Christine Sun Kim with Jayne Kim

Reunification

2014


“My family and I were cleaning out my grandparents’ house in California, when we came across old photos and notes that used to occupy a distinct life that is perhaps now forgotten. My sister, Jayne, was emptying our grandmother’s bedside cabinet and discovered an application form titled “Organization for the Reunification of Separated Korean Families”. It was dated 1987. It had not been filled in. We both looked at it and noticed a few notes scribbled on the first page, but the rest was eerily empty, waiting for details to surface. My grandmother comes from a relatively large family who she had to abandon to go cross what is now called the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that has separated both Koreas for over 60 years. Later she told us she felt that filling out the application would put her family in danger. The application’s discoloration and emptiness had a profound effect on us, especially because it was hidden in the cabinet for nearly 30 years. It symbolizes both hope and resignation, not only for our grandmother, but also for everyone who was, and is, affected by repulsive, desperate, and frightening acts of war. Korean or not, we hope that this piece will help reconnect past and current generations, both affected and unaffected”.

 

재결합

“가족과 함께 캘리포니아에 있는 조부모님 댁을 정리하다가 오래된 사진과 노트를 발견했다. 어쩌면 이제 잊힌 머나먼 삶 일부분을 차지하던 물건들이다. 언니 제인은 할머니의 침대맡 서랍장을 비우다가 '해외동포이산가족찾기회'에서 보낸 신청서를 찾았다. 신청서에 찍힌 연도는 1987년이었고, 서식은 기입되어 있지 않았다. 나와 언니 둘 다 신청서를 살펴봤다. 첫 페이지에 적힌 메모 조금을 제외하면 기이할 만큼, 마치 이야기가 드러나기를 기다리는 것처럼 텅 비어 있었다. 할머니는 대가족을 뒤로하고 남한과 북한을 60년 넘게 갈라온, 지금은 비무장지대로 불리는 곳을 건너오셨다. 나중에 말씀하시기로는 신청서를 작성하면 북에 남아있는 가족들을 위험에 빠뜨릴 것 같다고 하셨다. 30년 가까이 서랍장에 감춰져 있었다는 점에서, 신청서의 변색과 공백은 우리에게 더욱 강렬하게 다가왔다. 그것은 희망과 체념을 동시에 상징한다. 단지 우리 할머니뿐만 아니라, 혐오스럽고 절망적이며 두려운 전쟁 행위의 영향이 닿았고 아직도 닿고 있는 모든 사람에게 말이다. 한국인이건 아니건, 우리는 이 종이가 과거와 현재의 세대를, 전쟁의 영향을 받은 이들과 그렇지 않은 이들을 연결하기를 바란다.”

Translation by Taeyoon Choi and Achim Koh

 

 
 

 
 

New York- and Berlin-based artist Christine Sun Kim uses the medium of sound through technology, performance, and drawing to investigate and rationalize her relationship with sound and spoken languages. Selected group exhibitions and performances include: Sound Live Tokyo, Tokyo; LEAP, Berlin; Caroll / Fletcher, London; nyMusikk, Oslo; Southern Exposure, San Francisco; Recess Activities, New York; Calder Foundation, New York; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. She has collaborated on sound projects with artists such as Devonté Hynes, Thomas Benno Mader, Wolfgang Müller and Alison O’Daniel, and was a recipient of Artist Residency at Whitney Museum, Haverford College, Southern Exposure, and Fellowship at TED. www.christinesunkim.com