A Microinterview with Terence Koh
This issue features a microinterview with Terence Koh, conducted by Ross Simonini. Koh’s work involves death, decay, silence, an abundance of white, and, quite often, his own semen. Though he has shown and performed at many galleries—among them Mary Boone and Peres Projects—his website, AsianPunkBoy.com, was one of the first showcases for his work and an early example of how art could flourish in a digital domain. On the bottom floor of his apartment in New York’s Chinatown, Koh runs the gallery Asia Song Society (or ASS), and has recently shown the work of Tim Barber and James Franco (an interview with whom appears in this issue). This conversation happened on the internet.
THE BELIEVER: Would you call the internet beautiful or ugly?
TERENCE KOH: In the internet there is the giver and the taker, and, between, it is the “I” that finds beauty in it.
BLVR: What can art do only on the internet?
TK: It can provide the power to believe in art in new formulas, because the internet is the newest medium for art.
BLVR: What can only art do on the internet?
TK: Art is the only power capable of destroying the internet.
BLVR: Much of your work is white. What draws you to white?
TERENCE KOH: Your computer screen is at its best as a pure white light.
BLVR: You recently stopped talking for an extended period of time. Why?
TK: Because silence is whiteness.
BLVR: Did this accomplish something?
TK: I have a record of my silence.
BLVR: As an artist, how do you use the medium of the internet?
TK: The internet is about popularity. It is a medium to spread my popularity as an artist.
BLVR: How does looking at art on the internet differ from the way people look at art in museums or galleries?
TK: The internet is intimate. Everybody collects the art on the internet, everybody owns the art and enjoys it only for their self, completely selfishly.
BLVR: As an artist, what are your feelings toward the internet?
TK: I want to fall in love with the internet, but I haven’t fallen in love with it yet, because I still have not given love on the internet.
BLVR: How would you describe the various tableaux that appear on your website? Is it important that they be seen online?
TK: It is about creating a new universe for the new children of art, because the new children understand the immediate access of online information, and I want to make this immediate information as emotional as I am capable of being, as a human being.
BLVR: What is your relationship to the internet?
TK: Emotional popularity contest.
BLVR: How has the internet affected your artwork?
TK: I want to be the first complete-continuity-stream artist of the twenty-first century.