Automatic protester

Application for Rhizome commission in 2012.


‘Automatic protester’ is a set of physical tools designed support activists and eventually replace human from the protest scene. Learning from Occupy Wall Street and Arab Spring, it is clear that social movement is heavily mediated through new media technology. Similar technology can be used to enfoce hegemony of power and also as a tool for distributed collective action and participation. Government agencies are investing on artificial intelligence and unmanned vehicles to further control people in revolt. It is the time, we activists, to build practical and symbolic tools to continue protesting in the age of ‘non-human’ public space. The tools are built with material that will cohere with the New York City law for picketing, such as corregated cardboard, styrofoam and electricity will run on low voltage battery and solar cell. The series include ‘Occu-bot’, a hand made electronic protester that continuously occupies public space, ‘Noise Collector’, a dog that records and plays back urban sound via non-electronically amplified megaphone.
Up until this point, my work as the artist and lead engineer focused in creating working prototypes for art exhibitions, which I consider as a simulated public space, while it’s use in real protest scenes has been limited. The Rhizome commission will support launch of D.I.Y manuals to help others make their own and make a large quantity of beta versions that will be shipped to places of social distress around the world. The project website will exhibit videos documenting its use around the world tools. Around the time of public launch, I will hold a workshop for general public to make their own.

Prototype documentation:

Drawings of public interaction with the Automatic protester. These were made prior to performing in the public space.

Arduino running DC motors on two Darlington IC Chip. Motors are found from old CD Rom Drive and wood parts are found from the streets.

Budget Total
  • 10 working Beta types :
    Electronic componenets include: IC 555, H-Bridge, High torque DC motors, Infrared sensors, Arduino xBee kits, battery and solar cell: $2500
    Custom made PCB board: order from Fritzig: $500
  • Shipping to four countries: China (to a far away relative who lives in the city of Dan Dong, on the border with North Korea), Greece (an artist run gallery in Athens), and two other cities in the U.S (possibly an activist bookstore in Oakland, and a non for profit hacker space in Los Angeles) $ 1000
  • Workshop at Rhizome organized public event:
    Material for D.I.Y Kit: $500
    Video documentation team: $100
    Website domain and server for one year: $100
$5000 from Rhizome commission
  • Use of electronics work station, laser cutter and 3D printer for two weeks period:  Eyebeam Art and Technology Center: $2000 (in kind donation)
    Building material: $2000 (in kind donation from Material for the Arts)
    Storage of projects until shipping: $300
    Transportation to and from workshop: $50
  • Artist fee: 40 hours of R&D time: $10*40: $4000 (self financed)
$6350 from self financed and in kind donation
  • Time Line
    2012: June~August: R&D
    2012: September: Public launch of the project and workshop at Rhizome.
    October: Shipping projects to other cities.
    December: Completing archive and online exhibition of projects in use.


B. 1982
Lives in New York City.

  • Education:
    B.F.A The School of the Art Institute of Chicago 2004
    M.S Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology 2007
  • Artist in Residency:
    Art Center Nabi, Seoul 2007
    Eyebeam Art and Technology Center 2008 and 2012 (Fellowship)
  • Teaching experience:
    Parsons School of Design, Ars Electronica, Zero One festival, The Creators Project, etc
  • Professional experience:
    Translator (Korean-English), Designer (Web, graphic, video),
    Tour guide, Cook, Gallery installation crew,
  • Proficient in programming in various hardware/software environment.
  • Solo exhibitions:
    My friends, there is no friend, Spanien 13c, Aarhus, DK 2011
    When technology fails, Reality prevails, Art space Hue, Seoul 2008
  • Selected group exhibitions:
    Codes of Contingency, 319 Scholes, NY, 2012
    Centre des arts d’Enghien-les-Bains, France, 2011
    Random Access, Nam June Paik Art Center, Korea, 2011
  • Curatorial practice:
    Performing Participation, Brooklyn, The Public School NY, 2010
    Roadshow: South Korea, Total Museum of Art, Seoul, 2011
    Resistance and Resilience, Bennington College, 2012

Full Bio and Press is here. 

//Work Sample//


Occu-Bot: An early prototype for the Automatic Protester. Developed and deployed at Occupy Wall Street in the fall of 2011.
Speakers Corners (2012): Mixed media installation and public events: 6 weeks long, process based exhibition that displayed work in progress as well as workshops in collaboration with Occupy Wall Street working gruops.
IFriend (2011): Laser cut acrylics, electronics, wood/ lecture performance: An Instant Friend that will accompany lonely person.
Camerautomata (2008): Hacked digital camera, roomba, portable printer, duck decoy and microcontroller: An image digesting robotic tourist duck.



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