Hao Jingban and Eisa Jocson win 2021 SeMA-HANA Media Art Award

The prize, founded in 2014, is awarded to a participating artist of the Seoul Mediacity Biennale

Courtesy Seoul Museum of Art

Artists Hao Jingban and Eisa Jocson have won this year’s SeMA-HANA Media Art Award, presented by Seoul Museum of Art. The prize, founded in 2014, is awarded to a participating artist of the Seoul Mediacity Biennale, whose 2021 edition is titled One Escape at a Time.

Hao Jingban is a Beijing-based artist and filmmaker, whose work I Understand … (2021) explores civic movements and the potential and limits of empathy. ‘In her art she is always checking the legitimacy of the camera, of the intrusion of her voice and of the relationships between all the components that compose the work,’ Aimee Lin wrote of Hao’s work for ArtReview in 2017. ‘She takes time to search for this legitimacy, this process itself an important part of the end product.’

Eisa Jocson is a Manila-based choreographer and artist, whose new video work Superwoman: Empire of Care (2021) considers medical workers in the Philippines, feted as national heroes while being forced into precarious labour. Profiling Jocson for ArtReview in 2019, Stephen Wilson wrote of the artist’s exploration of migrant bodies, commodified entertainment and alienation: ‘By using the body as an instrument of artistic expression and political protest, Jocson challenges the reduction of the migrant labourer’s body to the status of an object’.

This year’s jury consisted of Ahn Kyuchul, artist and head of the SeMA advisory committee; Beck Jeesook, director of Seoul Museum of Art; Yung Ma, artistic director of the 11th Seoul Mediacity Biennale; Susanne Pfeffer, Director, Museum MMK Für Moderne Kunst; and June Yap, director of curatorial, programmes and publications, Singapore Art Museum.

Reviewing this year’s Seoul Mediacity Biennale – organised by former M+ and Pompidou Centre curator Yung Ma, around the relationship between art and escapism – for ArtReview, Andrew Russeth wrote: ‘The mood is frequently bitter-sweet, even melancholic, punctuated by radiant bursts of optimism and rebellion.’

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