How do marginal lives - of exiles, refugees, and people working unnoticed across our cities - shed light on the societies we inhabit?
Artists try to grasp the intrinsic order that lies within a certain sense, only to break the very order they have grasped. Creation and discovery is breaking the rules. I think about where the artist stands in the midst of these cycles.
The asylum I was referring to is close to a state that seeks not only the physical and spatial movement, but also the mental mobility. This journey or foreign-ness is also what the people in the boundary/marginal face.
The stories told by people on the border guide us out of our familiar and comfortable spaces and help us hold a critical view that resides at once in the inside and the outside. While following and sharing their lives, I attempt to discover the possibility of thinking about the subjects that exist as the void, traversing the space and time constructed in my video.
At the midpoint of this month, the Sojung Jun's CIRCA commission will also include a screening of Early Arrival of Future (2015), a ten-minute video in which North Korean pianist Kim Cheol-woong and South Korean pianist Uhm Eun-kyung play a duet, facing one another, divided and connected by two grand pianos.
Kim Cheol-woong (b.1974) is a North Korean pianist who defected to South Korea. He grew up in a prominent North Korean family. His father was the head of their provincial party, which is like a provincial governor, and his mother was a university professor. His grandmother was the founding president of the first and largest department store in Pyongyang until 1992. Kim’s musical skills were spotted at an early age.
In 1981, at age eight, he was admitted into the Pyongyang University of Music and Dance. Over the next fourteen years, he suffered through rigorous training to perform tunes glorifying Kim Jong-Il. After his graduation, he was sent to Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow from 1995 to 1999 to study. Moscow was fascinating to the twenty-one year old who had not been exposed to music outside North Korea. He felt like he had discovered a new world.
Upon his return home, he was named lead pianist in the State Symphony Orchestra. He also took a liking to Jang Song-thaek's niece, who had attended school with him since he was eight. Kim had only thought of her as a friend, until he returned home from Russia. Planning on proposing to her, Kim practiced "'A' Comme Amour," a romantic number by pianist Richard Clayderman. A song commonly played in elevators, restaurants, and hotel lounges around the world and especially popular in east Asian countries.