Michael Joo was born to Korean parents in 1966 in Ithaca, New York. He studied at Washington University and went on to complete his masters at Yale School of Art.
Through sculpture, video, and installation Joo addresses the complexity of our relationship to technology, nature and spirituality. His work references science and religion equally, looking at technology and its infrastructures as a way to explore social relations and the formation of identity.
From the start of his career Joo has focused in his work on the processes through which visible entities (like the human body, or flora and fauna in nature) consume invisible calories, and the crystallized byproducts generated by these processes. Joo combines making art with the apparently scientific theme of production of matter-energy and with the expenditure of calories of the human being during physical and psychological effort to achieve a state of diversity.
Joo’s work gives concrete visible form to units of mental thought and physical reaction, breaking down the confines between the results of natural phenomena (which can be comprehended by means of scientific theories) and artistic production.
Joo has had solo exhibitions at the Walker Art Center of Minneapolis, the Stedelilijk Museum of Amsterdam, the Bohen Foundation, New York; the Asia Society, New York; the MIT List Visual Art Center, Cambridge; and the Palm Beach Institute for Contemporary Art, Lake Worth, Florida, among others. He was included as one of two artists in the South Korean Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2001 and was awarded the grand prize at this year’s Gwangju Biennale in Gwangju, South Korea.