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!

EDIT Research

Kim Juree

January 11, 2018

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Hwigyeong – 揮景 series, Juree Kim (2011). soil and water.

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Place and Practices, Juree Kim, (2017).

Kim works primarily with clay, performance and film to explore the themes surrounding social and natural environments with a focus upon Korean cultural identity. Kim’s artistic work and research mirrors Brownsword’s concerns due to her observations on the destruction of regions within Eastern Seoul as a result off gentrification and the displacement of local communities and skills.

 

Source

Research

V&A Artists Residency – Opening the Cabinet, Histories of Slavery and Slave-Ownership

January 11, 2018

We are delighted to announce our new call for artists who are keen to engage with the histories of slavery and slave-ownership that are ‘hidden in plain sight’ within in the museum, as part of the V&A Research Institute (VARI) Opening the Cabinet of Curiosities project. The selected artist will be encouraged to engage with both the V&A’s collections and the information we are unearthing about them to make visible these histories not currently reflected in the museum.

Source

-Noted to keep an eye on for future information.

Making

Pinch Pots

January 11, 2018

After struggling to get into the ceramics studio I bought some basic air drying clay and work on making a collection of small pinch pots to get used to using clay and my hands, as well as have a body of work to start from.

I wanted to try and use the fact that clay holds memory to my advantage so I overworked the clay before forming it into pinch pots, and unsurprisingly they all collapsed when they eventually dried. Some held their shapes, but most turned into crude flat discs. While these were wholly unsuccessful I was glad to get my hands in some clay and also to produce a collection of something.

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EDIT Making

Making

January 11, 2018

To get myself back into the swing of making I went to the ceramics studio and worked on throwing on the wheel. I’d been thinking about ceramic techniques over the summer and had been watching tonnes of videos, yet being back on the wheel I was surprised at how out of practice I was. I definitely need to practice a lot more. I was able to make a few forms, this isn’t necessarily the direction I’d like to go in but it was enjoyable working with clay again.

 

 

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Making

Refamiliarising

January 11, 2018

 

Small bowls thrown using porcelain clay. I’d been trying to get into the studio for several weeks – lots of staffing issues meant I couldn’t work on slip casting, so I got some porcelain buff and worked on some throwing.

It was much harder than I expected it to be, definitely isn’t like riding a bike and will require loads more practice.

Research

Notes

January 11, 2018
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While watching technique videos I came across Kara Leigh Ceramics. She talks about how clay can become tired, which got me thinking about how clay is considered to have memory. My interests center around collective memory and how the voices of women are being silenced.

Could I look into working with “tired” clay as a means of representing the tired women? The overworked women? Forcing a function of clay to make it do what I want even if it doesn’t look good or actually function properly?

Making

To Do

January 11, 2018

w/c 08/01/17

Start adding to blog

– Collect all notes made so far and add to blog:

  – phone notes

  – journal notes

– Confirm appointment with Claire for Monday 15th

  – Bring small shot cups & photos of failed mold

– Buy clay from Gay and charge to my materials account / (Speak to Claire first to work out what clay I can use for free to start with.)

– Experiment with unfired clay in water

 – add to blog

– Locate pieces made before Christmas

 – add to blog