Designer and web developer Yehwan Song challenges conventional understandings of web design with her experimental sites and interactive graphic interfaces, resisting the dogma of usability and the relentless standardisation of networked environments. For the 17th Istanbul Biennial, she was invited to iterate her vision of an ‘internet of villages’, sub-networks based on affinity and shared interest rather than the prospect of universal dissemination. The resulting website reflects the Biennial’s composting process as it happens, weaving together its six thematic threads to reveal unanticipated resonances and make new conversations possible.
Song’s radial design, inspired by spiders’ webs and meteorological charts, mimics a living organism, constantly re-forming and growing. It generates new cross-sections of the Biennial from day to day, inviting viewers into a continuous conversation with the contributors. The site’s spiral layers started to unfurl in April 2022 at cascadingspiral.com, and are refreshed progressively like a weekly gazette throughout the Biennial season, while interactive portals provide another layer of correspondence at multiple venues.
Yehwan Song (b. 1995, Seoul, Korea) is an artist and designer questioning standardised design and interface conventions that frame users’ behaviour, and the templates that make them lose their content awareness and become accustomed to oversimplification. She constructs outside-the-frame devices and interfaces in order to challenge the notion of user-friendliness, pursuing diversity instead of consistency and respecting variety in the web environment above efficiency. Her latest group exhibitions include the Typojanchi Biennale, Seoul, South Korea (2019); Virtual School Tour, Korean Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2020); Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, Seoul, South Korea (2021); World on a Wire, New York, USA (2021) and To you: Move Toward Where You Are, Seoul, South Korea (2022).