While the initial concepts of his works start from his personal experiences they are not limited to these. The broader themes of his work are related to our society in that everyone, to some extent, wear their own masks to survive. The above mentioned work, “Masked Citizen X” is machine that can make facial expressions for people who cannot control their countenances well. People who put on this mask are able to have stress free countenance interaction whenever they want as long as they wear the mask.
However, the rather simple expressions or “emoticons” emitted by the mask does not reflect the person’s feelings. As such, it rather simplifies the communication between people in a more utopian way in contrast to the complex nature of today’s communication systems. The work “Reactive Hair X” contains knives fixed to a helmet resembling Medusa’s head of snakes and the work “Iron Chair X” has knives affixed to the edge of the chair. Both were created to address matters of communication between the artist and other people and are aggressive commentaries on the stresses and inability to deal with certain uncomfortable or frustrating social settings.
Through these works, the artist does not want to show us efficiency in the functional furniture sense for the installation. Rather, the artist wishes to talk about more philosophical and essential questions related to the issues of how we influence each other in contemporary society. In a world where functional product design and technology is actively coveted and highly valued, Jackson Hong makes useless interfaces for the practical modern world. His utilization of technology for these conceptual purposes is a unique way to express his attitude and powerfully disturbs a world so accustomed to valuing attention to design, function and exchange.
Text excerpted from ONE AND J. catalogue essay by Kim Hee Kyung