Traveler’s Cup

As a culturally displaced artist, I have been drawn to the theme of cultural displacement and identity, and to social, psychological, and cross-cultural studies that are heavily influenced by immigrant experiences and by the interaction between people and place. Most of us move from one place to another constantly and experience placelessness, the difficulty of building a deep knowledge of and relationship with the specific culture or place we migrated to. Today’s nomadic culture and lifestyle is multicultural, transcending geographic locations and ethnic characteristics. Such experiences lead me to re-perceive my sense of identity. Engaging issues of Korean diaspora and cultural displacement, my creative works investigate the notions of identity, sense of place and placelessness, memory, boundary, and displacement through drawing, painting, video, photography and, more specifically, the fusing of these media, such as embossment on paper, acrylic painting on a digital pigment print, photography from papercut collage, and interactive installation with video footage.

Drinking Your Surroundings (2004–2012) and Traveler’s Cup (2012–2017) comprise over hundred digital pigment prints that represent the places I have lived in and visited over the past eight years. These works embody my desire to come to terms with my origins and to create an artistic archive of my cultural displacement and the attendant sense of instability and sense of alienation. Recent project, Traveler’s Cup, was shot on location in order to incorporate a performative approach and a sense of immediacy, while my earlier works, Drinking Your Surroundings, were completed in studio setting. I photographed images of selected architecture, landmarks, or monuments, printed them out on 5cm sized paper, cut the images out very carefully, and then soaked the cut prints in a glass of water to re-photograph the prints within the landscape from whence they came. I have been collecting different surroundings and arranging them, per place, within the water glass from which I drink every day in order to absorb the location visually and conceptually. These “portraits” of place convey my thoughts and feelings about the places where I have not constructed an identity and, therefore, am unable to retrieve spatial memories and stories.