Forms of the Shadow
Kyungah Ham, What you see is the unseen Chandeliers for Five Cities SK 02-01 North Korean hand embroidery, silk threads on cotton, middle man, smuggling, bribe, tension, anxiety, censorship, ideology, wooden frame approx. 1800hrs 1person, 2017 -2018,
The shadow is a powerful time-image that embodies constant flux, never maintaining the same shape. The shadow reveals its being through double operations of the light as well as the things that block the light. The shadow is the visualization of the movement of the sun, but what blocks the light is what determines the forms of the shadow. Thus the performativity of the shadow is reflexivity.
Here, the shadow refers to the unfinished shadow created during the Cold War. It extends to our post-Cold War era, and the end of this shadow is connected to the story of nature restored in a neglected environment within the border area where human access is prohibited. A study of this natural environment will put a spotlight on the certain things that block the light and bring out the particular forms of the shadow today, while imagining the possibility of a new “ecosystem” to come.
The Real DMZ Project (ongoing since 2012) has been an attempt to reflect upon some of the shadows created by the Cold War. It has focused on the particular geographic region called the demilitarized zone (DMZ). As one of the most heavily armed borders in the world, the DMZ has divided the Korean Peninsula, not just in a spatial way, but also in a spiritual way. The DMZ as a buffer zone between North and South Korea is a land that is contained within itself. It reflects upon the shadows of both sides. As a psychological self-defense, the DMZ has been a reality that can be deliberately erased in the consciousness of people in the Korean Peninsula. But it never goes away. At different historical moments, and by different political needs, it comes back and creates the shadow even in our post-Cold War era. The Real DMZ Project has aimed to put a spotlight on the things that block the light and to bring out the particular forms of the shadow of the DMZ.
Curated by Sunjung Kim