Artist Bio: J. Meejin Yoon, born in Seoul, Korea, is an architect, designer, and educator who fuses architectural practice with new media. She received a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University, and went on to complete a Masters of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She founded MY Studio in 2000, and has now combined forces with the architect, Eric Höweler, whom she founded Höweler + Yoon Architecture with in 2005 (Principals). According to her firm’s profile, “Höweler + Yoon Architecture / MY Studio is a multidisciplinary practice, operating in the space between architecture, art, and landscape. They believe in an embodied experience of architecture, seeing media as material and its effects as palpable elements of architectural speculation” (Firm Profile). Yoon’s individual and collaborative projects have won numerous awards and accolades, and her work has been recognized for, “its innovative and interdisciplinary nature” (MIT Profile). Yoon has been commissioned to create site-specific works in a diverse locations and spaces, but she also devotes her time to education and research. Presently, she is Director of the undergraduate program within the Department of Architecture at MIT, and she has taught at the Graduate Level Architecture Design Studios at MIT for the past 10 years.
In these videos of Meejin Yoon’s piece, Windscreen (2011), we see a public installation that reacts to the weather conditions of its surroundings. In this footage, wind visibly and audibly affects the custom-made wind turbines that comprise the multi-level piece. Yoon is taking wind, an abstract and invisible power, and visualizing its force through LED lighting. This temporary installation was placed on the facade of Building 54 on MIT’s campus during a festival the institute hosted for the 150th anniversary of its founding, and was made in collaboration with a team of MIT students.
Yoon’s piece offers a beautiful spectacle to be sure, but she is also inviting her audience to think about wind as an environmental resource – one that is largely untapped. These small turbines that comprise Windscreen are solely dependent on wind for power, thereby making her piece an artistic display, as well as scientific one. Yoon and her team of collaborators (architecture, visual arts, and mechanical engineering students from MIT) are making a statement about energy consumption and environmental stewardship through Windscreen. Simultaneously, they are presenting a piece that embodies the opportunities alternative energy resources provide. In Windscreen, Yoon gracefully combines high and low technology – her lantern-like turbines combine delicate, simple engineering with LED lighting and scientific principles used to harness natural forces for energy.