Friday, October 24, 2014
"There is an ancient Indian saying that something lives only as long as the last person who remembers it. My people have come to trust memory over history. Memory, like fire, is radiant and immutable while history serves only those who seek to control it, those who douse the flame of memory in order to put out the dangerous fire of truth. Beware these men for they are dangerous themselves and unwise. Their false history is written in the blood of those who might remember and of those who seek the truth." ~Chris Carter from The Blessing Way X-Files transcriptTheresa Hak Kyung Cha was born in the capital city of South Korea in the 1950's and immigrated to the United States when she was 11 years old.
Giant history buff that I am (not) ...I learned today that Korea was occupied by the Japanese from 1910 to 1945 and the Koreans were not permitted to speak their own language during this period of time. Korea has a long history of fighting within it's own country and multiple occupations from other countries. The Koreans say they are the people of (a Korean word that translates into something that means grief and suffering and despair).
Cha used words and language with art to make her own messages. Aware that words and language are used to control people, I believe she used words as art as a way to make people think about allowing themselves to be controlled in this way.
Her most famous work is titled "Dictée" which translates from French as "dictation" or "dictate".
“The main body of my work is with language,” Cha wrote,” before it is born on the tip of the tongue.”
|Theresa Hak Kyung Cha-Earth (1973)|
Here is a quote from Cha's book, Dictée:
You return and you are not one of them, they treat you with indifference. All the time you understand what they are saying. But the papers give you away. Every ten feet. They ask you identity. They comment upon your inability or ability to speak. Whether you are telling the truth or not about your nationality. They say you look other than you say. As if you didn’t know who you were. You say who you are but you begin to doubt. They search you. They, the anonymous variety of uniforms, each division, strata, classification, any set of miscellaneous properly uni formed.
Shortly after Dictée was published, just before it was publicly available, she was murdered in New York City. She was 31 years old. Her book is required reading in contemporary literary classes in many universities and her art works, in a diverse range of media, have been featured in touring exhibitions throughout the years.
A documentary of her life and work is in post-production right now. Why not make a contribution to it's funding? Just click on the orange Make a Contribution button below to do that and you can learn more about Cha, her life and work (and the film) by going to this site.
Tomorrow, I am taking a blog writing day off. Sunday is, of course, Inspiration Sunday. Monday, I will be writing about the artist, Lygia Clark, whose work is a major reference for contemporary artists dealing with the limits of conventional forms of art. Judy Chicago was next on the list, but I wrote about her in this earlier post.
See you Sunday!