Thursday, May 24, 2012

Art From Outsider's Point of View

The 2005 English Spectrum Incident

Part 1: English Spectrum and 'Ask The Playboy'
Part 2: The Kimchiland where it’s easy to sleep with women and make money
Part 3: English Spectrum shuts down as Anti-English Spectrum is created
Part 4: How to hunt foreign women

Part 5: Did the foreigners who denigrated Korean women throw a secret party?
Part 6: The 'Ask The Playboy' sexy costume party
Part 7: Stir over ‘lewd party’ involving foreigners and Korean women
Part 8: The 2003 post that tarred foreign English teachers as child molesters
Part 9: Netizens shocked by foreign instructor site introducing how to harass Korean children
Part 10: Movement to expel foreign teachers who denigrated Korean women
Part 11: "Middle school girls will do anything"
Part 12: Netizens propose 'Yankee counter strike force'
Part 13: Segye Ilbo interview with the women from the party, part 1

Part 14: Segye Ilbo interview with the women from the party, part 2
Part 15: Web messages draw Koreans’ wrath
Part 16: Thai female laborers and white English instructors
Part 17: 'Regret' over t
he scandal caused by confessions of foreign instructors
Part 18: "Korean men have no excuse"
Part 19: "Unfit foreign instructo
rs should be a 'social issue'"
Part 20: 'Clamor' at foreigner English education site
Part 21: Foreign instructor: "I want to apologize"
Part 22: No putting brakes on 'Internet human rights violations'
Part 23: "They branded us as whores, yanggongju and pimps," part 1
Part 24: "They branded us as whores, yanggongju and pimps," part 2
Part 25: Don't Imagine
Part 26: 'Foreign instructor' takes third place
Part 27: Art From Outsider's Point of View

I just discovered the following Korea Times article from January 21, 2005 about a Korean artist's reaction to English Spectrum (prior to the incident), which can be found in this blog post:
Art From Outsider's Point of View

By Park Chung-a
Staff Reporter

It is the era of globalization. Cultural exchanges are growing in popularity and the number of foreigners coming into the country and Koreans going abroad is on the rise, making the words "hybrid'' and "multi-cultural'' very familiar to Korean society.

Lee Joo-young, known as Jooyoung Lee abroad, is a young artist who seeks to shed light on this hybrid, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual community that is becoming an important part of Korea through the visualization of snippets of text extracted from Internet blogs in the form of stencil artwork.

"I became interested in hybrid culture as I studied visual arts in the United Kingdom for five years,'' Lee said. "I came back to Korea after having lived as foreigner in another nation and I began to wonder how foreigners here thought and felt about living in Korean society. I wanted to project myself through the thoughts and words of 'outsiders.'''

According to Lee, "outsiders'' are not only foreigners but also include Koreans or Korean-Americans who feel alienated from Korean society when their individual hopes or viewpoints are criticized or frustrated because of prejudices and narrow-minded norms dictating Korean society.

English Spectrum, an Internet message board for English teachers in Korea, which has been shut down temporarily because of sexist comments against Korean women, triggered Lee's enthusiasm for exploring the thoughts and feelings of these outsiders.

"I discovered the Web site in April through a foreigner. Everything I wanted was in the site,'' she said. "Because it was designed for the active exchange of opinions and information, I could see how foreigners in Korea felt while living here.''

"Although the comments were sometimes very superficial, many of them just venting their anger toward Koreans, I thought they were deserving of attention.''

Since then, she has been collecting snippets of text and words that represented universal thoughts and feelings of outsiders from personal Internet blogs run by foreigners living in Korea or Korean-Americans. She wanted to reveal what was happening in the domestic multi-cultural community through her work.

One of her works says, "You are always hurry hurry hurry. Where are you hurrying to?'' which she believes shows the hand-to-mouth aspect of Korean society. Added to the text is "They are hurrying to love'', which she made up by herself. In addition to using the texts in their original form, she also adds some words that express her reaction or perspective.

Other texts include "Anything for the right price,'' "We should send all foreign guys away'' and "I rove you'', which is phonetically written based on many Koreans' pronunciation of "I love you'', who often confuse "l'' with "r'' when pronouncing them. Through phonetics, she wanted to focus on the trial and error that we face in the process of learning foreign language and accepting foreign culture.

"Being spread all over the Internet, those raw words could mean nothing and be considered as trash. However, by representing them through stencil work, I wanted to make viewers reconsider the feelings of outsiders and understand people of different cultures and nationalities,'' Lee said.

The stencil work is done on paper as well as on walls and T-shirts. By overlapping sentences and blurring the spray paint, Lee pursues a reverberation effect, symbolizing the cyberspace in which clusters of words, voices and opinions abound. She uses the term "anarchi-stencil'' for describing her work as it is based on free expression without any restriction.

In March, Her stencil art will be demonstrated in a group exhibition with foreign artists in Buia Gallery in New York. Lee plans to hold an exhibition in Seoul in September. She also plans to open a stencil shop later this year or next year in order to give the general public a chance to express their opinions and feelings on T-shirts through stencils.

"Instead of just holding exhibitions as an artist, I would like to contribute to increasing people's interest in art, making people get used to freely expressing their feelings and thoughts through their own works. I am currently thinking about teaching a stencil work to a group of youth,'' she said.

In addition, she has been working on quasi-documentary project based on a collection of interviews with foreigners in Korea. So far, she has interviewed ten foreigners.

"I would like to make those interviews into one complete video work and show them in the Hongdae area, Itaewon or Yongsan, where multicultural communities abound. When I am done with the project, one socialist is to make a book from it. However, the project has been stalled at the moment due to a lack of funds.'' But she is determined to continue it despite difficulties.

"While I was studying in England, one of my English friends asked another English friend who was living with students of various nationalities what it was like to live with foreigners. The response was `What could be so different? They are people just like us!''' she said. "That answer made me think about how many people were prejudiced against people of different nationalities without trying to realize that they are just humans. I hope people will realize this through my work. Seeing my work, I I hope people will become more open to others and learn to respect the co-existence of diverse opinions and thoughts.''

Lee is a prominent artist who currently lives in Chang-dong art studio, run by government-funded National Museum of Contemporary Art, which is only granted to artists with brisk activities and high-quality performances. Since starting her career as a professional artist in 2001, she has held numerous exhibitions both in Korea and abroad, including Tokyo and London. In April, she developed a project under the title Radio Hue, a radio style sound work that made a multifaceted portrayal of the Seoul art environment of 2004 through interviews and reports with the people working within it, such as artists, gallerists, museum workers and writers.
So there you go. It's certainly a more productive and thoughtful reaction to some of the nonsense produced at English Spectrum than has been generally reported.

1 comment:

Jooyoung said...

Accidentally i found this link -Actually its me. here is my web Find more about the work Stencil related to the article. thanks for the posting!