siren eun young jung, A Performing by Flash, Afterimage, Velocity, and Noise, 2019, Audiovisual installation, multi-channel video, stereo and 5.1 surround sound, dimensions variable
As an extension of siren eun young jung’s ongoing Yeoseong Gukgeuk Project (2008–), A Performing by Flash, Afterimage, Velocity, and Noise (2019) transcends being a mere homage to the narratives within the genre of yeoseong gukgeuk or a spatiotemporal analysis of the period when the genre was active; it pictures an “impossible” genealogy that is transferred and expanded through the practice of today’s queer performers. The Yeoseong Gukgeuk Project, a decade-long ethnographic research project into the unique theater genre of yeoseong gukgeuk, seeks to critically deconstruct the oppression-bordering conventions around gender, tradition, and historical consciousness. The most distinctive formal trait of yeoseong gukgeuk is that women perform as men. Each actor’s technique of playing a man varies according to their own analysis and understanding of the male role. The men represented by yeoseong gukgeuk actors may seem like stereotypes—barely breaking away from social conventions—but at the same time the performers represent a unique gender that transcends any specific definition of masculinity. Their performances shake and provoke the biased notion of gender.
Presenting the performance of a second-generation yeoseong gukgeuk actor Lee Deung Woo, A Performing by Flash, Afterimage, Velocity, and Noise also calls forth four performers that provide a genealogy of contemporary queer performance. Lee Deung Woo is the most brilliant yeoseong gukgeuk male-role actor still performing today, who has also constructed a unique aesthetic with her extremely exaggerated ballim (gestures) and theatrical acting style. Lee’s style of acting and the subsequently generated image embody the paradoxical presence of yeoseong gukgeuk, forgotten and unwelcomed by both the traditional and the contemporary theater. The performance and music of electronic musician KIRARA actively incorporates the sense of physical disjuncture and segmentation that she experiences as a transgender woman. Lesbian actor Yii Lee has always provided the male-centered and gendered theater scene with an independent and unorthodox alternative. Seo Ji Won is a disabled woman, performer and director of the Disabled Women’s Theater Group “Dancing Waist” where she has developed a very exceptional action aesthetic. DragKing AZANGMAN has strived to create a drag culture and community at the feminist-queer intersection. The practices of these women oscillate between the formal challenge of escaping conservative theater genres and the body’s own uncomfortable and irregular modes of anomalous performativity that are prompted by each of their physical experiences. At the same time, they summon the history of the almost extinct art of yeoseong gukgeuk, bringing it back into the context of queer performance.
The ontological tradition of oral transmission, which is the basis of pansori and which yeoseong gukgeuk has followed, has been expanded to include more physicality and more performance. By flowing, stopping, deferring, or layering moving bodies, the methodology of oral transmission mirrors and impacts an “inter-body transmission” of queer bodies. The work is therefore an endeavor to repeatedly awaken the “queer turn” within an artistic practice, weaving moments of performing and sensing the performing as a form of “queering.” At the same time, it seeks to question political aesthetics through its feminist-queer methodology of re-summoning the narrative of those isolated by official history.
siren eun young jung, A Performing by Flash, Afterimage, Velocity, and Noise, 2019, audiovisual installation, multi-channel video, stereo and 5.1 surround sound, dimensions variable. © siren eun young jung
siren eun young jung
Born in 1974 in Incheon, South Korea, siren eun young jung currently lives and works in Seoul. Within her projects she explores how the yearning desires of anonymous individuals merge with events of the world, and how such contacts become sites of resistance, history, and politics. Seeking an artistic practice that would expand feminist artistic language, she began the Yeoseong Gukgeuk Project in 2008; the project traces the lives of surviving actors of the genre that emerged in the newly independent nation in the 1950s and waned during the military dictatorship. In her work, the artist employs various media, performance, and video in order to question the concept of gender and critically analyze the construction of tradition and history. She has been particularly active within Asia, participating in Tradition (Un)Realized (Seoul, 2014), Ghosts, Spies, and Grandmothers (SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul, 2014), Discordant Harmony (Hiroshima, 2015/2016), Asia Pacific Triennale (2015), Gwangju Biennale (2016), Taipei Biennial (2018), Shanghai Biennale (2018), TPAM – Performing Arts Meeting (Yokohama, 2014/2018), and Serendipity Arts Festival (Goa, 2018). She is the winner of the Hermes Foundation Missulsang Prize (2013), Sindoh Art Prize (2015), and Korea Artist Prize (2018).
siren eun young jung, A Performing by Flash, Afterimage, Velocity, and Noise, 2019, audiovisual installation, multi-channel video, stereo and 5.1 surround sound, dimensions variable
Lee Deung Woo (with drumming by Nam Kyong Ho), Yii Lee, DragKing AZANGMAN, Seo Ji Won, KIRARA
Verbal Passage Writers
siren eun young jung, Moon Jungyoun, Kyoung Min Sun
KIRARA, “KIRARA,” moves, 2016; KIRARA, “BLIZZARD,” moves, 2016; 10cm, “Tonight I’m Afraid of the Darkness,” Life – Mint Paper Project Album Vol.3, 2010; Lucie Bernardo, Otto Rathke, The Okeh Laughing Record, 1922
Jee Yune-jeong, Chae Jung Seok
— Crew Shin Donghun, Kwon Junghoon, Lee Chang Seok, Han Seung Hee
You Seok Moon, Kim Dong Hoon
— Crew Lee Jin Yong, Ka Sun Beom, Lee Min Gyu, Kim Dong Hyo, Jeong Junho, Seo Gyeong Won
Hong Eue Su
— Crew Lee Hyeon Woo, Lee Dae Woo
Son Young Jin
— Crew Yang Yeon ho
Lee Heein, siren eun young jung
Kim Guenchea (Punktire Studio)
Wooran Foundation, Art Scape 2, 3; ARKO Arts Theater, Grand Theater
The Korean Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (Curator Hyunjin Kim), and KADIST
Arts Council Korea; Maeil Dairies Co.,Ltd.; Korea Artist Prize Promotion Fund: SBS Foundation, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea