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Research

Research

South Korea

January 1, 2018

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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:

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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.

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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:

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Pottery Plate with Moon and Reed Sgraffito Design

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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.

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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)

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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:

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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

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

Research

Chang-jin Lee

January 10, 2018

Chang-jin Lee – COMFORT WOMEN WANTED

COMFORT WOMEN WANTED brings to light the memory of 200,000 young women, referred to as “comfort women,” who were systematically exploited as Japanese Military sex slaves in Asia during World War II, and increases awareness of sexual violence against women during wartime.

This video is based on Artist Lee’s interviews with Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Indonesian, Filipino, Dutch “comfort women” survivors, and a former Japanese soldier from W.W.II.

The gathering of women to serve the Imperial Japanese Army was organized on an industrial scale not seen before in modern history. This project promotes awareness of these women, some of whom are still alive today, and brings to light a history which has been largely forgotten and denied.

The title, COMFORT WOMEN WANTED, is a reference to the actual text of advertisements which appeared in Asian newspapers during the war. When advertising failed, young women from Korea, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Netherlands were kidnapped or deceived and forced into sexual slavery. Most were teenagers, some as young as 11 years old, and were raped by as many as fifty soldiers a day at military rape camps, known as “comfort stations.” By some estimates only 30% survived the ordeal. The “Comfort Women System” is considered the largest case of human trafficking in the 20th century.

Historian Suzanne O’Brien has written that “the privileging of written documents works to exclude from history…the voices of the kind of people comfort women represent – the female, the impoverished, the colonized, the illiterate, and the racially and ethnically oppressed. These people have left few written records of their experiences, and therefore are denied a place in history.”

In the video, the Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, Indonesian, Filipino, and Dutch “comfort women” survivors, and a former Japanese soldier talk about their experiences at the military comfort stations, as well as their everyday hopes and dreams and who they are as people. These women also sing their favorite traditional folk songs in Korean, Taiwanese, Chinese, Hakanese, Aboriginal Taiwanese, and Dutch. This presents the women as individuals rather than as victims and highlights the experiences we all share, in order to put these monumental events in context. These are the stories and voices of the survivors.

Despite growing awareness of the issue of trafficking of women and of sexual slavery as a crime against humanity, this particular history has gone largely unacknowledged. COMFORT WOMEN WANTED attempts to bring to light this instance of organized violence against women, and to create a constructive dialogue for the future by acknowledging their place in history.

Source

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Public Art in Times Square, New York City, 2013
Ad-like Phone Booth Kiosk Poster in English, with QR Code

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The Incheon Women Artists’ Biennale, Korea, 2009
Ad-like billboard

The privileging of written documents works to exclude from history…the voices of the kind of people comfort women represent – the female, the impoverished, the colonized, the illiterate, and the racially and ethnically oppressed. These people have left few written records of their experiences and therefore are denied a place in history and discussions of it by positivist gatekeepers. These “women without history” appear, then, only as they are represented in documents written by those in positions of power and only these documents satisfy the gatekeepers criteria for historical authenticity.

It had only been through their testimonies that survivors have been able to challenge this portrayal.

(Source)

Research

Chang-jin Lee

January 10, 2018

Chang-jin Lee – Pre-inaugural Exhibit at The Comfort Women Museum in Taipei, Taiwan, 2013

It brings to light the memory of 200,000 young women, referred to as “comfort women,” who were systematically exploited as sex slaves in Asia during World War II, and increases awareness of sexual violence against women during wartime.

The “Re-creation of a Military Comfort Station” is based on historical references including welcome and regulation banners,kimonos, tatami beds, washing bowls, windows, and Japanese name plaques. Videos of former comfort stations in Asia are projected on elements in the room.

Outside, welcoming and regulations banners are hung from floor to ceiling, creating fabric walls. During the war, banners at the entrances of military comfort stations welcomed and attracted soldiers. The written texts in Japanese said such things as “Homeland Military Designated Comfort Station,” “Japanese Girls Dedicating Their Hearts and Bodies in Service,” and “Grand Welcome to Victorious, Courageous Soldiers.”

Inside, videos of former military comfort stations in Asia, including Dai Salon in Shanghai, the first comfort station ever, and former Indonesian comfort stations, are projected on individual elements in the room. On the walls are hung Japanese name plaques. Girls were forced to wear kimonos and use Japanese names. The recreation explores the idea of erased ethnic identity. The artificial made-up Japanese names which the women were forced to use contrasts with their real Chinese names at the entrance to the exhibit.

Despite growing awareness of the issue of trafficking of women and of sexual slavery as a crime against humanity, this particular history has gone largely unacknowledged. COMFORT WOMEN WANTED attempts to bring to light this instance of organized violence against women, and to create a dialogue by acknowledging their place in history.

Source

Research

Exhibitions

January 10, 2018

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V&A Contemporary Korean Ceramics – Friday, 19 May 2017 – Sunday, 11 February 2018.

Bringing together the work of fifteen emerging and established artists from Korea, this display offers a glimpse into contemporary Korean studio ceramic practice. Some are inspired by historical Korean ceramics such as inlaid celadons from the Goryeo dynasty (918-1392) or white porcelains of the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910). Others experiment with new technologies and alternative materials, or use ceramics as a medium to engage with contemporary issues ranging from mass-consumption and pop culture to the destruction of Korea’s architectural heritage.

Starting on Monday 18 September, one of the pieces on display – an unfired clay house by Kim Juree – will be slowly dissolved in water into a puddle of mud.* Kim uses ceramics as a way of commenting on the constant cycle of urban development in modern Seoul and the disappearance of its architectural legacy. Exhibition originated by the Fondation d’entreprise Bernardaud and their guest curator Hyeyoung Cho, organised and curated for the V&A by Dr Rosalie Kim, Samsung Curator of Korean Art and supported by the Korea Foundation. Additional support provided by Samsung.

Source

*Investigate this idea with my work – the voices of the survivors are disappearing if they are not heard. Clay has memory, so incorporating this kind of manipulation of clay could be more interesting than just displaying an object at the end of my process. Would also help with the issue of timing!