Research Statement

Leo Kang, 2017


Field of Study : Human-Computer-Interaction (HCI), Media Art, Ethnography, New Interface for Musical Expression

My work explores art-driven research. My art and research passion lies in integrating aesthetic and theoretical inquiry into more multi-disciplinary platforms for problem discovery, theory building, and creative learning in the field of Human-Computer-Interaction (HCI) and media art. I use reflective art practice and experimental collaboration paired with ethnography as methodological approaches to produce more resolutely socio-material forms of research work [1,2,4,5]. This integrated approach in my work intends to shape methodologies and heuristics that may elude more behavioral, engineering, or purely aesthetic and ethnographic approaches.

My work also involves research-engaged artwork. I make hybrid objects that can be at once aesthetic forms of art production and exploratory sites in which core research questions are explored in playful, critical, and speculative ways [3,6-11]. I also use a broad range of computational skills from analog to digital to interactive technology for building heuristic spaces in which audiences can actively engage with the research topic. This critical, technological, and aesthetic integration in my work intends to provide more heuristic, interactive and artistic forms of research knowledge.

My work highlights emerging creativity and learning opportunity in cross-disciplinary engagement. I promote dialogic exchange between aesthetic, engineering, and theoretical inquiries in both research and pedagogical settings, which enables exploration of results, insights and problems unavailable to these disciplines in isolation, or without the influence of others. In particular, my dissertation and recent research works [4,5] highlight ‘tension’ and ‘mutual adjustment’ between the intuitive freedoms of art practice and the discipline of research structure as the core engines that naturally call such emerging creativity and knowledge into being.

For the past several years, my work has mainly involved the following areas: (1) improvisation and media art collaboration as HCI research (2) design creativity through broken and obsolete technology (3) new interfaces for musical expression, and (4) diverse media artworks for exploring the socio-technological environments around us. My work has been published and exhibited in broad art, performance, and HCI venues, including ACM CHI, NIME, and Maker Faire, and has been introduced through various local and international media such as the BBC, The Verge, Makezine, ACM Interactions, and Leonardo Computer Music Journal.

1. Lara Houston, Steven J Jackson, Daniela K Rosner, Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed, Meg Young, and Laewoo Kang. 2016. Values in repair. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI conference on human factors in computing systems, 1403-1414.
2. Steven J. Jackson and Laewoo Kang. 2014. Breakdown, obsolescence and reuse. Proceedings of the 32nd annual ACM conference on Human factors in computing systems - CHI ’14: 449-458.
3. Laewoo (Leo) Kang. 2016. Breaking AndyWall: Transgressive and Playful Exploration on the Dynamic Role of Users in Art and Design. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’16), 3855-3858.
4. Laewoo (Leo) Kang and Steven J. Jackson. 2018. Collaborative Art Practice and/as HCI Research. interactions March/ Apr, (To appear).
5. Laewoo (Leo) Kang, Steven J. Jackson, and Phoebe Sengers. 2018. Intermodulation: Improvisation and Collaborative Art Practice for HCI. (To appear).
6. Laewoo Kang and Hsin-Yi Chien. 2010. He: Calligraphy as a Musical Interface. In NIME, 352-355.
7. Laewoo Kang, Tianyuan Gu, and Geri Gay. 2013. Harmonic paper: interactive music interface for drawing. In CHI’13 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 763-768.
8. Laewoo Leo Kang. 2017. Echo(): Listening to the Reflection of Obsolete Technology. In Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference Companion Publication on Designing Interactive Systems, 305-308.
9. Laewoo Kang, Taezoo Park, and Steven Jackson. 2014. Scale. In Proceedings of the extended abstracts of the 32nd annual ACM conference on Human factors in computing systems - CHI EA ’14, 399-402.
10. Laewoo Kang. I Want To: Interactive Installation for Exploring Our Desire, Proceedings of International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI). ACM, 2018.
11. Laewoo Kang, Miriam Simun. Jump-Jam. 2011.