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Dear Reader,

Now that the semester and year has ended (about a month ago), our Microcosm posts will be less frequent, at times even on hold until school starts up again. Til then, wishing you a restful, productive summer! Enjoy!

Love,

Microcosm

"A Midsumer Night's Dream"

Last year Rivals of the West, MICA’s theatre company, put on Hair, a stellar performance that sold out the house. This year the production is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, an old favourite written by Shakespeare.

One’s first impression of the production might be how small the set and seating availability is. But after the first scene the small set changes into a beautiful forest with layers and layer of trees that reach the ceiling and trunks thicker than your waist. Combined with the lighting, It looked like a dreamland any child or adult would want to get lost in.

Directed by  Peter Shipley, and produced by Christopher Shipley. the play begins with a  dispute over whom Hermia, a young Athenian girl, should marry: Lysander, the man she loves, or Demetrius, the man her father approves of. She and her beau run away to marry but are followed by Lysander after he is tipped off by Helena, a girl who happens to be in love with Demetrius. This love rectangle of sorts is further complicated when the faerie folk decide to take matters into their own hands.

Woven into this story are the Mechanicals, a group of craftsmen who are directing their own play to perform before the Duke. One of these outrageous performers then becomes an object of affection to the Queen as revenge by the King. More hilarity then ensues as a result.

This delightful performance does the comedy justice, and will leave the audience laughing and sympathizing for the characters throughout the show.

You can purchase tickets for the show online or at the MICA bookstore.

The dates for the performance are as follows:
2010 PERFORMANCES

Wed. March 24 –Sat. March 27: 8pm

Sun. March 28: 7pm

Wed. March 31 – Sat. April 3: 8pm

Sunday, April 4: 7pm

Stay tuned next week for mini-interviews with some of the crew members who worked on the show!

Exhibition Review

If one has not met Sherie Rose, please visit the Gateway Gallery and observe her in her unnatural habitat. Sherie, in actuality is the alter ego of Senior Painting Major Flora Choi, whose performance piece; Deluded Reality: Imagination Infringements of Sherie Rose took place on Thursday, March 11th. The gallery houses an octagonal dwelling composed of eight doors, in which Sherie works at her typewriter. The performance however is not only meant to be viewed. The audience is invited to interact with Sherie and get to know this intriguing alter ego. She is a bit shy, and skittish yet welcome to questions, she seems on many levels confused and there is a theme of displacement in her existence. Adopted from Korea into an English family and at the same time searching again to build a new family, Sherie seems to be in a struggle to find a place to belong to. The gallery in a sense is another example of her displacement. She is quite unsure why she is there and for what purpose. She has admitted that she would rather be somewhere else, and she is a little suspicious about her predicament. To one observer she asked if he is one of “them” who put her in the “octagon,” referring to her dwelling installed in the gallery. While one’s response normally would be “no,” in actuality the audience is partially responsible for Sherie’s trapped existence since the space was constructed for their viewing and interactive pleasure. The exhibit is and interactive experience, in that you are able to personally interact with the project. Through this interaction the viewer is brought directly into Sherie’s world, which is full of oddities and “delusions” about what may be going on around her. There is a direct recognition of her other self, Flora, whose presence is indicated in a video in the show, and Sherie recognizes Flora, although is somewhat confused at her identity. In that sense it is unclear whether Sherie is supposed to exist in her own world that the viewer is invited to discover, or if some part of her is also aware of the rest of the world. In her world we talks about the people close to her, but the only “people” from her world that we see in the tangible sense is her stuffed bear. It is highly recommended to visit Sherie and learn about her strange new world, which includes personal written and photographic documentations, obsessive-compulsive tendencies and phobias. Despite her shy nature, she seems lonely so try to get to know her and ask her questions. I may also add that it is amusing to provoke Sherie, so visit the Gateway Gallery and check her schedule which is posted to see when she will be in. Get there before April 2nd and prepare for an interesting interaction.

Jenny Robinson 2010

Couples come together in all different kinds of ways. Some of us are set up through friends or family. Others bump into each other as strangers and launch into fantastic conversation. Some others go online. With others, it’s through a shared activity, whether it be regular like school or the workplace, or not so regular, but beloved like a hobby. And with still others, we meet as friends, become best friends, and then take a leap of faith–or gamble–and try being lovers.

Here are a few stories of the couples around us at MICA. Happy Valentine’s Day.

featured couples' portraits

Sarah & Minku; Kyle & Flora; Colleen & Vance; John & Ellice

Painting, First(s)
Kyle & Flora

Kyle Says…
It was my freshman year at MICA. Flora was a sophomore, but I took sophomore painting the spring of my freshman year, so we were in the same class. But the sophomore painting class was divided into different sections and with different teachers, so we didn’t talk to each other. We both went on MICA Bus Trip to New York in the spring and got to know each other. At the end of the trip, we exchanged numbers. We were casually acquainted for a year. The next semester, fall of my sophomore year, I took the Exhibition Development Seminar and saw that Flora was in the class as well. I sat next to her because I didn’t know anybody else. We were also in Color Abstraction  together. In the Exhibition Development Seminar, the class is divided into teams. Flora and I decided to join the Education team, and we worked together the whole semester organizing all the public programming for the Laure Drogul Exhibition. Through this process, we got closer and started to hang out more. By the spring, we went to parties and picnics together and started dating  after spring break (March 21, 2009). We’ve been dating for nearly a year now and its been going pretty great.

Flora Says… Kyle is basically my “first everything”. He is my first real boyfriend (the last Boyfriend I had was in middle school, and I don’t really count that anymore because we were too young to know anything.) He is my first who took me out for romantic dinners, he is my first to surprise me with flowers randomly, he is my first guy to make me a birthday card (I always make birthday cards for my friends and family but I never receive a handmade card back), he is my first romantic date at the beach, he is my first sand digging partner, he is my first to make a trip to the Baltimore Book Festival–a memorable night, he is my first doctor who treated me with warm blankets and tea when we were both sick, he is my first experience of flying to another state to meet his family and relatives, he is my first to rush down to the harbor with to watch the sunset and then missing it and getting ice cream instead, he is my first to walk in a snow storm with at 3 am and running and giggling around with our arms spread out in the snow and he is the first person I wake up to when I sleep over at his place, and lastly he is my first compassionate lover. As much as all of these things sound corny and sappy they are all memories that I cherish and are things that remind me of how much he means to me and how much he is a great part of me and my life.

A Wrinkle On-Line Sows Seed
John & Ellice

Ellice Says…

Meeting John wasn’t anything extraordinary, yet he was my breath of fresh air as he whisked me off my feet. I thought I was meeting someone to figure out the identity of a stranger who friended me on facebook, but we ended up talking for 10.5 hours straight. The backdrop to this scenario? I was in the middle of cleaning up the mess of an LDR (long distance relationship), finding my own place in a new church-home, and saying “yes” to the sudden opportunities handed to me. I wasn’t looking for a relationship, but an escape. I wasn’t looking for romance, I was looking for love. I wasn’t looking for a significant other, but a trustworthy friend. John told me later that he fell in love with me the first night we met, but it wasn’t that way for me. He filled each need I had at the time, and became my best friend. Then he went a little beyond and demonstrated his natural ability and desire to be more than that for me, and I fell in love. Becoming a couple was an adventure. I rejected him countless times. But all the while, I told my parents early on that “I met this guy, he’s really sweet and his family’s like our family,” bla bla bla. Considering they raised me talking about my future married identity for as long as I can remember, they were naturally very excited. Six months later, he came to visit my family. It was the first time I talked about a guy or brought one home for inspection. My parents got cold feet, then ice cold before going lukewarm. It’s as though they were playing the part I played for the past six months. Even though I was ready to stop meeting him casually and become a couple. Another eight months later and my parents are learning to walk through the rite of passage of recognizing that their 21-year-old daughter is timely with her dating and not premature. At the same time, I’m learning to balance who I am in this relationship with who John is, how we grew up–and taking the best of the lessons but leaving the not-so-good, and also learning to maintain a balance of who we are as a couple in relation to others who may or may not be couples, and may or may not be young adults. We’re also developping spiritual and faithful awareness as a couple, not only as individuals. In learning, I find myself falling in love over and over again. And John, he just tells me he falls deeper in love.

John Says…

^^ What she said.

Although I love Ellice to death, she can be MAJOR pain in the butt. Sometimes…
No, most of the time.

John, who runs and ducks for cover.

Harmonious Connections
Colleen & Vance

Colleen Says…

My boyfriend Vance and I have been high school sweethearts for about 2 years now. In the beginning, the first sparks of our friendship started out with our intimate connections to music. Sharing interests in music that were filled with lively energy and emotional resonance inspirited our hearts. Our love for various rhythmic melodies with poetic verses in music later lead to more interpersonal, heart-to-heart chats about other captivating moments in our lives. He is genuine, compassionate, energetic, and open-minded unlike any other person I’ve ever known. Eventually, as our personalities intertwined, the sparks of our friendship ignited into a fire of passion after realizing just how special we are to each other. On January 5, 2008 we made our relationship official after having a perfect night skating at Iceworld. Throughout these last few months, we’ve spent some of the best moments we’ve ever had in our lives together. There have been a few challenges along our path but we have overcome our weaknesses together to become even stronger today.
I guess we’ve proven to others that traditional morals and values have changed nowadays. Our interracial relationship shows our open-mindedness and high social tolerance for people of all cultures. It shouldn’t matter what color your skin is, but the colorful personality in your heart is what matters the most. The colors in his heart have inspired and painted one of the most beautiful and memorable pictures of my life.

Vance Says…

Since the day I met Colleen, I never would have thought that I would be in such a heartfelt relationship. We met in our school bus and started to become close during my junior year of high school. We shared our thoughts on music and she introduced me to tennis. Colleen then invited me to her 17th birthday party where we made an even deeper connection. After exchanging contact information, we then shared personal feelings over instant messenger. We officially became a couple on January 5th after our first date at Iceworld. Like any normal relationship we have had our ups and downs, but we did not let that break us. We have used these setbacks to make our relationship even stronger. Colleen and I are a very passionate interracial couple and someday we want to have pretty blasian babies. I do not think our different races have affected our relationship. Colleen has been a great influence in my life and I love her very much. This is just the beginning of our wonderful relationship.

Melodious Romance
Minku & Sarah

Minku Says…

This is a brief summary of what happened between us.
We first met fall of freshmen year in the piano room. Sarah was playing a song by Eric Satie which I had just been listening to on a cd and I was in the laundry room where I could hear the piano. I went to the piano room saying , “Eric Satie!” which shocked her. She stopped playing and turned to see who was barging in. We introduced ourselves and for the rest of the semester would occasionally play piano together but nothing else. Second semester we talked more and eventually went to a jazz concert together, again bonding through music. We ended going to the Jazz formal together and that got both of us out of our shells enough to realize we wanted a deeper relationship. Since then we have become extremely close and are rarely apart from each other.
Even though we come from different places we have a similar desire for ethnic and delicious food, good music, playing piano, teaching each other our languages, painting.

A side note from Sarah

I have always been fascinated with other cultures so the fact that Minku is initially from a different place is very exciting for me. I am trying to learn Korean with great help from his mom as well as himself. I loved learning to use chopsticks and eating sushi. The language barrier is sometimes confusing but often just very funny and not harmful. The funniest would probably be when he said, “what a lovely bitch” when he really meant, “what a lovely beach” 🙂

We have both spent time with each others family in New Mexico and New York so we have a greater understanding of where we each come from. It was great for me when I went to NYC with Minku because he is such a ‘big city’ person and was confident to show me around the chaos of the city. In reverse he loved going hiking with me in New Mexico and seeing a way of living very different from the city.
Our year anniversary is in March and we are both very happy to celebrate the past wonderful year together.
Stories Collected & 1 Written by Ellice Park

The current ASA exhibition in Brown’s Rosenberg gallery not only discusses the literal and psychological hunger artists have towards their art, it displays a varied spectrum of mediums and subject matter while at the same time correlating to the subject of Asia.  There are examples of work made in fiber, garment design, illustration, painting, paper-cut, drawing, and silkscreen, of which I will only describe a few.

Son Young Kwon’s large silkscreen stretched on panels entitled Americanize, speaks of the spread of American consumer culture onto Eastern culture through mass media, fast food, and electronics with logos of Disney, McDonald’s and Apple.  The construction of the prints stretched on screens that are hinged together are reminiscent the display used with Asian brush painting.  Thus in a sense the American images are replacing the traditional images and practices of the past.

On the flip side, aspects of Asian consumer products are also shown in Jennifer Tam’s felted sculptures of two white dogs barking at one another, entitled Mitsy and Tina Have a Discussion.  The piece is facetious in the manner that the two small, white dogs appear to be fiercely barking at one another with angrily contorted expressions. Yet they both appear to be very pristine well kept dogs in the softness of the white fur that is rendered and the pink ribbons on their ears.  It appears to have an aspect of the cutesy quality of Asian consumer products, which transform functional utilitarian objects such as pencils and rulers into cartoonish and frilly objects with tassels.

Further into dark humor, Max Lewis displays a series ten illustrative ink and gold leaf drawings in a narrative of the gradual fall of a golden-hearted young boy.  The series is entitled The Dark Forest.  The boy has his heart ripped out, and his tempted by a devil, which consumes his soul.  This series displays a stylistic look perhaps reminiscent of Japanese manga comics.

Another piece discusses the blending of two cultures, specifically Korea and Japan through the ethnicity in the garment piece by Yeji Byun entitled When Shibori meets Hanbok.  The garment displays a layered floor length skirt and jacket with long sleeves that is cut short at the torso and tied in the front, the style of the Korean traditional hanbok.  However, the fabric is dyed in the Japanese practice of Shibori.  The piece may represent a biracial lineage, the cultural influence of Japan when during their occupation in Korea, or simply a blending of the two cultures.

Overall the current ASA exhibition was successful in the sense that it displayed a variety of mediums and aspects of Asian culture.   It is highly recommended that one should visit the show before it is taken down on February 8th.

Jenny Robinson 2010

A few days ago, the Asian Student Alliance (ASA) finished putting up a show called “Hunger: The Artist’s Insatiable Nature” in the Rosenberg Gallery at MICA. I acted as curator – a first for me, despite having a Curatorial Studies concentration.

The concept of Hunger came to mind almost immediately since most ASA events center around food. The club had been holding these events for some time when I joined last year. As former ASA officer Julie Cheng told me, food is a way to bring people together – an easy and enjoyable way to introduce people to another culture.

The feeling of hunger is maybe the one thing all artists have in common. Whether you paint, draw, sculpt, perform, most likely you’re making art because you have to: it’s the fourth basic need besides eating, breathing, and sleeping. When you go a long time without creating art, something withers away inside you; and the feeling of fulfillment you get right after making a work of art is not unlike the feeling of being stuffed full after a delicious meal. That feeling doesn’t last forever though, and soon enough you find yourself in the studio again, feeding that undying craving.

All of the pieces I chose for the show had a palpable feeling of excitement and involvement of the heart or mind or both. Some of the pieces spoke of hunger more specifically, for hunger can also appear in art as a particular obsession (for example with a subject or material). However, they were all visually diverse in terms of media and style, and this presented the greatest challenge in curating the show – how to make them cohesive. I felt as if I had been given a handful of magnetic poetry, and I had to make the most pleasing sentence possible instead of a jumble of words. Putting aside inexperience and time constraints, I sincerely hope I did end up saying something pertinent and cohesive.

I felt that this theme of artistic motivation – hunger – was important to address in an art school. Yes, artists are bonded together by this similar desire and need to make art, but only a small percentage of art students actually stay in the studio after graduation. Where does the hunger go? Does it lie dormant, expressing itself whenever it can, or does it die altogether? I, and probably countless others, have a gnawing paranoia that I will fall into the majority here. It would be interesting to try to predict which category the artists in the ASA show will fall into. It’s a poignant fact for art students to face, but this process of natural selection will eventually happen. Perhaps all we can do in the time being is to celebrate hunger while it’s still there.

Jennifer Tam

“Hunger: The Artist’s Insatiable Nature” will be up in the Rosenberg Gallery (2nd floor Brown) until February 8.

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

Mission Statement

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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