Take a guided tour of my project space - 그림자가 핀다 (And the Shadow Blooms) - at Wo/Manhouse 2022. Each video is 1-3 minutes long, or you can watch them all in one 12 minute video by scrolling to the bottom of the list.
Many thanks to Altiora Media for shooting and editing the videos!
Hangul translation by 이민선 Lee Min Sun.
An introduction to me and 그림자가 핀다 (And the Shadow Blooms), my project space in the den of Wo/Manhouse 2022. It is a site of beauty and dissonance. I invite the viewer to sit in a symbolic blossom created by the icon of the mountain, which form the petals of the blossom. This enclosure is aesthetically beautiful, charged, dissonant, layered with personal and cultural narratives. I am concerned with surface and ornament in an exploration of what substance whispers beneath these skins. This exploration re-examines what it means to be of a diaspora that represents / disrupts Korean-ness / American-ness and "home."
Throughout the room and above each mountain icon, except the dildo tree, are dancheong 단청, which translates literally to "red-green." These vibratory flower symbols are painted on palace ceilings in Korea. The dancheong I use are decals on the windows and walls or stenciled on the ceiling, and they are meant to be a form of protection against evil. They create a space of healing in the project space of 그림자가 핀다 (And the Shadow Blooms).
This mountain icon is composed of a traditional Korean striped fabric called saekdong 색동, which means "colorful stripes." It honors my ancestry and patrilineal grandmother, Yeongeun Pack 백연근, who passed away in 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. The text is scribed between the fabric stripes in Hangul and English and tells the story of halmoni’s many renamings and erasures through her lifetime because of colonization, immigration and assimilation. The text at the foundation of the mountain describes the village where halmoni was born, which was "Way up north at the foot of 백두산 (Paek Tu Mountain). 백 (Paek) is the same as 백 (Pack). We are of the mountain.”
This minimalist and sculptural mountain feels like rigid hierarchy in the military or government. A fellow artist called it Brutalist, which is an architectural style that is stark and exposes raw material to create menacing form. I like that word because it describes American imperialism in Korea, which may have been compelling and attractive to a nation that was devastatingly poor after the war, and also exacted a brutal cost and imbalance of power. The U.S. provided aid, but at what cost?
In Korea, difficult and private stories are called "Stories Never to be Told" 말못할사연. I am asking that the viewer become a participant in the exhibition by writing their story on the jongie jupgi 종이줖기 paper provided, folding it into a shape and sliding it into the slot I created in the cabinet. Through this ritual of storytelling, our collective Stories Never to Be Told are acknowledged and held in a space of healing.
The dildo tree is colorful and attractive, but also brings dissonance into the space. It's symbolic and uses literal representation. Alongside the guns and knives, the dildos charge the space by visualizing phallic violence and danger and power, but also promises of pleasure, safety and joy. This bizarre tree is also broader. It’s about colonization and imperial invasion that happened in Korea and across Asia and the way this violence lands on the bodies of Asian women and girls. These histories feed how Asian women are both fetishized and erased here in the U.S.
The dildo tree was sponsored by Self Serve, a sex-positive, women and queer owned adult shop and resource center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The patio door is a space where phrases, such as: "The mountain calls me to remember my vastness. 산은 나의 광대함을 기억하라고 한다" slide into one another in an attempt to integrate the dissonance of language. The mountain icon inverts itself and creates the symbol of the vagina as the patio door opens. This mountain icon incorporates the visual stripes of saekdong 색동 fabric, which means “colorful stripes”, and the dancheong 단청 "red-green" symbol of the blossom.
This is a compilation of the above videos into one 12 minute tour of 그림자가 핀다 (And the Shadow Blooms), my project space in the den of Wo/Manhouse 2022.