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Q: So it’s really interesting that your work as to do with the liminal space in physical atmosphere where there is no fear of political correctness, because the atmosphere belongs to nobody.  And yet, the skies are in a way, owned, according to what section floats above which plot of land.  For example, when the polluted air of one of the northeaster USA states ‘leaked’ into a neighboring state;s air and damaged the air quality there were huge legal bickering over the responsibility of this issue.  You said that you feel comfortable floating in the air, seated within an airplane , because it is a space that allows ultimate relaxation– but only that activity.  Is the work you make pertaining to skies planes mostly focused on the airplane experience?

HS: I think I use airplane images over and over for my artworks.  I think that airplane made it possible for people to travel easily.  People travel.  Some like myself end up staying destination.  Airplane image come with many meaning for me with different mixture of emotion.  Like yoy mentioned, being air is equalizing experience for anyone in the plane.  No Matter who you are, your life is temporarily suspended in the sky.  Rich or poor, tall or short, dark skin or light skin, sick or healthy, man, or woman, … you are above clouds in the sky.  Being air always remind me that how small I am.  How big the world is… I feel humble when I am in the air…  Also being air is unusual and beautiful experience.  Who does not get excited when you see sun hit white clouds under your eye level.

Q:  Do you have an interest or concern for the fact that air moves but land does not move as quickly, so that while everybody takes care to try to pollute less, they can have territorial qualms?

HS: When you are on the land, you are too close to whatever your situation.  It is hard to be objective when you are too close to something.  In the air you are more objective to yourself including human activity  in general.  Territorial qualms seem silly when you are in air.

Q:  What do you wish to communicate through you work other than your experience and lifestyle of going continuously back and forth from your motherland to other places via opportunities art ushers?  Or it the subjective experience the ultimatum of a canvas for an artist– namely yourself in this case?

HS:  I think the idea of my work is pretty simple.  Most people agree that stormy clouds from airplane window is beautiful.  Most people may have imagined jumping into clouds.  Also, most people think about stuff when they are in air like their past or memories.  Because I am an artist, I have a desire to fix those floating thought.  If I am a writer, I probably will write about it.  If my image remind or recall people similar experience I have, I will be happy.

Q: Is it preferable for a viewer to agree and say that living in air, living in air, living in the skies, traveling there, or having (perhaps frequent) periods of time spent in the sky to be a preferred practice?

HS:  Spending time in the sky is giving a different perspective to people.  It is not as dramatic as an astronaut look the earth from space shuttle but, it is closest experience normal people could experience.

Q:  What brings you to work visually?  What instigates or inspires you?  How often do you think of where you came from and other past memories– these themes which seem to perpetually voice out from you work?

HS:  My process of art making is pretty organic.  Idea come from many sources, such as movie, photograph, other artists works, art history, literature, toys, child plays, memories, or my own works from past.  I usually carry small notebook.  I make small sketches whenever Idea comes to my brain.  It often happen when I sit at cafe by myself.  Then later if I need to have solid information in order to make artworks, I research or do more specific drawing.  So, my work is reflection of my everyday experience and my background including memories.  Both voice are equally important for my art making process.  Some of my work is based on an idea from when I was 10 years old boy.  I am finally able to depict it by using art training.  To me, Making art work is taking care of unfinished business.

Q:  Is art making a means to an end or does the process matter more to you? I wonder this due to the layers of application in some of your pieces, as well as the layers if thought origins that are sort of patched together in a single image piece.

HS:  as an artists, I have desire to fix or depict images or thought in my head on canvas, or paper.  But, I would not know how the image end up till I finish the work.  The process of making often leads another thinking or idea visually and conceptually.  I like the idea od a singel image piece contains so many layer of thinking or aesthetic decision.

Interview between Ellice Park and Hiro Sakaguchi March 2009

(Image stills are from “NOH-CHIM” at MAP’s “Losing Yourself” ©estherka)

In the teardrop-shaped walk through MAP’s “Losing Yourself”, kate hers’ video “NOH-CHIM” (2006) rests on the curve of the teardrop-shaped tour. In a show full of investigations on what it means to be a female in the 21st century, “NOH-CHIM” fits in with its examination on hers’ question of identity, conversing with the other pieces to be more than just a cultural dialogue on heritage and environment but also incorporating thoughts on gender and placement. It is a eight-minute looped video of her in South Korea performing happenings, sitting as a guest on a Korean show, posting up person-search posters, and then repeating the same happenings in a space where nobody sees and knows what’s going on except herself and the camera.. and then us, the viewers.

Conversing with hers, it becomes searingly revealed that as viewers, it is easy to lose sight of the overall because of our specific interests–finding comfort in the parts of her video which make sense with our own experiences, finding discomfort in the dizzying displacement so jarringly confronted, or for some, perhaps the reverse of what I just described. The point isn’t that hers is lost, or that we’re now aware of conclusions, or that this is art, or that this is not art, or that this is real and to be dealt with, or that this is a construction and therefore partially fictional–there might not be a point at all. Do we have to find a point? “NOH-CHIM” translates to that which is lost, from Korean to English. How can we ever find a point?

Whether or not our identities are ever discovered through the chaos of uncountable taxonomic categories beckoning our self-division, we can use our stories and experiences and dizziness to recognize potentials for change. Change for someone else, perhaps someone younger, so that they don’t have to go through what we went through. Each new generation is a promise of something potentially greater with unpredictable change.

So the conversation turns with the loop of “NOH-CHIM” onto hers’ current video-in-the-works, “Vanishing Horizon”. The work-in-progress is an artistic documentary, providing some history of the region and its name change, but mostly showing the children of the orphanage and how much love and care they are given from the orphanages’ founder, Tendol Gyazler who became an orphan by accident at a tender young age. There is a lone tree swaying against a backdrop of rolling green hills and cotton-swab-thick clouds. Stacks of rice fill an entire building whose doors are wide open, pigs are in crates at the city market, workers with trucks, blissful children with dirty faces, we get glimpses of the Tibet around Gyazler’s two orphanages. The children joke with each other, throwing up peace signs, skipping down cobbled walkways, swinging high on playsets and doing traditional festivities. It seems no matter where we are in the world, children share a universal trait liveliness and glee when playing, unaware of anything but the present moments.

This project was funded through the Pacific Rim Grant at University of California, inspired by relationships, and realized through collaboration in friendship–all towards recognizing and raising awareness along with funds for two orphanages in Tibet.

With kate hers, the viewer grows to see art’s ability to instigate change in dialogue: away from engaging others in our dizzying search to settle–at times, inherited–displacement, and towards helping the future’s children enjoy life without the distraction of questions which may never get answered.

To see her work in progress, Click Here.

“Losing Yourself” at MAP will be up until March 27th, 2010–Be sure to visit!

Ellice Park

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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