Hyundai Motor has become a major supporter of contemporary arts and culture in recent years, with partners as diverse as Bloomberg, Tate and the Venice Biennale. Ahead of the Christie’s Art+Tech Summit: The A.I. Revolution in New York on 25 June, Global Chief Marketing Officer Wonhong Cho discusses the intersection of art and technology and the company’s immersion in the art world.
What inspired Hyundai Motor’s interest in art, and why is it important for the company to support arts and culture?
Wonhong Cho: ‘None of our lives unfold in a single place. In our transnational world, with its increased movement and exchange between borders — physical, digital or imaginary — it is ever more important to explore beyond our boundaries. At Hyundai Motor, we believe that art raises important and necessary questions for society and is a lens through which we can expand our understanding of the world. Art is another vehicle that connects people, communities and cultures in extraordinary ways.’
Hyundai Motor has partnered with major global art organisations, such as MMCA, Tate, LACMA, and La Biennale di Venezia. What can you tell us about some of these collaborations?
WC: ‘Hyundai Motor has established decade-long partnerships with the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA), Tate and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in support of unique programmes that deliver inspiring and, hopefully, perception-changing experiences to an audience of millions.
‘In January, Hyundai and Tate announced the launch of a new research initiative: Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational, which is in addition to the ‘Hyundai Commission’, a series of new site-specific installations by international artists in Tate Modern’s iconic Turbine Hall.
‘Over the last two decades Tate has created platforms through its exhibitions and programming that are open, inclusive and more reflective of its audiences, and which reveal connections between international art and artists.
‘The Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational will build on the institution’s groundbreaking work and expand the narrative of art history beyond Western Europe and North America by showing that art, its movements and its histories are interconnected well beyond its country of origin. By facilitating collective research and discussions with individuals and organisations around the world, the Centre will provide a significant and long-lasting benefit for the museum community and beyond.
‘Most recently in May, we celebrated the opening of the 58th International Art Exhibition — La Biennale di Venezia as the main sponsor of the Korean Pavilion, which we have supported since 2015.
‘History Has Failed Us, But No Matter is curated by Hyunjin Kim, Lead Curator for Asia at the interdisciplinary contemporary art foundation KADIST, and presents the work of three female artists: Hwayeon Nam, siren eun young jung and Jane Jin Kaisen. The pavilion is themed around narratives of East Asian modernisation.’
Art and technology might not seem a natural relationship to some. How do you see the relationship between these two seemingly disparate fields?
WC: ‘At Hyundai Motor, art and technology come together in the designing and making of our cars. And obviously the cars should appeal to us aesthetically and reflect the brand’s design language.
‘Our partnership with Bloomberg Media focuses on our commitment to having a better understanding of the latest technologies and how it can work alongside art in our society. Streamed on Bloomberg’s digital platforms, ART+TECHNOLOGY profiles a line-up of global artists and organisations exploring art and technology in three-to four-minute documentary-style episodes. The series discusses emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, data, virtual reality and 3D printing in 108 episodes.’
Along those lines, what are your thoughts on the significance of technology in current artistic practice?
WC: ‘It’s difficult to ignore its tremendous impact on any industry, including the art world. Today, many artists are using A.I. tools and machine-learning algorithms to create new works which provide interactive and immersive experiences.
‘Under the umbrella of “The Hyundai Project”, the 10-year partnership with LACMA, we support artists who take an innovative approach to converging the significant fields of art and technology. A series of related exhibitions have been presented in recent years, including Random International’s Rain Room, Diana Thater’s The Sympathetic Imagination, Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s CARNE y ARENA (Virtually present, Physically invisible) and 3D: Double Vision.
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‘The Hyundai Project also supports LACMA’s “Art+Technology Lab”, which offers public programmes that address the intersection of these two fields and champions technology-based artist projects through grants and in-kind support from leading technology companies.’
Artificial intelligence has been transforming many industries, including the automotive industry and the art world. What are some of the ways in which it is informing decisions at Hyundai Motor?
WC: ‘Breakthrough technologies like artificial intelligence are becoming more and more embedded in every part of our lives, and the automotive industry is no exception. Cars are no longer a simple means of transportation. With rapid advancements in the industry, the purpose and meaning of the automobile have evolved.
‘We therefore feel the responsibility to be thoughtful about the importance of real human experiences and remember that the ultimate goal of technology is to benefit people. At Hyundai Motor, we will continue to seek ways in which technology can bring people together rather than keeping them apart.’
The Art+Tech Summit: The A.I. Revolution takes place at Christie’s in New York on 25 June