New Project for the DMZ Art Festival: “Entrenched Thought”Posted: April 2, 2011
Here is a bit of background and the basic idea of the project:
In 1989 I arrived in South Africa for a year to work for a community development organization and news magazine. Mandela was still in jail and the Iron Curtain was still in place. I had no idea what I was in for. I had completed two years of a graduate degree in Cross-cultural Studies and both my inner and outer world were about to be turned upside-down.
You can guess the history; at about the same time as I witnessed the release of Mandela from prison, attending the euphoric Cape Town celebrations, the iron curtain started coming down. However the personal satisfaction that locals felt was something I couldn’t quite get my head around. I needed to find a connection between my inner and outer worlds.
Having studied and lived abroad, borders and cultural conflicts have attempted to define and frustrate my life. In this way, thinking and dialoguing about how to deal with cultural and political differences has left its mark on my interior life and my vision of the world. My work as an artist became a need to create some kind of poetic construct; some mechanism to find out how to bring the inside to the outside; to make it meaningful to people very different from myself.
This bit of biography is key to my practice. When taking solitary objects, turning them inside-out, consumer packages or personal ephemera, I have a compulsion to build bridges between personal worlds with larger questions. The project, “Entrenched Thought”, the idea of digging a trench along the DMZ, with the help of South Korean soldiers and locals and buttressing the structure with books, newspapers and mud, rather than sandbags, is just as much about “Disentrenching” thought, opening up dialogue and sharing private stories and views as it is about entrenched regional political and military tension. Its a project about digging.
The DMZ history with respect to digging is well known. In the 1970′s the South Koreans discovered that the North had built tunnels under the two-kilometre wide zone that were large enough for an invading force to go through. While the iron curtain has come down, and presently we are seeing revolutions in the Middle East, Korea remains divided. In light of this, for the 11th time since 1999, the DMZ Art Festival is held with the aim to “pursue the constructive endeavour of peace.”
Having researched local history I will be working side by side with people, building friendships and making the project into a participatory installation; part performance, part sculpture, which will involve the local community as they celebrate the DMZ Art Festival. The extensive photographic documentation that I will make of the project will allow me to offer prints to participants and supporters as a reminder of potential new ideas.
I will be posting drawings and more details about the project and how you can get involved.
A few points.
• You can send old books to be used in the construction of the project.
Here is the address for sending a package of books which will be held for the project when I arrive there. I will be working on the project from May 24 until about June 6:
Seokjang-ri Art Museum
875 Seokjang-ri, Beakhak,
• You can recommend titles of books that you think should be in the construction, but the best way to recommend would be sending a copy of it to be included.
• You will be able to contribute though indiegogo.com billed as
“The world’s leading international funding platform” and similar to Kickstarter.
I am working on a short video to post there soon. I will update this link when ready.
• You can see about actually coming to Korea to work on the project with me and do some digging side-by-side.