A Pilot’s Sky Journal

Single Channel HD1080 Video, Photo Transfer on Plexi, 3:43, 2015

 A Pilot’s Sky Journal examines themes of war, surveillance, security, militarism and the human condition. In November 2014, I started following a pilot from U.S. Air Force on Facebook. One day, the pilot, referred to as in the work, shared a group of photos [to all of his Facebook friends] of the Middle East, namely around the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. These photos were taken from his aircraft while he was mid-flight. The pilot included comments on each of the photos detailing to polarization between the romanticized night skies he was witnessing, compared to the war happening in real time on land right below his flight patterns. What resulted from this is a paper trail of highly classified materials (our conversations) and historical timeline (the creation of the original photos and my reproductions) of exchanges between two strangers now intertwined in a complex situation, positioning each of us in a political grey area of public vs. private space both in the physical and the philosophical. 

Mun compiled a recorded conversation she had with the pilot into a video and let him self-censor details from public disclosure. Along with the video, a set of photographs that were taken by the pilot from his aircraft is presented along with his comments related  to each photo depicting his particular situation in the Middle East. In order to challenge the socially constructed paradigm of human perception, Mun manipulates the quantity of information being disclosed and plays upon sublimity of what is being hidden. The collaborative work between Mun and the pilot will be composed of a video, prints, and a book.

Text version of the video, published in Precog
Text version of the video, published in Precog

Review

Technology and its effects on our behavior are also evident in Jung Hee Mun’s work, which investigates the relationships created online and how they shift perceptions of personal identity. In The Pilot’s Journal, a video shows an online exchange between herself and an Air Force pilot who has shared his aerial photographs as he flies over the Middle East, discussing how to display the images so that they cannot be traced to the military. The series of pigment prints which follow the video present the solution; certain images are abstracted or barely visible, with their captions selectively redacted. Yet, the romanticism of the captions and the color saturated images stand in stark contrast to the presumably violent military missions of the pilot, humanizing his position.

[Lumi Tan, Curator at the Kitchen, NYC]

MFA Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition
May 16––June 6
Thesis exhibition of the class of 2015
Curated by Lumi Tan