by Seung Yul Oh for SCAPE Public Art Season 2017
A community of oversize bubbles drift across the lawn of the quadrangle in the newly refurbished Arts Centre, a site with a long, rich history of public use and cultural activity. Conduct Cumulus, with its light and playful tone, is the first public commission in the South Island by Auckland and Seoul-based Seung Yul Oh. The artist has observed our enduring fascination with bubbles, such as during family time with children at play, and celebratory events such as children’s birthday parties. Bubbles also have interesting properties for those who see beyond beautiful floating spheres. No matter what shape it has initially, a bubble will try to become a sphere – the shape that maximises the surface area and requires the least energy to achieve. When one bubble meets another, the resulting union is always one of total sharing and compromise.
The artist wants the work to honour the extraordinary actions and energies of Christchurch citizens, working individually and collectively through self-determined groups and communities of interest to rebuild their city post-quakes. The ‘Conduct’ within the title of the work refers to the idea of an orchestra where individual parts are conducted to form a unified rhythm of units. ‘Cumulus’ refers to an accumulation of air borne particles that appear to be shaped and directed by forces such as wind. The location of Rutherford’s Den and the history of the Arts Centre as a haven for families and culture also found an echo with the conceptual development of this work.
Seung yul oh
Born in Seoul, Korea in 1981, Seung Yul Oh moved to New Zealand 15 years ago and completed an MFA at Auckland University's Elam School of Fine Arts. He now divides his time between Auckland and Seoul.