The “WAVE”
Written by Kate Koo | Published. 2020.07.13 12:10 | Count : 1061

Ever Since its showing at the Coex SMTown Artium located in Samsung-dong, a huge and magnificent digital art display using anamorphic illusion and 3D effects has been going viral through the media for weeks. The electronic display projects a dynamic wave of water in 3D, as if it is actually swirling vigorously inside a water tank. The display is officially called Public Media Art #1_WAVE (“WAVE”) 

[Photo of the WAVE at the Coex SMTown Artium in front of the COEX complex in Samsung-dong: Approved by D’strict]

The WAVE is the creation of a Korean design company, “D’strict,” which collaborated with the CJ Powercast company to make it a reality. CJ Powercast is a business that operates advertisements on the billboard at the Coex SMTown Artium, and D’strict is a digital media content production company. I had the great fortune o f interviewing Sung Ho Lee, the CEO of D’strict about this sensation. 

[Interviewing Sung Ho Lee, the CEO of D’strict through google meets due to the COVID-19, Photo taken by author]

“We displayed our first display at the Coex SMTown Artium, the WAVE, for a month in April, 2020. And on April 14th, we posted it on multiple SNS channels. At first, it was difficult to know what people thought about the display; however, in May, we were elated to see explosive reactions, both in Korea and abroad. I remember that many people praised it for providing a totally new visual experience that people had never imagined before,” said Sung Ho Lee. The WAVE was even reported on CNN. “It is an honor, and it seems to be the first time that the company has attracted so much attention worldwide. Even if we don't make a lot of money through this, more importantly, we value creativity. We feel proud of ourselves that our recent display has been recognized by a worldwide news network like CNN,” said Sung Ho Lee. 

In May 2018, the Seoul municipal government designated the streets near Samseong-dong subway station, which carry perhaps the greatest volume of traffic in Korea, as the first outdoor mass scale screen advertising zone and eased advertising-related regulations. The most prominent venue in this zone is the Coex SMTown Artium. As such, it became the main venue for companies to showcase super large signage technology. The regulations, however, prohibit the use of the advertising structures in this zone exclusively for commercial purposes. This regulation meant an opportunity for companies like D’strict to showcase their cutting-edge technology in the form of public media art. 

Samsung Electronics Company developed the giant 3D display structure that made the WAVE possible. It took 7 months from September 2017 to March 2018 to install this LED signage board in front of the COEX entrance. This structure is composed of a curved screen, 20.1m high and 80.8m wide, which is 4 times the size of a normal basketball court. According to Samsung Electronics, it is resistant to rain, wind, and UV rays and has excellent durability even when used for a long time as it is built with special aluminum alloy used for airframes. An outdoor advertising signage is usually flat and single sided, and this is the first case in Korea where a display screen with two seamless curved sides has been used. 

Though a commercial company, D’strict created the WAVE as a public media art rather than an advertisement to give courage to the people of Korea hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, according to Sung Ho Lee. “Seeing how much pleasure the WAVE has given to the people of Korea, and perhaps the world, we would very much like to continue to present a variety of stunning media art displays like it,” said Sung Ho Lee. 

As things would have it, outdoor graphic billboards are gaining great popularity around the world and many of them display not only advertisements but also public media art, according Sung Ho Lee. He wants to take advantage of this trend to invest more heavily in public media art content. D’strict hopes that their public media art displays can be shown all across the world. It is Sung Ho Lee’s vision as the CEO of D’strict to create a company where one can work with great pride in the world class public media content they produce, both commercially and artistically.



Kate Koo 
Sophomore (Grade 10)
Seoul Foreign High School

Kate Koo  student_reporter@dherald.com

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