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Ever since I immigrated to America in the year 2000, I have celebrated Korean thanksgiving with my family annually. We would have most of our families gathered at our house, eating Songpyeon (rice cake with different kinds of sweet fillings that is steamed on pine needles), fish, Ttuk (rice cake), japchae (noodles), etc. At the end of the day, we would have a bow ritual to our grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, to show gratefulness and appreciation for all of their hard work. In return, us children would get little sums of money.

When I first entered elementary school in 2001, I remember the school teaching me about American Thanksgiving. Knowing very little English, I couldn’t grasp the concept right away. It just fascinated me because the school was covered with pictures of turkeys, pumpkins, and orange decorations. I went back home to my mother asking her, “What is thanksgiving?” She answered, “It’s just like Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving).” Historically, Chuseok is thought to be originated 2000 years ago where Sila King, Euri, organized a weaving contest to help the weaving industry grow. The losers of the contests had to prepare foods for the winners. As the time went on, Chuseok came in to shape where Koreans celebrated for 3 days long. Family gathering became very important in Chuseok. As I got older and started to attend middle school, the American thanksgiving became clearer.

It was interesting to see that during one thanksgiving, my mother actually adopted the idea of cooking a Turkey during with the traditional Korean thanksgiving meal. I have no idea if that was because she thought I became more “American” or if she wanted to combine the two cultures together, trying to teach me how to be a Korean and an American.

However, now that I came to MICA, I was celebrating only the American thanksgiving. It was awkward. Turkey, mash potatoes and gravy–foods that I felt unfamiliar with for a thanksgiving dinner. This shift of culture sort of confused me. Living half of my life in both countries, there was no clear identity that I fit in. When I was with my family, I celebrated Korean thanksgiving.  When I was with my friends, I celebrated American Thanksgiving. Now being away from home for the past two thanksgivings, it would be very awkward to go back home and celebrate the traditional thanksgiving. Somehow the turning over of a leaf has evolved into a large change.

Nevertheless, the confusion clarified as I turned 20 this year. I have concluded that it is not important which tradition I celebrate, as long as I remember my Korean origin, and appreciate both cultures. Even though food, customs, traditions, and origination were different, I think the thanksgiving in both cultures shared a common concept of gratefulness. Both countries brings families and communities together to prepare and share delicious food, honor their ancestors/respective deities and appreciate all of the family members for being one another’s their daily lives.

by Angela Ahn,

Korean-American,

MICA BFA Candidate 2012

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Chu Seok by Kim Gu Yeon

The day after tomorrow is Chu Seok
Hung a swing
At the playground at the center of town
On the thick branch of a Dong gu tree.

Kids hung on the swing
To ride first
Everyone hung on it.

There are many plays during the Korean thanksgiving, such as kangknagsulle, juldarigi, flying kites, si-lm, and archery. The poem depicts joyful children who want to play with a swing during the thanksgiving. MICA Korean Student Association (KSA) organized an installation of kites to celebrate thanksgiving and to return to the innocence of a child. Every KSA member created at least one kite and draw on the blank side of the kites.

The installation starts from the corner of the building and extends to the second floor, so the kites are flying in the space. Because the kites are facing down at the floor level, people should look up to look the kites. The action is similar to watching actual flying kites on the sky. There is airflow in the building, and the tails of kites moves gently.

The installation was exhibited from November 9th to November 20th 2009.

by David Woo

self and other,
a normality identified up
so high and lofty

self and other,
start in a stomach,
end on dirt

every day, lay
horizontal to
then perpendicular

like a phallus
powerful but goes weak
in the sight of another too bold

love so strong,
tolerance so weak,
oh, celebrated tolerance

where’s the love?
at least respect-
can we have both — chacha?

by Ellice Park

IMG_0031

Danny Knox’s Creation Myth of Peni, in Progress:

“The Peni were once omnipotent beings with the power to create and destroy. Of all their creations they loved Poof most. They created Poof from 3 simple components; they were glitter, love, and the pieces of the earth. Poof was frozen much like a sculpture and unable to move or communicate. It was most important that Poof had emotions and he could feel. The Peni in order to be able to coexist with Poof, gave their powers of creation to the earth of which Poof was created. As a show of gratitude Poof cares for the Peni, who created him and sacrificed themselves for his life….”

I am taking Toys class in this semester, and I learn about the background and issues of toys in America. I questioned how people who have Asian background thinks about toys. So, I interview two friends who are 5 years older than me. Seok Han grew up most of his life in Korea and came to MICA as a graduate student last year. Andrew Kim immigrated to US when he was young. Even though they are in same age and generation, they had different interest on toy.

by David Woo

Andrew Kim
Born in 1981
Male

kim1

What was your favorite toy when you grow up?
Well I think that my favorite toy is different when I was in Korea and in US. in my generation, gundam plastic model was a trend; assembling, painting, and playing. Actually gundam was very popular in the generation of my older brother, and he influenced me when I grew up. Another trend was making a small racing car. Assembled with a motor, batteries, and wings and painted custom. I remember that I bought some parts like bearings and wings, which were price range of $1 to $10. There was a racing track in front of a toy store, so I used to race with my friend there.

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Julie Cheng, an undergraduate senior at MICA, is a Fibers major and Experimental Fashion concentrator who creates collections of fashionable female garments. A reoccurring theme throughout her work is the idea of sustainability – that is, reusing materials and never letting anything go to waste. Her trove of materials includes pages from fashion magazines, paper, plastic bags, aluminum cans, and basically anything that is typically wasted in great quantities.

Currently, Cheng is working on her senior thesis. “It’s going to be about accumulation and being green. The garment industry creates so much fabric and fashion, and then when styles go out, it all ends up in the trash. It’s the most wasteful industry and I want to do something about that.”

For Cheng, the relevance of sustainability comes not only from modern American culture, but also from the traditions of her family. She was born in New York, “Flushing, Queens, to be exact,” she says, to parents who immigrated from Taiwan. “My mom is a native Taiwanese, and she grew up on a farm as a very poor countryside girl.” Says Cheng, “When I was growing up, my mom always saved things, especially clothing. She has about five closets of clothes now.”

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We’re Artists meeting and talking with other Artists. Our interest is the Asian diaspora, and its farflung influences–and on the other hand, how Asian Culture and Arts have been influenced by the inter-culturalistic points its met in its travels. Tune in on Sundays for Microcosm’s regular goodness, and throughout the week for special surprises.
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