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K.NOTe no.13

Shiu Jin

Total Museum of Contemporary Art Publisher

Nathalie Boseul SHIN Editor-in-chief

 Jiyeon Paik Editor

Daeil KIM Designer

September 2014 Date of publication

Š reproduction of the contents of this magazine in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.


A Profound Question Which Cannot Measure the Depth and Width BM_HANNA_OTF, 2014 48mm Box Tape, Dimensions Variable **

Image Credit Ilmin Museum of Art Ilmin Museum of Art 152 Sejongdaero, Jongno-gu, Seoul 110-050, Korea http://ilmin.org

K.NOTe no.13

Shiu Jin


A Profound Question Which Cannot Measure the Depth and Width BM_ HANNA_OTF(Detail), 2014 48mm Box Tape, Dimensions Variable

Fade to Black He had a habit of carrying a memo pad and making short writings. When he was without a memo pad, he even used napkins or gum wrapper to write something down. His memos were sometimes from conversations with people he met, and at other times certain words unexpectedly emerged in his head while sitting in a blank state. At times they were quoted sentences from books, and titles of news flowing on electronic signs. Returning home after wandering outside, he could find his pockets full of small and big pieces of paper. He then laid the memos on his desk and put ones that he thought to have some important clues. As the short writings were connected with each other, certain forms were often generated in his mind. Yet the forms did not necessarily correspond the referential meaning of words. Sometimes, there were words that he could not remember the reason he wrote them though they were written as memos just a few hours ago. He felt that this process where text turns to a form always generated suspended matter. It is told that the memory of sensing something visible does not last more than approximately one-third of a second. If one does not pay attention, it does not move on to become a short-term memory. Since a short-term memory only lasts for a few seconds, only part of it remains as a long-term memory. Leaving a memory is the same with a situation where one pulls up a heavy net from the water, and there are only two fishes in the net. The suspended matter floating in between empty holes are to be intertwined through misunderstanding and delusion, which were sometimes left as another writing or sketch as they coincided with the activity of ongoing operation of sensory organs and the operation of the memory machine. On the day, his route started from Daehakro, moved through Gwanghwamun, and ended in Buk Ahyeondong. He came back with a full stomach, dropping by different coffee shops, drinking water and similar kinds of liquid while jumping between hot and cold atmospheres under the wind of air conditioners and on the summer street. He took a novel titled I Am a Ghost Writer, but he could not read a single page because of the declining sun casted into the bus on his way back. Coming out from his bag were a bunch of crumpled Post-it, a piece of paper with its corners torn off, and a memo put under the cover of the novel. He cleaned the day’s net as he unfolded the crumpled memos one by one as if he has been collecting money on a daily basis.

K.NOTe #13

Haeju Kim Art Critic This text was originally published in the catalog of artists Shiu Jin by the Ilmin Museum of Art solo exhibition.


Difference and Repetition, 2011 Object Installation, Monitor Based, 26.5 x 25.5x29cm

Representation Techniques 3-Research on the Balance, 2014 Mixed Media, Dimensions Variable

Oh! Master! He observed the people eating soup with rice on the main street near the Marronnier Park. Those wearing vests with the words ‘Angels of the Street’ were scooping food from a deep stainless food container. People who received the soup after waiting in a long queue were emptying their bowls of soup as they were sitting on the street or standing by themselves. While people on the street were walking busily and the buses on the road passing by more busily, there flew a different air, as if there was a low cloud, and time was stretched by magnet. At a local grocery store in the country where the man has lived for five years, there were people who opened the door of the shop for others. They helped people holding vinyl bags in their both hands not pushing the door with their shoulders. They also sold entertainment magazines, crossword puzzle books, or Sudoku books. As if they had sections divided for those people, there were designated people at the entrance of each grocery store in the neighborhood. Bank ATMs had their own fixtures, too. They contacted their eyes with those that didn’t put their banknotes in their wallets. But the real fixture in the neighborhood was P, who was living on the ventilation window of a bakery across a cafe. It was a great location at a busy street corner and with warm heat coming up from the ventilation hole. Wearing black clothes and black mustache, he sat there whole summer and winter, greeting the passers-by holding up his hand. Though he did not beg anything noticeably, people in the neighborhood left him changes as if they were leaving offerings in church. When he collected some coins, P entered a cafe and drank of a cup of liquor or coffee, and he often had long conversations with other colleagues while sharing the warmth of the ventilation hole. He has a memory of P holding up his hand and refusing to take coins while still lying on the spot, saying “I take rest on Sundays.” P on the other day was sitting with fishing poles hanging on the street. He died on October. Flowers were piled up at his spot, photos of him put on the wall. People did not easily take down their photos and words of remembrance even after the year changed. In Korea, the fixturespirit is a god in charge of people’s luck, especially the fortune of wealth. P was like that. Though he did not have a deep relationship with P, he became friends with another man at the entrance of a grocery store. Both of them were foreigners who often shared cigarettes and endured the wet winter of the country together.

The Disk Jockey of 3 Minutes and 22 Seconds The taxi was stuck in traffic while on its way from Daehakro to Gwanghwamun. The speed of the car was sticky and boring as if its wheels have been engulfed in the melted asphalt. He could hear the voice of a famous DJ known to have broadcasted for more than 20 years. The DJ was just telling that he felt he would quit his job in radio broadcast and leave for traveling around the world when he reach 25 years of his career. He was thinking about a year when he hurt his waist and had to lie still in a room. He was watching the ceiling like a patient suffering from general paralysis since he could neither lie on his side nor lie on his face. Moments of sleep allowed him to escape from boredom, but the moments awake from sleep were a no more than a series of pain. He started look at every moving thing he could see while he was lying in the room. Dusts resembling white earthworms were diverging from his viewing angle, coming afloat and going down. Sounds from all kinds of machines in the room felt particularly loud. When one sleeps during the day, one cannot help but be awake during the night. He tried to find objects like him that are with their eyes open in the middle of the night. An electric rice cooker, a refrigerator, an alarm clock with luminous hands, a power indicator of a computer monitor, headlamps of cars passing by, words of self-accusation, a beetle on linoleum, a self that endlessly duplicates itself, rehabilitation‌ A thought suddenly emerged that he should sing a little. He had a memory of spoiling a singing test when he was in elementary school. When he completed the last line of lyrics of the song with his reddened face suppressed and shortbreathed respiration adjusted, the organ accompaniment was still remaining like a distant future. Bursting laughs of his classmates ensued. Since then, there have been not many occasions where he sang in front of others. He was still a bit afraid that whether a song could still come out from him. Then a school song starting with ‘Guwol-san (mountain)’ spilled out. It was surprising that the room was echoing with the sound. He recalled himself of the time when he felt ashamed all of the face of his mother, the insulated lunch box, and a bag for carrying slippers. He increased the volume of the song and finished it.

Used Well, It is Cure; Badly Used, the Same Becomes Poison Does a plant take on revenge? In Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene, there is a story of fig tree and fig wasp in a symbiotic relation. Fig is not a real fruit, but a structure resembling a glasshouse that surrounds the flower. Hundreds of small flowers are arranged on the inner wall of the structure. The only intermediary of pollinating the flowers is a small fig wasp. It pollinates the flowers by laying its eggs in there, and the larvae eat the flowers. The immobile fig continues its reproduction by helping the reproduction of wasp. From the perspective of fig, the ‘betrayal’ of the wasp is laying many eggs in the fig and pollinating almost none of the flowers. How could a fig tree pay back in this circumstance? If a wasp entered in a fig lays its eggs on almost all of the flowers and does not pollinate them, the tree cuts off the fig that has been growing by itself. Then, all the larvae in the fig are extinct. An Austrian monk in the 19th century, Mendel planted countless peas in the backyard of a monastery and crossbred them, drawing the fundamental principles of genetics, which are the principle of dominance, the principle of segregation, and the principle of independent assortment. During the ten years of experiments, Mendel used approximately 28,000 peas and carefully examined about 12,000 of them. As he became the director of the Abbey of Saint Thomas, he could not sustain the life with peas anymore. It is known that he habitually said in his later years, “My time will come.” The words are inscribed in the lower part of his statue. Function Key The last destination was a white Western-style house at the top of a hill with a long road. It was a living room of the decent house where the central area of Seoul was visible through a window made of seamless glass. Born in Gye-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, the artist said that his moving to the house was the first time for him to live outside of the four main gates of the old city. The artist poured apple juice from the States. He took Delmont Orange Juice as a gift to the artist, but the artist said that the juice was a fake American product. The phrase “made in U.S.A” sounded as if it was immediately after the Korean War. Showing some old photographs, the artist told about the experience of shooting a poster for a man over 80 years old that was known as a master of dance. Even excellent dancers took about ten minutes to reach the complete immersion during rehearsals, but for him it was done


Andy and Albert, 2012 Digital Print, 75 x 109.6cm <

Drawing for ‘SingerSong-Writer’, 2011 68 x 49.7cm


Untitled(Finally Realized it Was Mountains over Mountains after Burying My Head in the Ground), 2014 Mixed Media, Dimensions Variable


Calling of Night, 2014 Mixed Media, Dimensions Variable

in a second. Get up in a few steps and take one step in tune with the sound of Janggu percussion, then he is already a completely different person. Sitting powerlessly with his body older than 80 years and getting up to do something, it was as if a balloon was inflating in a second. Then the whole body shrank again after he finished his dance. He had unorganized memos such as the impregnable defense, choco bar, and the front side of a card is numbers, and the backside is a picture. He postponed the organization of the rest to the next day, but it also meant that they might never be organized. In tomorrow, the words of tomorrow shall be solved. The writings or sketches made from the repetition of everyday already filled the room. He knew from experience that his everyday life is easily be caught by organizing them if there was no separate certain amount of time for organization. He sometimes asked himself about why he was so obsessed with memos and the imperfect organization of them. He thought it might be something like creating a certain person. He could not create a person with a material presence, but it seemed possible to make an invisible person made of crystals of memory. It would be an archive of another person that is different from his existence, though connected with him in a way. If he was a being of inhalation, the man he was creating was like a being of exhalation. One might say that it felt like being doctor Frankenstein that created a figure with bones of dead people. The monster that ran away to the Arctic disappeared after telling that it would burn itself. He once discovered a small and strange island floating on the sea while dabbling in the water with a floating tube. The island thinly floating on the surface seemed to fluctuate more by the wave as time went by. As its shape became clearer, pieces of wood, bottles, and vinyl pieces started to emerge. The debris from the country at the other side of the sea were gathered in a circle, drifted by a tsunami after a storm. He felt a peculiar mystery and sense of kinship with the island of debris that bear words in a fragmented foreign language. * The text is written as a fiction inspired by conversations with Shiu Jin, works at his studio, and his novel 30 Minutes.

Shiu Jin Shiu Jin has kept an eye on the invisible dynamic borders being in three territories, which surround him: art, society and personal life. And he has been trying to interpret the strange situations (the events to stir his thinking process) that he faced, crossing frequently the lines; to reveal their law of causality (basically who, what, how, why and whether it is the necessity or not). What are made in the process, so-called artworks, are personal humble philosophy or attitude to life, which confront the others in the form of delivering the specific messages. On the other hand, this process becomes a circular passage to make him contemplate himself. Mostly Shiu Jin’s work begins with scattered words or sentences written in his notebook. They seem to trace daily life, but unlike a diary the words don’t have a distinct relation, nor do they follow linear time. When these ‘performativity fragments’ are shaped into an imaginary narrative, they become an episode. In this process of conversion through experimental arrangements – creating drawings, photography, film or installations – he finds a way to express the variable links between his words and his work. Shiu Jin’s also have been working as a member of Okin Collective from 2009 to the present.

Haeju Kim Art critic, writer and editor based in Seoul. She worked as a researcher at the National Theater Company of Korea and as an assistant curator at the Nam June Paik Art Center. She curated Memorial Park (Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2013), Theater of Sand (Culture Station 284, Seoul, 2012) and The Whales,Time Diver (National Theater Company of Korea, 2011). She has contributed articles on fine arts and performance to a number of Korean media and magazines such as Art in Culture, Article, F. She completed the International Curatorial Training Program at the Ecole du Magasin in Grenoble, France (2007) and co-edited with Harald Szeemann Invididual Methodology (2007, JRP / Ringier). She is an editing board member of Yeongeuk (magazine of National Theater Company) and Art Folder (interdisciplinary art archive of Moonji Cultural Institute).

K. NOTe is a monthly digital publication that aims to introduce Korean artists and curators to overseas audiences. Much like an exquisitely interwoven Korean ‘Knot’, K.NOTe hopes to become a medium that creates strong ties and solid knots within the contemporary arts scene by publishing e-notebooks of Korean artists and events that are worthy of ‘Note’.


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