Ellie Kyungran Heo is an artist who experiments with perceptual processes, approaching subjects through the media of moving image, sound and installation. Exploring points of tension between the anthropological and the ecological, Heo studies how art can affect human perceptions, highlight ecological conflicts which are often excluded by social conventions and promote an alternative discourse—argument, reflection and reconstruction—on conflicts between individuals and other living beings, and their societies and environments.
Heo's practice, in conjunction with field research on her subjects, considers:
• the writing of the French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, who theorised the interface between the Self and the Other in terms of a meeting between singularities (Totality and Infinity, 1969), harnessing Levinas’s insights into the relationship between humans and their environment;
• Adam Smith's theory of imagination and speculation that relates to aesthetic engagement (The Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1759);
• Jacques Derrida’s biopolitical theories on the force, rights and justice in human and non-human relations (The Animal That Therefore I Am, 2008 and The Beast & Sovereign Volume 1-2, 2008);
• Jane Bennett’s political theory, which recognises the active participation of non-human forces in human events (Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things, 2016);
• Anat Pick’s film-philosophy that presents the aesthetic point of view in ethical thinking about the vulnerability of species (Creaturely Poetics: Animality and Vulnerability in Literature and Film, 2011); and
• Daniel Chamovitz’s plant sensory systems theory, which seeks to answer the question of ‘what is “sense” for humans and for plants?’ (What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses, 2012).
Following graduation from the Royal College of Art in London (2015), Heo has exhibited and screened her work widely, including the Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil, São Paulo; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul; Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow; Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul; Whitechapel Gallery, London; LUX Moving Image, London; and The Photographers’ Gallery, London.