Under Construction

CARLA Review
La Croix, 2017
AALA Gallery
, 2018   (Minha Park, Sejin Hyun, Dahn Gim, Kangseung Lee, Haena Yoo)

Could you describe your work, Under Construction, in It’s Snowing in LA?
Under Construction is a site specific video installation about Koreatown. The original piece I made was a theatrical installation, as in a reassembled, staged construction site, but I transformed the work into a wall piece for It’s Snowing in LA. I would describe it as a flattened version, a collage consisting of a five-minute video projection, sound, and found materials like a rock, newspaper, and Korean ramen boxes. I particularly consider this piece in relation to Rauschenberg’s cardboard box series; I had a desire to see a Korean version of that historical work through my installation. Much of your artistic practice has to do with constructing machine-like structures that are also organic. 

Much of your artistic practice has to do with constructing machine-like structures that are also organic. Could you talk about this aspect of your practice? Could you elaborate on your process?
I am interested in making operative systems that symbolize or represent social interactions and power structures resulting from neo-globalization. For instance, in my recent collaborative work, Maintain Disgust, Sterling Wells and I made a model of the world that is operated by vaporized water from heat lamps. Eventually the corn and milk plastics in the installation cultivated bacteria, and each section of the work was at a different stage of decomposition based on its proximity to heat and water. The viewer could read the symbolic and social meanings from this process as representing “decomposed people,” who are manufactured or transformed under their own circumstances. In my other works, grains are representative of various cultures, like Western, Asian, North American, etc., and the structures are mainly constructed with found materials. In these works, the structure provides context for socio-political subjects. In Under Construction, moving images function as an adherent that brings together the various aspects of the installation.
What is the significance of the materials and objects you use to construct your installations?
In my work, objects are inherently cultural and are used as signifiers to depict matters of cultural diversity, globalization, or how one person or community can be related to another social position. The defamiliarization of objects is important in my work as well. I seek to make the viewer contemplate the re-articulation of interconnection and hierarchy in regards to scale, perception, and position. In Under Construction, I collected Korean ramen boxes from Korean grocery markets in Koreatown. Ramen often symbolizes overcoming poverty or hunger in Korea, since it was invented and distributed to the public during the Korean war. But the text “Made in Korea” and “Mee Ju Yong” (“for residents in the United States”) are labeled next to each other on the boxes. I think these found boxes from Korean grocery stores represent the spirit of the immigrants who settled and lived through. Alongside the boxes, the layered documentary video, still image projection, and sound orchestrate a relational experience.

Video Link, Koreatown