From the series of Hair (頭髮) 

Pinwheel (바람개비 )_ two channel video_1' 21"_2016 

The inherent nature of a pinwheel is manifested only when the material objet and the wind meet. Here, I interpret the wind in two senses. I recall the ambiguity of the Korean word baram: “wind” and “expectations.” While the pinwheel in reality that we see meets the wind, the pinwheel in my artwork  Pinwheel meets hair. Like “following nature and doing nothing” (wuwei ziran) (無爲自然) in Daoism (Taoism, 道家), the wind has no intention(1)(2). Consequently, the pinwheel functions well.

                                                

(2)“Sage. does not intercede; natural law operates spontaneously and without mpediments so that order is established harmoniously among human beings as well as between humans and Nature and humans and Heaven. Cosmogonic metaphors, connected with mythological themes-those of Chaos and of the Mother-call for a Return to the heart of primordial undifferentiation, to Childhood, and on a social scale, to the happy and harmonious anarchy of our

original condition”.  Robinet, Isabelle. (1997). Taoism Growth of a Religion , In Phyllis Brooks (Ed. And Trans). California: Stanford University Press, pp. 28 - 52

(1)While modern scholars, especially those in the West, have been preoccupied with classifying Daoist material as either “philosophical” or “religious,”historically Daoists themselves have been uninterested in such categories and dichotomies. Instead, they have preferred to focus on understanding the nature

of reality, increasing their longevity, ordering life morally, practicing ruler ship, and regulating consciousness and diet. Fundamental Daoist ideas and concerns include wuwei (“effortless action”) (無爲), ziran (“naturalness”) (自然), how to become a shengren (“sage”) (圣⼈人) or zhenren (“realized person”) (賢者), and the ineffable, mysterious Dao (“Way”) itself.

O.S.T _ single channel video_ 20' 33"_2014          Knot_ hair_installation_ 2014

O.S.T is a style of movie credits video projection. The project started as record the list of books I have on bookshelves. The subjects ranged from my childhood fairy tales, the books I read much carefully and it became worn out, the books travelled with me rave over sea and land and it ends up here somehow, the books I desire to read but haven’t got a chance to read or I simply just gave up, and the traveling guide and more. As the credits play there is a building sense of the cultural and personal references. The longer viewer remains, O.S.T plays louder. 

The noose in this installation, Knot was created by repeatedly braiding hairs to create knots, and to show that even hairstyles, which mirror personal identities, are products of the society. Even after becoming adults, the students who have been free from the hairstyle regulation are not free from the established social and external expectations. The repetition of the act of knotting strands of hair is what made this noose.

Hair on me _ single channel video_ 33' 24"_2015      Hair on me_ two channel video projection _59' 50"_ 2015

Hair on Me presents a phenomenon through the act of moving strands of a man’s beard,a symbol of masculinity, to a woman’s face. I well acknowledge that the physical act of removing something from one and attaching it to another is merely an appearance and that it cannot become real. Differences(1) can only be found between things that have common attributes as well as distinguishable characteristics. Men and women have the commonality of both being human beings but I ponder on how the different qualities between them came about. Did the differences arise by cultural conduct or the different gender roles prescribed by the society and the environment? Or is it because of the innate physical differences between men and women?

In the Hair on Me performance, I find that despite having a beard, the symbol of masculinity, I look more feminine than masculine. Beards as a symbol of masculinity may also be a cultural product. If the beard is a true symbol of masculinity, the masculinity should originate from the beard itself, not vice versa. There is a contrast when men look fragile and women strong. But this contrast does not arise from whether one has a beard or not. The masculinity is a cultural product, and the beard itself is not masculine.

 

This is an act of emasculating the beard that distinguishes men and women. Through this work, I intended to expose how masculinity and femininity are not innate attributes but are socially and culturally constructed characteristics.

                                                

(1)Gilles Delouse Difference and Repetition New York: Columbia University Press 1994 translated by Paul

Patton ‘Only that which is alike differs; and only differences are alike’(2)

(2)See Claude Levi-Strauss, Totemism, transl. Rodney Needham, Boston, MA: Beacon Press,

1963, p. 77: ‘If we may be allowed the expression, it is not the resemblances, but the

differences, which resemble each other.’ Levi-Strauss

shows how this principle develops in the

constitution of at least two series, the terms of each series being different amongst themselves

( for example, in the case of totemism, the series of distinct species of animals and that of the

differential social positions): the resemblance is ‘between these two series of differences.

© 2008-2018 HEESOO AGNES KIM