The End was created in 2000 by Korean artist Young-hae Chang and American poet Marc Vogue of Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries (YHCHI). As the video begins, text and numbers flash onto the screen and the viewer’s attention is immediately captured. Continuing in a staccato fashion, the following words appear: YOUNG-HAE CHANG---HEAVY INDUSTIRES--- PRESENTS---THE END. This is the typical sort of introduction utilized in YHCHI text videos, which also contains an evocative use of language and hyper-text narratives (in the Monaco font with blank backgrounds) synchronized with jazz music. From what can be seen thus far in The End appears to be a heated argument between two individuals, which is rapidly escalating into a full-blown, violent name calling and swearing brawl. Who exactly is calling out all this stuff and to whom? What is all this bickering about? It is within our human instinct to want to know and get to the bottom of certain things and to understand what is at heart of such emotional strife. These are some of the rare opportunities YHCHI provide us with, provoking our sensitivities and compelling us to take a stand in their debates which include themes of human violence, alienation, and sexual oppression.
Although this video is in English, the artists also employ other languages including Korean, French, Chinese, Japanese and Spanish. In this way, their messages reach a broad range of cultures and project at an international level. More recently in 2004, YHCHI exhibited their work titled The Gates of Hell, which was a remix of an original work that was displayed over nine Internet refrigerators. Like The End, this work is about domestic conflict, and more specifically, a social commentary regarding house wives. When asked in an interview how they create their works YHCHI stated, “We sit in front of our computers side by side on the floor of our tiny pre-World War II Japanese house in Seoul and try to ignore each other. Something inevitably comes up, and the laughs---sorry---the collaboration process begins.” Also in this interview, when asked about the cultural influences on their work, YHCHI named Marcel Duchamp, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol as important figures. Much like these artists, YHCHI explore conceptual ideas, and political subjects.
Another video text I viewed by YHCHI is called The Art of Sleep, a video created for the Tate Museum of Art. Here the story-teller talks about the value of art at 2 a.m. in the morning and how he discovers a breakthrough, which is that art is virtually everything, from his whining dog to a piece of Japanese cheesecake. The narrator is very open and honest about what he thinks of art and critics, and it is amazing how you almost feel like you are reading his mind as he speaks out whatever is on his. However, what I find most captivating about YHCHI text video art and especially about The End is that you do not need to read every single word or phrase that flies onto the screen to understand and appreciate the overall rhythmic vigor and poetic nature of their master works.