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Andrea Peña
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Asim Waqif
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Shohei Katayama
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After School

Teen Summer Workshop Series
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The Magic Sword of MMCCDXCVII


This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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Gimhongsok organizes his artwork into a variety of roles - that of the artist, the coordinator, and the entertainer. Past works in Germany and Korea include exhibitions that have dealt with fashion, cooking, and entertaining - always with a twist. In The Magic Sword of MMCCDXCVII, the viewer is given a strange tale of two siblings raised by two different fathers. The surrealistic story is presented in dual formats; one in text on brilliantly colored, carefully arranged signs and the other in audio format. As the viewer moves around the room and between the acoustically different pillars, one covered in foam, the other in hardwood, the sound source changes as if the people speaking are also moving in the space. A further disorientation is created as the viewer struggles with the different rates of accessing the same story in the printed text.

Artist Statement

It is hard for me to concentrate recklessly on only one thing in a society where everything is divided (or pluralized) and specialized. I try to experience many fields by pretending to be someone in the field. And if that does not lead to a successful (or satisfactory) result of my intent, I can at least have self-contentment. I enjoy transforming myself into someone and it usually takes on a cultural boundary. The reason for the boundary is to minimize the jeopardy (or risk) of transformation that can happen outside a given boundary and to regard it as a practice prior to other attempts that can happen outside the boundary. So far I have tried to be a fashion coordinator, furniture designer, cook, party organizer, display designer, exhibition coordinator, and scenario writer, and these attempts have enabled me to communicate with many fields. Transforming into someone is only one thing that fulfills my satisfaction and it also leads me to conclude that I am a multi-identified being and a schizo maniac who needs to have many uniforms and name cards. This time, I became a writer and wrote a story for little kids, but even though it’s written by me – one who is Korean and lives in Korea – the story has a plot that cannot happen in Korea. Its setting and details are more like the ones of Hollywood blockbusters or German fables. The main character has the name “Machtung,” which originates in German, rather than the typical Korean name “Chul-soo.” By giving birth to a main character “Machtung,” I find myself in ecstasy over escaping and frequenting the world where I exist. I find this interesting because it means that my identity is destroyed and exists no more, which tallies my intention of transformation. However, it is hard to eliminate the theory that says, “ a statement that’s extremely self-disputing can destroy and deny oneself.”


Ten Asian Artists in Residence: October 30, 1999 – July 31, 2000
About The Artist

Gimhongsok is a South Korean artist. He graduated with a BFA from the Seoul National University. Gimhongsok organizes his artwork into a variety of roles - that of the artist, the coordinator, and the entertainer. Past works in Germany and Korea include exhibitions that have dealt with fashion, cooking, and entertaining - always with a twist.

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