To : Address unknown
From : An asian adoptee abroad artist anonymous
Berlin, Aug. 2012
longing for the belonging ?
All the best,
Copyright © HomeBase Project. All rights reserved.
HB BUILD III Artist
Description of work created at HB LAB:
This body of work is composed as a triptych.
Since 2003 (the 50 year anniversary of International Korean adoptions), the concept of the Korean word (Korean in opposite to Sino-Korean word): Baek (벡), phon. [bek], meaning “100” or “white.” I have made works that are 100x100 cm, with 100 pictures of White Korean adoptees.
Continuing that concept on different themes and mediums with this focus were made at HomeBase Berlin... Talking about sense of “Home.” What is home when you are kicked out from a place/country you call home? The obvious for me, was food/noodles, space/room and culture.
* 100 Ramyeon (벡 라면)
100 Ramyeon Package curtain,
100 seconds video
Installation – display of ramyeon cooking set.
* 100 boxes: a story of displacement (printing frame/Korean window)
“And again” video on art-making (30 mins)
3 calligraphies on paper (Recycle, Canson)
Installation (frame on window)
* Address Unknown (85 views of my room in Berlin)
Friday, Aug. 17th, 2012 – envelope numbered 73
Saturday, Aug. 18th, 2012 – envelope numbered 74
Sunday, Aug. 19th, 2012 – envelope numbered 73
100 Ramyeon (instant noodles)
Ramyeon – 라면 - (instant noodles, ramen in Japanese) is junk food (full of MSG), unhealthy, cheap and quick food Koreans usually eat as a snack.
During the IMF (International Money Fund) crisis (late 90s), in South Korea (while I was living there, at the end of 90s) the Korea Herald published an article about a (young) Korean man who died from eating instant noodles for 2 years.
So when I wrote a letter to Immigration Canada to extend my stay in Montreal while waiting for an answer from a request for Permanent Residency, I started the 100 Ramyeon Project, knowing that I may be deported and will have to travel back to where I am from... Europe... (not Korea). This is a symbol of my culture of birth, bringing along with me food I could find in any major big cities.
From April 8th to Aug. 8th, 2012, Montreal (April 8th – May 11th, 2012), Paris (May 12th – June 3rd, 2012), Berlin (June 4th – Aug 8th, 2012), I ate 100 instant noodles, almost every day, for lunch. Wherever I was, I made a “rendez-vous” with creativity (choosing noodles/ingredients, recipe, bowl & background), taking a picture of it and then eating it.
The video is a slideshow of those photographs with the “slurping” sound of eating noodles. In Asia, this eating habit shows appreciation for the meal you are eating.
I kept the packages in order to compare them: Montreal - Korean noodles manufactured in China for Chinatown, Paris - imported directly from Korea and Berlin - manufactured in Frankfurt for the European market.
100 Boxes: a story of displacement
For a long time, the Western world declared that the printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg.
In fact 200 years prior, Koreans had already “invented” the metal printing press technique.
Being at HomeBase Berlin, and being able to “use” material from the “back” room, I found that frame directly reminded me of a Korean window frame. I used it knowing that it didn't belong to me and that I may have to return it.
So for that visual part of that artwork, I used that “found” frame to create work with a (Asian) calligraphic gesture (3 time period) to draw 100 boxes. First on a recycled paper, then on a “simple” white light paper, then on a Canson thicker black paper.
This process was self-video-taped and edited in a 30 minute video titled “And again”, which recalls the repeated gestures and noises that were different on the wooden frame according to paper and pen or pencils.
When HomeBase Program asked me to write a letter home. My first thought was that I don’t have home anymore. So the South Korean film by Kim Kiduk “Address unknown” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Address_Unknown_(2001_film) - came up in my mind. Checking on internet about the same title, I found a German novel written in 1938 by Kathrine Kressmann Taylor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Address_Unknown_(novel). Both works talk about separation... and inter-culturalism.
Even though the time of “mailing” letter is old fashioned, those two coincidences are again linking, Korea and Germany.
As soon as I entered my designated room twice numbered 13 (bad luck number) and 24 (in Korean isa] means moving), my very first feeling was to run away and wanting to go back home. I had the feeling of entering a jail cell. Knowing I am a bit of a drama queen, I de-dramatized that feeling and decided to take an everyday-memory and take a picture of how I made this room ... “mine” for the 85 days that I’ll be there. The first half was taken from the door and the second half was taken from the opposite side... the window.
Displaying “recycled” paper envelopes with a cellophane window and printing a black and white photograph with a name and number was reminding me the gesture of a prisoner when they countdown the days of their stay.
It took me 2 months to adjust and accept my new reality, not knowing if I can go back home (Montreal) or end up staying within the European continent, land of my displacement by adoption.