Focal Points features the winning works by recipients of the 2023 Emerging Digital Artists Award: Bomi Yook, Jasmine Liaw, Melissa Johns, Santiago Tamayo Soler, and Sophia Oppel.
This year’s projects share a common pursuit in stretching the potential of digital media to spotlight untold stories and reconsider established frameworks. Bomi Yook’s work blends Korean cosmologies with procedurally-generated particle systems, inviting us to view the world through a lens of interrelation. Jasmine Liaw weaves an auto-ethnographic visual poem rooted in an experimental dance practice, celebrating her own diasporic identity and that of many others. Melissa Johns fills her virtual reality experience with the voices of multiple generations, creating a living archive of her French-Canadian and Kanien’keha:ka heritage that questions how we define “Canadian identity.” Santiago Tamayo Soler’s work unfolds like a vintage video game, documenting the repercussions of a global ecological catastrophe and presenting humans as the solution to world salvation. And finally, Sophia Oppel’s faux virtual assistant contemplates her own involvement in the surveillance systems and unequal distribution of feminized labor under a capitalist system, urging us to consider our role in AI-informed technology.
The five works speak to the realms of diasporic identity, the complexities surrounding emergent technologies, the effects of late-stage capitalism, the vulnerability arising from environmental crises, and our intricate connections to the myriad systems that shape our existence. Each artist considers a distinct aspect of their subjective worldview to paint a broader picture of our collective experience.