Looping Stories of the City: Gone and Reborn

As a resident of a 40-year-old high-rise apartment, I feel ambivalent about redevelopment: Could it be possible to have a brand new house without necessarily destroying old memories? This work, a miniature of the redevelopment process displayed in the form of a box, utilizes various media to express such ambivalence. The outside of the box has been collaged with photos I took of my town to preserve memories associated with soon-to-disappear buildings, and when viewers open the lid, they will be presented with a space that, through a contrast of colors and textures of materials, illustrates both the bright and dark sides of redevelopment. Furthermore, activated by a sensor that detects, the accompanying digital screen will display a loop of nineteen photos showing the construction process. Once the box is closed, viewers are unable to see--both literally and figuratively--what kind of future will appear before them, and this uncertainty reinforces the theme of ambivalence.

Shape of Time in the City: The Old I & II

Shape of Time in the City: The New I & II

The Old I & II depict old signboards that I saw in Eulji-ro, a historical area of Seoul, and The New I & II portray the new, modern signboards from Garosu-Gil, a newly developed neighborhood. Together, these works seek to highlight changes and differences in the aesthetics of signboards in Seoul.

I collaged my photos of the signboards to create computer-generated outlines of buildings that resemble Eulji-ro’s buildings. Setting them against a background of unpaved roads covered with soil and using a top-to-bottom perspective, I emphasized the buildings’ small size and relative insignificance due to old age. The Old II makes the same emphasis, but through the combination of the digital art component and 3D form.

In The New I & II, the modernized buildings are depicted from a bottom-to-top perspective to emphasize their height and set in the background of paved cement roads to highlight their urban character and newness. I again produced a 3D artwork, utilizing diverse mediums.

My Grandfather’s Memories: Faction

Faction was the product of my desire to hold onto my memories of my grandfather, who is almost 90 years old and thus whom I sadly fear will leave me soon. Because he fled to South Korea at a very young age right before the Korean War, he barely has any memories of his life in the North. Wanting to help him restore his memories, I interviewed my grandfather to learn about the places he’d lived and worked in in the South. When I did track them down, however, I saw that none retained their old appearance due to redevelopment. As I visited these places, I realized that life is a collection of memories across time and space--and that these memories are often closer to fiction than facts. But what mattered most is that the entire process brought joy to my grandfather--he was so happy to be able to reflect back on his old memories. Though I’ve never been to North Korea and my grandfather himself will never get the chance in his remaining life, we will together remember these shared memories.

Julili 2023 — NY, New York & Seoul, South Korea