Research

South Korea

January 1, 2018

image

The Place of Requiem – a memorial for Kim Hak-soon, the first Korean woman to testify in 1991. The House of Sharing, Seoul, South Korea, (2017).

Over the summer I went to South Korea, I taught English to students at a partner university and took a course in South Korean culture and history with Professor Susanna Lim. The course was incredibly rich and I found it really challenging, but equally rewarding.

During the course, I learned about the history of Japan’s use of sex slaves for the Japanese Military, euphemistically called ‘Comfort Women’. This is primarily where my research began; being in South Korea meant I had access to a different perspective on the issue and the opportunity to learn more from that perspective.

I discovered the issue of wartime sex slaves had particular importance to the people of Korea as it’s estimated 80% of the victims were trafficked from the Korean peninsula. I came across information about The House of Sharing, a nursing home for several remaining survivors, based in rural Seoul.

Note (July 23rd, 2017)

Look at the possibilities of using ‘comfort women’ as a research start point – their use of art therapy and their Korean cultural ideals – han jeoung and etc (look up Dan Tudor article from Dr Lims class week 3) the act of sharing their story as a cathartic action of relieving their grief. Their grief can only be resolved with their demands of Japan’s government met. Their work has served as an educational tool – humanising victims of an atrocious act, allowing for the understanding of the feeling and emotion of the survivors of the abhorrent history to help prevent reoccurrence. Atrocities lost to history can never be learned from. Making art as a means of releasing pain and educating to prevent this horror reoccurring is incredibly important and can only continue – in a digital age where everyone can find anything.

 

Research

“Comfort Women”

January 1, 2018

A euphemism for the women who were sexual slaves for the Japanese Imperial Army in Japanese occupied areas during World War II. The Japanese forcibly enslaved hundreds of thousands of women to act as sexual slaves in “comfort stations” initially set up as a means of reducing the number of rape reports in occupied territories. The women were often tricked into believing they were going to work in factories or as nurses for the Japanese army, when in fact they were being sent to “comfort stations”. About 2/3 of the women who were enslaved were killed after Japan was defeated, and gradually many of the remaining women died without every talking of their enslavement.

In 1991 the first woman spoke out about her experience – Kim Hak-sun came forward and gave her testimony, sparking many more testimonies from other survivors, which in turn started a movement to seek justice for their trauma. Japan still has yet to officially and sufficiently apologise for their part in their suffering.

Research

Ceramic Forms

January 10, 2018

I know I want to incorporate ceramics into my final piece as my work last year was really enjoyable to make and I’d like to continue developing a ceramic practice. In terms of how I’d use ceramics to convey my ideas I want to make something that speaks of volume and vastness – of the scale of the events during WWII that I’m focussing on.

Traditional Korean Ceramics:

Kang-hyo Lee: Onggi Master

Notes:

  • Ceramic culture is very closely connected to dietry life and food culture. A lot of foods in Korea are fermented and stored. Because of this food culture Korea has become so skilled at making large jars & containers.
  • “When I make this kind of large jar or small cup, I am contained.” – Lee’s work comes through his body from his mind, into the materials used.
  • I don’t have to remake old/traditional ceramics to make good work, but understanding the cultural importance of traditional ceramics will help me make interesting work.

Large forms:

image

Jar with peony decoration. Korean, Joseon dynasty (1392-1910); first half of the 15th century. Buncheong with inlaid design. Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul.

image

Baekja White Ceramic Vase

Notes:

  • Large forms are typical in Korea as they serve as highly functional objects for day to day life, both for families and businesses for the purpose of fermenting food and various sauces.
  • These forms are steeped in tradition, with sudden food shortages after the end of Japan’s colonisation and the Korean War in the early 1950′s these ceramic forms were crucial in preserving and fermenting staple foods.

Representation:

image

Pottery Plate with Moon and Reed Sgraffito Design

image

Korean dinner plate with iron black and red copper paint fish design

Buncheong artisans reinterpreted traditional iconography, often allowing only the essence of the image to emerge. Asian floral designs, peonies, chrysanthemums and lotus were defined in linear motifs. Animals, too, such as the tortoise on an elephant vessel, were also interpreted as a swash of lines. Occasionally, mythical animals change form under the artist’s guidance. For instance, a dragon and fish are joined as a “dragon fish,” the enigmatic emblem of an anonymous artist.

Notes:

  • Traditional motifs aren’t always explicit, but can be more subtle and expressive
  • I don’t think any use of imagery will be relevant to my work as I’m looking to a period of history shrouded in silence and a distinct lack of historical visibility.

Further thoughts:

Currently I’m thinking of tables completely covered with small ceramic forms I’ve made over and over and over again.

image

When I think back to my time in Korea and the beginnings of my research into the issue of ‘comfort women’ I remember long discussions with women on the subject, as well as conversations surrounding current views of women in the world. These discussions were always had with traditional Korean drinks, either soju or makgeolli (rice liquors/wines)

image

Serving of makgeolli, using metal golden cups. South Korea, (2017).

Traditionally ceramic forms would have been used to serve makgeolli, and I’ve found a YouTube clip of a potter explaining how she makes these cups:

Soju was the main drink we all had when we sat down for our long discussions and I brought home my own set of soju cups when I returned. All over Seoul were stands selling handmade cups with detailed paintings of traditional Korean motifs, although these simple ones were the most popular:

image

Next steps:

  • Get into the ceramics room and begin making some of these forms (Email Claire).
  • Decide which form would work best to be remade over and over again to best represent the scale of the issue of ‘comfort women’.
Research

January 10, 2018

Breaking Silence by Paula Allen

  Fifty years after maintaining a painful silence, the women of Asia, who had been forced into sexual slavery during WWII by the Japanese Imperial Army, began to speak publicly. Together these women, euphemistically called ‘Comfort Women’, have awakened the world to the horror of the Japanese Military’s institutionalisation of rape, trafficking, and torture inflicted upon women and girls. 

  They have asked for full reparations and an apology from the Japanese Government and to date, are still waiting. Their voices have mobalised and inspired a global movement demanding that the crimes of sexual violence be readdressed. 

  The selected photographs were made for Amnesty International in 2005, on a trip to South Korea and the Philippines, with researcher Suki Nagra.

Research

Slides

January 10, 2018

Some slides from a previous presentation by Jane Watts on methods of protest, of persuasion, and of education.

Moving forwards I want to make a body of work that serves to educate on the issue of wartime sexual slavery by the Japanese and protests, as part of the Wednesday Demonstrations.

Research

Wednesday Demonstrations

January 10, 2018

Wednesday Demonstrations

Making

Plaster Mold Attempt

January 10, 2018

After being unable to get into the ceramics studio for any technical help I asked if I could do anything in the mean time so that when I was able to book with a technician it wouldn’t take as long. I booked a session with Gay to make a plaster mold of my form.

I decided I wanted to create something from a set of traditional Korean soju cups I bought while I was in South Korea. Their significance in relation to my research centres mainly around how delicate they are, but how they’re used over and over again. While Korea was under Japanese rule there was a strong emphasis on eradicating traditional Korean culture among citizens. Using a Korean ceramic form speaks of identity and tradition.

 

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to successfully create a plaster mold using the method Gay showed me. A vacuum formed inside the mold and I wasn’t able to remove the ceramic piece from the mold without breaking it, so I had to cut the plaster away.

EDIT Making

Planning

January 10, 2018

Plan:

– gather failed attempts at mould,

– refamiliarise myself with slip casting technique in Ceramics Bible,

– gather together pieces made before Christmas on the wheel,

– establish timeline to ensure I will have work for WIP show (Jan 25th)

– on days where I’m not able to access the ceramics studio, make literally anything else, always be making,

EDIT Research

Notes

January 10, 2018

Even rough objects are important and can convey an idea

– use this idea in my work

– don’t get bogged down with perfectionism yet

Uncategorized

January 10, 2018

Chang Lee-jin – COMFORT WOMEN WANTED

The video is based on my interviews in 7 different countries in Asia (2008-2012), including with Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Indonesian, Filipino, and Dutch “comfort women” survivors, and a former Japanese soldier. 

Source