Decoded Love is based on the silent film, "The Toll of the Sea", the first color feature film made in Hollywood in 1922. This perplexing story of unrequited love, similar to Puccini's "Madame Butterfly,” stages a power struggle between the dominant male and obedient female character. The love story not only represents the complications of society's subtle yet oppressive gender roles but also the contradiction of defending peace with war.
Interpreting and visually deconstructing the film, Shin Il Kim reveals the actual material of the movie; the indirect light from the playing film is his main and distinctive medium. In the darkened room of the installation, a pattern of lights emanate from a circular channel in the floor that is more than 8 feet in diameter. Viewers walk over and around the circular glow of the shimmering lights as the film’s original score plays softly in the background.
While maintaining the film's sequence, the scenes of each character have been separated onto their own DVDs. Under the floor of the installation, five TV monitors play each character's DVD illuminating the cut out circular channel. Decoded Love strips the narrative from the film's love story in an attempt to reveal the true essence of the word love. The love story is visualized only as light, which is symbolic in many religions of purity, truth, goodness and life.
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