Commodity & Ideology Pt. II


An artist residency with participants from North Korea, China, and US / South Korea artists results in failure due to rising diplomatic uncertainty and tension. The artists are encouraged to take photographs for incusion into an exhibition at the Church Center for the United Nations in their absence.


Work in concert with the curator to design an exhibition and compendium website to convey the residency, grow the audience, and promote peace through cross-cultural understanding and dialog

background & content

Korea Art Forum had invited three North Korean Artists, one artist from China, and one artist from South Korea / United States to meet in New York City for a month-long residency program. Culminating in an exhibition at the United Nations Church Center, this would be the first time North Korean artists would have the opportunity to visit the United States.

Initially, the US and North Korean governments were responsive to the cross-cultural effort, and a visa interview was scheduled at the United States Embassy in Beijing. While in Beijing the North Korean artists were encouraged to tour and take photographs throughout the city. Over the course of a week tensions escalated between North Korea and the United States, the interview was canceled, and the North Korean artists were recalled to Pyongyang. Knowing now that the residency as intended would not take place, the two remaining Chinese and South Korean artists would take pictures as they continued their travels.

A collected set of over 5000 images would then be the basis for realizing Commodity and Ideology Pt. 2 at the United Nations Church Center and a compendium website at

project deliverables

Exhibition at the Church Center for the United Nations

Compendium website to further illustrate the core components of the project

Catalog highlighting presentation

exhibition design & planning

site visit, measurements, & rendering

quick sketch rendering

exhibition photos

compendium website --> research & requirements

User Research was gathered largely in situ during exhibition related events

Research Takeaways

  • There is a great interest and curiousity on the culture and society in North Korea
  • Many feel that they have limited ability to effect any constuctive change due to the diplomatic impasse
  • Efforts to promote avenues of cultural & regional dialog are appreciated
  • Resources to help understand put into context the artistic and cultural differences of art in the region are limited

Must have requirements

  • Foster a sense of exploration while learning
  • Provide users with deeper curatorial insight and regional context
  • Allow users to dive into artist bios and external links
  • Give users the ability to select and share facets of the project

low-fidelity wireframes

live prototype (built using

current build

using HTML/CSS/JS, & semantic-ui

exhibition catalog
144 pp.

As an extension of the curatorial remarks, the presentation was restructured into a flip-book format. The left-hand pages present a chronological scroll of images and notes taken in Beijing alongside the North Korean artists. The right-hand pages scroll randomly through selected photographs from all five artists.

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