Zilkha Gallery, USA (2011)

video w/ sound

Folding Process, USA (2011)

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Memory Activism and Performance Labor

Social memory transgresses reality as its form fades, shifts, and fluctuates over time. The impermanent nature of memory often stands in contrast with the monumental structures of post-war commemoration. In the post-World War II era, war trauma is commodified and permanently reconstructed in urban space in the form of secondhand grieving. 

The 30 year-long struggle of Comfort Women Redress Activism in East Asia has often been either ignored or sensationalized by media politics. Geopolitical relations have left the reparation (either monetary or in the form of apology) of forced colonial labor unanswered and undefined. While survivors are burdened by gendered violence during the Pacific War, the politics of memorialism has left them once again laboring in symbolic gestures and media spectacles for the public eye.

 

This project questions current forms of participation in protest and activism. The Comfort Women Movement has welcomed postwar generations to its grassroots activism. However, memory is a tender thing. The movement often memorializes the living survivors in the fossilized language of violent patriarchy.

 

During the mark of the 1000th street protests (2011), I documented and interviewed activists across generations. In turn, I adopted the paper folding ritual of East Asia as an act of grieving. Large sheets of paper were transformed through creasing and folding, and the public process became a memorial ritual. The folds create a fluid monumental-scape overlapped with voices of three generations of activists in the ‘comfort women’ movement. I aimed to transform the gallery, a conformative force, into a temporary anti-monument dedicated to ‘comfort women’ and their decades of redress activism. The audience becomes a collaborator in others’ memories by entering, listening and feeling.  

In Part of Installation Memory (In)Folds at Zilkha Gallery, USA (2011)

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