Seung-Hwan Oh is a South Korean experimental photographer and microbiologist. In the series Impermanence, he creates thought provoking abstract portraits at the intersection of art and organic decay. They are ethereal, electric, psychedelic, and in some ways almost spiritual…but always intriguing.
In the artist’s own words:
This project is about the superimposition of a moment in microbial growth upon a moment in the life of a person through the projection of one spatial-temporal reality onto another.
This captures the evanescence of film photography, the transiency of life, and the continual entangled creative and destructive processes; a millisecond of an expression, an instance of an autonomous geometric evisceration of film, an exploitation of chemical materiality, a vestige composed of millions of pixels, and a complete obliteration into intangible atoms that dissipate into something else.
The process involves the cultivation of chemical consuming microbes on a visual environment created through portraits and a physical environment composed of developed film immersed in water. As the microbes consume the emulsion over the course of months, the silver halides destabilize, obfuscating the legibility of foreground, background, and scale.
This creates an aesthetic of entangled creation and destruction that inevitably is ephemeral, and results in complete disintegration of the film so that it can only be delicately digitized before it is consumed.