I received mail stating that the district of Bongcheon-dong(奉天洞), named to mean “serving heaven and/or pay tribute to the sky... Read More
I received mail stating that the district of Bongcheon-dong(奉天洞), named to mean “serving heaven and/or pay tribute to the sky ,” would be renamed Jung’ang-dong (Center) on January 23, 2015. The ceaseless noise from construction sites here and there and the increasingly higher buildings seem to be directed at an even higher sky. Neighborhoods dotted with shantytowns expressed by the stereotype of “moon neighborhoods” (hillside slums) and fortune-telling houses operated by mudang (Korean shamans) coexist with tall apartments whose redevelopment has already begun.
I hiked up Bongcheon-dong while holding a white flag and a red one, starting at the buildings in the shantytowns dotted with mudang’s fortune-telling houses in the lower part of the district, passing through maze-like alleys, and ending at soaring apartments. In addition, I disappeared among the high buildings, which seemed to touch the sky. In terms of color, the flags erected at mudang’s fortunetelling houses are mostly red and white. This signifies the wish that the energy of the sun will descend through the rainbow of the Milky Way. Some asked me whether I was holding a sacrificial rite to the spirits or was a mudang, and children squealed, showing interest. I felt bad for those who, seeing me climb the hill with flags, thought with discomfort that a shaman was holding a sacrificial rite to the spirits. However, I, too, seemed to disappear gradually into the darkness as the sun began to set, which seemed to dispel the heaviness in my heart and the discomfort from the heavy flags as well. In the book Hope for the Flowers, caterpillars trample over each other to get to a higher position. The caterpillars which blindly went upwards, without knowing what awaits them, eventually fall and die or hurt each other. In the end, the crawling caterpillars, captives of their own anxiety, continue to look upwards, despite the fact that they could turn into butterflies and fly across the sky. began by thinking about where the caterpillars of our society are striving to reach. While performing, I held a flag, similar to flags that are found between the fortunetellers’ gathered at the lowest part of Bongcheon-dong, and walk by all the alleys up to the mountain with the apartment buildings The flag, inconspicuous among the fortune telling houses, attracted attention as I got out of the area. While I was able to blend into the surroundings in the fortune telling district, I increasingly become an inconvenience as I got out of the district and continued walking. I had the feeling of wanting to surrender while waving my white flag but instead waved the red flag like a matador facing a bull, resolute and unwavering. The closing scene of the performance takes place in front of a shadow created by a lit wall in the alley of the darkened city. Here I stand, in front of a wall, with my shadow portraying a religious figure I am more familiar with.