain of installation art.

Her most recent body of work is comprised of wall installations produced by applying pressure and weight to wall-mounted hook-and-loop fasteners. This body of work signaled her intention to sublimate the pressure and weight that motivates her from mere emotion into a visible and practical method of fabrication.

By inviting the participation of online voters, Yong Joo Kim wishes to apply the same approach to the digital realm by sublimating the pressure and weight she feels from online voters from mere emotion into a visible and practical method of fabrication.

Why the 4 × 4 grid?

We thought 4 × 4 yields a number of choices not too little and not too many from which people can choose.

Each image in the 4 × 4 grid is 16 pixels × 16 pixels containing 256 pixels in total. We chose that resolution as an homage to the 16 pixels × 16 pixels sprite often used in 8-bit video games of the past.

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