Project 7½ (Seven and a half) is an art research project started in 2014 by an independent curator, Sunyoung Oh.
Project 7½ is a non-profit art project that seeks dysfunctional and unoccupied spaces and creates new projects as a dialogical Third Space.
Project 7½, starting with the theme Art and the Unconscious in 2014 and followed by Relationship with Others in 2015 and Cryptographic Imagination 2016, continues to discuss different ways to explore art. The three themes are linked in their observation of the functions and roles of art and artists in our society and people’s lives, not from an aesthetic approach to art but rather a socio-cultural one. The result of this project may be helpful to contemplate the future directions of art and artists in our society and may provide aesthetical interpretations; however, the intended emphasis is on the value of the process and the journey itself to arrive at the results. When artists unexpectedly enter (or invade) a local community in our society, there will be interactions and consequences that may reflect our contemporary life. The reflection may offer an opportunity to explore the functions and roles of artists in our present life and shed light on what possibilities they may contribute to our society and people's lives.
We are producing artistic value (or capital value) through capital usage (or through the utilization of art). Moreover, we are adding more words and concepts to make that value 'more valuable.' However, in one part of our feelings, we possess the inconvenience arising from the emptiness caused by the damages made to the core value of art by these words and concepts attached because talking about art cannot be higher than seeing and feeling art.
Sometimes we get the experience of encountering a new world through artwork. These experiences are purely artistic that can feel in a naked state where we have almost no future coordinates. These sensible states that cannot be captured through languages in unfamiliar spaces flashes like bright light when we encounter artistic values. However, these pure joys of discovery are damaged every time through statute discussions or capital market values. When we try to understand art by positioning it in our knowledge base and institution, we quickly lose the momentous feelings that approached us. Therefore, we contemplate whether we are not losing the joy of pure artistic sensibilities or try to reinvigorate or revive such senses. During the progress, we naturally derived the question, "what is an artistic experience?" It is how Project 7½ begun.
This project plans to research and study the efforts of artists that made the artistic experience, their life experiences, and anthropological unconsciousness as a method to delicately understand all of this. In 2014, Project 7½ processed eight lecture programs on Anthropological exploration of art and unconsciousness. The relationship between unconsciousness and creativity is vital — the lectures are held in independent spaces with various artistic directions throughout Seoul. However, the areas all shared the characteristics of having a directional nature while not being well introduced or not fully formed its identity. Wandering around such spaces was a preliminary process of the actual project sharing the lecture subject, exchanging common interest amongst artists, and networking. The developed outputs will be presented at various spaces in various experimental fusions such as critic and research programs through lectures, performances mixed with fashion, design, fine art, experimental movies, play, and choreography.
When interpreting and understanding art, we ask various scientific, philosophical, psychological, sociological, and esthetical questions, and we are accustomed to connecting. However, as mentioned earlier, Project 7½ focuses on ‘senses’ that progress through artwork. Here we pay attention to ‘the issue of standpoint’ of artistic experience that can sensibly be achieved. We tried to criticize existing standpoints and bring about a ‘standpoint move’ by bumping in newly adopted viewpoints. In other words, we pay attention to the pre-recognition stage or senses of artistic precognition state and artwork that produces various perspectives made in the arena of intuition. We also aim to investigate how these senses spread within the capitalist society or artistic institution, in what type of art it coexisted. In other words, Project 7½ integrates delicate ‘senses’ that are shown through work of art, find and suggest as many various standpoints through experiencing art. These standpoints will be demonstrated through the sensitized experimental artistic union that is not easily consumed through discussion and knowledge. 'Senses' is powerful senses such as the clinking sounds of metal unexplored, pre-linguistic unable to return to their former state.
Based on the continuous research and study during 2014 and through a combination of artists via networking, Project 7½ in 2015 planned an even more developed plan. We planned to develop and realize actual art projects, such as exhibitions and performances. Meanwhile, the creative nature of the artists naturally networked through the 2014 plan has individually become independent and freely diversified. Therefore, in 2015 and 2016, Project 7½ could expect an expanded shape by relieving genre standards by the combined state of mainly plan-focused artists and sharing methodology. It is because we planned to verbalize the senses that they share within art.
Since the end of 2016, Project 7½ has travelled to Jatiwangi, Jakarta, and other cities. And Project 7½ held travelling exhibitions in Seoul, Gimhae, and Jakarta. Project 7½ is still drifting to explore and research.