Oneroom-Babel SANGHEE (Sanghee Lee) (KR), Photo: tom mesic


SANGHEE (Sanghee Lee) (KR)

New Animation Art

Award of Distinction

Oneroom-Babel is the title of a structure placed in the deep sea. The Korean term “Oneroom” refers to an apartment in which the bedroom, kitchen, and living room are not separated but integrated into one space. The players dive into the sea to discover Oneroom-Babel through the medium of VR. Upon diving, players visit residential spaces, once occupied by the people in Oneroom-Babel, one after another. The spaces are filled with sentences written by the artist and extracted from interviews with young people who live in a “Oneroom.” With the texts, sound, and the dreamlike virtual space, players experience the space of a one room apartment in all possible ways. (…) The artwork also allows the audience to be included in the experience of intangible trauma rooted in the space that is difficult to define by our senses alone (…). The concept of “Oneroom” is a by-product of a complex housing problem (…) By employing the mediality of VR, this artwork presents the “affective” details of the housing paradox intertwined with political and economic aspects in Korean society.

Jury Statement

We increasingly hear about the rising cost of living everywhere. In Asia, and beyond, it too often means living in a single space in which bedroom, kitchen and living room are one. This “Oneroom” phenomenon is increasingly spreading across the globe. (…) In this provocative immersive virtual reality (VR) piece, SANGHEE lets us explore and get a first-person experience of what it might mean to be in such a space. VR has many drawbacks and limitations, but one thing it affords is to portray space, and SANGHEE stacked 23 3D scanned Onerooms. This Tower of Babel of tiny living spaces is positioned underwater, at the bottom of some ocean, like a coral formation—adding to the serene yet oppressive nature of the experience. The jury appreciated the direct nature of the work through the very appropriate, simple yet convincing use of the medium to produce a truly embodied and immersive experience of grim life situations that are often portrayed too abstractly. The jury commands the work’s simplicity and efficiency, which successfully frames a set of interviews portraying the lived experience of Korean youth inhabiting the spaces on display, that can resonate with all viewers.

Excerpt from the jury statement



Story: SANGHEE, Seonghun

Music: Guinneissik

Sound design: SANGHEE, Guinneissik

Narration: Hyunjung Go, Eliina Metsäsalo

Narration mixer: Yoonkyung Lee

Special thanks to: Jeonghoon Han, loudcube, Hoonida Kim, the twenty-three people who told me their stories.

With support from: Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture, Unfold X


SANGHEE did photography while majoring in sociology. Her works emphasize the objects and places functioning as extensions of the human body. In line with such emphasis, she currently focuses on the affective gaps experienced when the physical input in the real world has an output into the virtual world or via the virtual world. Another main focus in her works is the way class distinction cooperates or conflicts with technology-intensive media. She uses various genres such as VR, sound performance, and video games as her medium.