Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

I have discovered this amazing ACT ( Art, Culture and Technology)  MIT Program site with enough visual and lecture material to keep me busy for weeks.

This lecture ( as below) introduced me to Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, a Korean artist I was not familiar with!

How did I miss her !

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Passages Paysage
Courtesy of the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Translations of Memory
Elvan Zabunyan
Art critic, historian, and Associate Professor, University of Rennes (France)

“The starting point of Elvan Zabunyan’s talk is the work of Korean-born American artist and poet Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. In 1980, having left her native Korea seventeen years earlier, Cha returned to work on a film project she described as “memory [that] materializes directly on the screen.” Cha was fluent in English, French, and Korean and worked with words as images and with images as words, using the structure of language and translation to create a multiplicity of narratives in time, space, and memory.

Elvan Zabunyan is a contemporary art historian and art critic based in Paris. Her research focuses on the redefinition of contemporary art history through postcolonial and feminist art and theory in the context of the genealogy of cultural displacement. She is the author of Black Is A Color: A History of Contemporary African-American Art (2005) and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Berkeley, 1968 (2013). Her essays on contemporary visual arts have appeared in books, exhibition catalogues, and journals. She is an Associate Professor at the Rennes University (Brittany, France) and Director of the Curatorial Program in the Art History Department.”

Her work is also featured in this book Visualizing Feeling: Affect and the Feminine Avant-garde by Susan Best which will be a key reference for me, as it features Lygia Clarke, Anna Mendieta and Eva Hesse , all of whose work  my work has referenced and echoed even when I don’t intend it to.

£111  or £14 on Kindle! guess which one for me…

Also this lecture which is in French but still has some good video!

Despite the ‘distance ‘ of this performative work from the digital work I have been investigating it is still at the core of my practice.

Somehow I have to bring these two aspects together.


Lightening the darkness

Following on from the post Remembrance and Repetition:

Instead of playing with projection which is what I should be doing, I’ve been messing about with assemblages from videos of various winter ‘festivals’.

It’s been so wet I haven’t even wanted to make my way down the soggy garden to the studio and when it’s sunny I can’t see the projections!

Fire and light as a focus for collective experience are a theme in this mash.

Shared Memories

Today has not turned out as planned.

I had started to read ‘Mediated Memories in a Digital Age‘ by Jose van Dijck and although very interesting and useful, her discussion in the introduction regarding  the use of mediated images and conversation as a way of sharing past experience, has made me feel somewhat distressed and uncomfortable. In particular, the importance of this in constructing both a shared and personal autobiography for our sense of continuity between past and future,

It has confirmed and acknowledged why I have found the lack of this, when it has occurred in my personal life, so difficult.

As a single child, now with no parents, there is very rarely anyone to ‘verify’ or discuss ‘shared’ memories with, even though I acknowledge that the accounts are often different for different people.

Not being able to share memories of my own, or my children’s childhoods and teenage years with someone who was always there is a source of sorrow to me and even the initial reading of this book has brought this home.

photos on cling-0030

Then, unexpectedly, I received a text from a friend and colleague, Kathy, who told me of the death of Keith, our life-model during our Fine Art Foundation Course at OCVC  from 2003-5.

I had already heard from Jon that he was very poorly.

Talking to Kathy about Keith, all the people who remember him, the connections between us, our interactions and how these continue, demonstrated to me one of the many other shared collective experiences in my life, despite this originating from such a sad event.

Keith: Life Model


Keith (2002)

Keith, who was a life-model in Oxford and Banbury for many years, died this week. He will be remembered by all art students who attended Oxford and Cherwell Valley College. I still have many drawings of Keith and a sculptural piece that originated in the drawings.

Thank you, Keith, for your stillness and composure.


Remembrance and repetition

It has been impossible to avoid references to remembrance recently.

Not that I would want to avoid the most recent and  particularly significant remembrance, but I am interested in the ways we choose to remember, collectively and individually, and where these meet.

See also Peter Mansell’s blog

Here is some old work from 2007, based on found poppies, which I have been continuing but have not yet re-presented.P7030009


Found ( 2007)

On Sunday, 10th November I passed some disappointed people who had been to the local cenotaph. I think they were expecting a service there at 11am, whereas it was held in the local parish church whilst the laying of wreaths and another silence, later at the cenotaph in the park.

Of course, this act of Remembrance has been moved,for the most part, from the actual day 11th at 11am, to a Sunday, the chosen day for religious worship for most Christian churches in the UK and a weekend.

Was it moved for convenience so that more people could attend or so the disruption would be less or become associated with Christian faith because we were a predominantly Christian country.

My mother told me in the ’70’s , how she could remember them stopping all the traffic at the nearby traffic lights and people turning off their engines.

What is silence then? Is that personal or collective?

Is it something within us or external to us.

In the UK contemporary collective ritual abounds at this time of year with Hallowe’en, Bonfire Night and Remembrance Sunday all interestingly close together in time and Christmas and New Year not far away.

So many markings of time in these few dark months.

February tends to miss out a bit but maybe we’ll invent a product oriented festival soon to compensate.

What fascinates me is the repetition and repeatability but also the way these marked days have evolved and changes over the centuries.

How some past elements remain within the contemporary practice.

At Michaelmas I remember my first term at University in Manchester, my academic diary and this evocative word, which meant for me the start of a new life.

When I worked in agriculture I became aware of the importance of Michaelmas day for landowners and tenants as being date when money was due, a legally binding date.

Then the arrival of the annual Mop fair in my now local town, where traditionally workers who had finished the harvest went to spend some of their earnings and have some fun.

Then stand with a mop if they needed to find new employment. There is an Old Michaelmas Day and a New one….. The new one being associated with the Archangel Michael and a Christian festival.

The old one, the last day for picking blackberries as the devil spits on them and makes them uneatable after this date.

This change overlaying the repetition is fascinating: the reasons why, and the collective acceptance of the change.

Many of the winter festivals originate in Celtic, Pagan or earlier timetables and have been adapted for contemporary use. Other cultures in other parts of our small world celebrating the same origin but in a very different way. Hallowe’en, Trick or Treat, All Hallows Eve, Day of the Dead, Glan Gaeaf.

All involve lights shining in the winter and usually fire or flame, and often some sort of exchange or gift, gathering in a particular location and avoiding others.

I am remembering, now, the work of Victor Turner and Rothenbuler regarding ritual and communication and Durkeim’s thoughts, and also Marcel Mauss.

I must re-read some of this to help analyse what I have done so far.

Eating Pomegranates!-“Let me count the ways”

Last week I did my on-line shop and in the substitutes I got three pomegranates packed for the price of one loose!

When my son prepared it for eating, he did a neat thing where he bashed the bottom and all the seeds fell out in a bowl!

I have always used a pin and taken them out one by one…..That way you learn to savour each seed until you loose patience and tear them out. Usually eating some bitter membrane at the same time.

I’d shown him that method which was shown to me by my grandmother and mother.

I asked him where he’d learned the technique and, of course, said ‘YouTube!’

This made me think back about the group discussion we had about learning methods, sharing/dissemination of information and trans-literacy.

And the used of embedded advertising….

Here are some pomegranate examples ( there are a lot more, believe me!).

Just find the one that suits you. With thanks to all contributors!


 The Eco-Friendly Family



Examples of video mapping and Laurie Anderson hologram

These are interesting but not what I have in mind, even if they were smaller.

I keep expecting a firework display, as well!

I want something understated and less ‘showy’ but an interesting use of the tech.

Maria Rud , Ross Ashton and Evelyn Glennie

I remembered this piece at Compton Verney and spoke about it with Martin last weekend.
I thought it may be some early video mapping but of course it’s a hologram which is somehow more exciting especially when you see this the original is 40 years old!!!
I saw this at Compton Verney in 2007 when it looked very different from this. I can find no images.
I must look at some more Laurie Anderson for her combination of performance, sound and imagery.