November 2014: Bora Yoon


Artist of the Month     >    2014 Artists


NAME: Bora Yoon
ORIGIN: United States
ART: Music / Sound / Performance / Installations / Commissions
MAIN GENRE: Multimedia Performance, Site-specific performance
TRAINING: Classically trained (piano, violin, voice) Conservatory-gone-Experimental, School of Life
ARTS AFFILIATIONS: 2014 TED Fellow, New York Foundation for the Arts (Music / Sound Fellow), INNOVA recording artist, Member of the American Composers Forum, Asian American Arts Alliance, SOZO Artists, Artist in Resident at HERE Art Center, and Park Avenue Armory.

BIO: Korean-American composer, vocalist, and sound artist Bora Yoon creates immersive audiovisual soundscapes using digital devices, voice, and found objects and instruments from a variety of cultures and historical centuries. Evoking memory and association, she formulates cinematic storytelling through sound design, through live performance, music art film, and environmental installations in historic architecture.   A 2014 TED fellow, Yoon’s pioneering works have been presented by Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Nam June Paik Museum (Korea), Singapore Arts Festival, MADE Festival (Sweden), Festival of World Cultures (Poland), Park Avenue Armory, Walker Art Center, among others.  Her latest multimedia release Sunken Cathedral is available as an interactive graphic album on iPad, Double-LP, and a multimedia staged production, premiering this January 2015, at LaMama Experimental Theater, NYC

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: TED Talk, Featured on the front-page of the Wall Street Journal and in the National Endowment for the Arts podcast for her musical innovations, Yoon’s music has been presented at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Singapore Arts Festival, the Nam Jun Paik Art Center (South Korea), the TED stage, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Banff Centre for Art and Creativity, MADE Festival (Sweden), Festival of World Cultures (Poland), Walker Art Center, Park Avenue Armory, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and universities and performing arts centers worldwide.  

LATEST WORKS: Yoon has composed new works for Sympho, Metropolis Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, Sō Percussion, the NJ Symphony Orchestra, Musica Viva.

Bora’s latest video
Bora performs at TED 2014


Please describe your artistic themes
Sound + space, music + moving image, ancient and archetypal w/ innovative and futuristic = to reach an aesthetic of timeless / universal transformation / transmutation / circulation / healing.

Please describe your creative process
Horizontal / vertical – creating while upright is a different mode of thinking than lying down thinking. Horizontal thinking is less-pressured, child-like, more free. Whether it’s taking a creative “nap” / meditation, or flopping on the sofa, or doing yoga on the floor — it often helps me widen my lens and temper the vertical (intellectual) thinking w/ the horizontal (free associative). Head / heart / gut – a litmus test I use, to strike a proper balance between the intellectual, feeling, and gut instinct / intuition — when I write and create. Moving meditation – riding my bicycle processes artistic matters very deep in the subconscious, to the conscious realm, into “aha” moments Drafting / revising / procrastinating / freaking out / deadlines — i.e. painting yourself into a corner, watching the time run out, and creating portal through which you will deliver and perform.

What are your artistic goals?
To innovate music. To illuminate / articulate the invisible. To transmute and offer as much healing and illumination through music to foster a common language, expression, and connection to others (i.e. empathy).

What are your views on the industry?
I understand Industry as a necessary part of how the visible and invisible economy coexist and go by. Formulas and infrastructure of industry in creative fields are crumbling and constantly shifting, so it is a rather tricky and challenging time to be an artist. We need to foster a larger understanding in society — that if Arts and Music are valuable to you — to offer back the contribution to help continue that art form, movement, and culture.

What advice could you give to emerging artists?
1. Build a good name for yourself.
2. Learn to be frugal, resourceful, creative. Limitations can often foster creativity to think beyond your bounds. Break the myth of being rich AND famous. (It is always usually one or the other, rarely both) But don’t get discouraged, being an artist is gift in and of itself. You must enjoy the process, and the journey. the journey IS the reward.
3. Art is not just a product — it’s a process, and a life PRACTICE. Be open to the various dimensions every endeavor offers you, and know that HOW you go about creating your product, your interactions, communications, and realizations — are all the many facets and beauty of being an artist. Art shapes you just as much as you shape it — and understand that it is a transformational, two-way street.


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