Jin Kaisen, Jane & Sondin-Kung, Guston.

Jane Jin Kaisen *1980
lebt und arbeitet in Kopenhagen, Dänemark
Studium an The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art , University of California Los Angeles

– Interdisciplinary Studio, Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program


Ausstellungen [Auswahl]:

2010 Gruppenausstellung, Taiwan International Documentary Film Festival
2009 Incheon Women Artist's Biennale, South Korea, Act Out

– Performative Video by Nordic Women Artists“ in Portugal, PT
2008 Gruppenausstellung 5th AHL Foundation Winning competition,

Gana Art Gallery, New York, 2nd Deformes Biennial, Santiago, Chile.



Guston Sondin-Kung *1982

lebt und arbeitet in Kopenhagen, Dänemark
Studium am California Institute of the Arts


Ausstellungen [Auswahl]:
2010 Gruppenausstellung, Taiwan International Documentary Film Festival
2009 Gruppenausstellung, Solway-Jones Gallery, Scandinavia House New York
2008 Gruppenausstellung, CCA Kitakiushu Museum of Art, Japan 

The Woman, The Orphan and The Tiger

(dt. Die Frau, die Waise und der Tiger)


Date: 2010
Length: 76:00 min.
Format:  16:9
Specification: Colour, Sound



In Korea gibt es den Volksglauben, dass der Phosphordampf, der dort aus dem Boden aufsteigt, wo Menschen in Massengräbern verscharrt wurden, ein Zeichen ist von Trauer und Wut der Seelen, die nie ordentlich bestattet wurden. Die Geschichte der Geisterflammen wird zu einem der metaphorischen Stränge, die Jin Kaisen zusammenwebt, um über die traumatischen Ereignisse der südkoreanischen Geschichte zu sprechen, vor allem über diejenigen Gruppen von Frauen und Kindern, die Opfer der südkoreanischen Militäreinsätze im 20. Jahrhundert waren und zum Schweigen gebracht wurden.
Durch dokumentarisches Material, Interviews und poetische Erzählungen präsentiert Kaisen die Geschichten von unterschiedlichen Frauen aus drei Generationen. Frauen, die während des Zweiten Weltkrieges vom japanischen Militär zur Prostitution gezwungen wurden, Frauen, die seit 1950 bis heute für das US-amerikanische Militär sexuelle Dienste leisten mussten, und Frauen, die als kleine Kinder von Eltern aus westlichen Ländern adoptiert wurden. Ihre Lebensgeschichten stehen oft am Rande der großen historischen Erzählungen. Trotzdem scheinen ihre Traumata im allgemeinen Bewusstsein des Landes verankert zu sein, gleich den Geisterflammen, die die Nation heimsuchen. So setzt Kaisen das Medium Video für ein Ritual der Reinigung ein, das den Verstummten ihre Stimme zurückgibt und das soziale Befinden der südkoreanischen Gesellschaft stärkt.




► 1. Your video has been chosen among over 1700 festival entries to participate in Videonale 13. How central is the video medium to your overall artistic production? Is it complimentary to other media you use or do you work exclusively with video?


We consider our artistic practice to be non-medium specific and consider each artistic work on an individual basis with regard to context and reception. While we work predominantly with video, we also work both together and individually with performance and installation-based artworks.


► 2. Is there a particular theme, concept or problem your art addresses the most?


We locate our practice within the discourse surrounding emerging contested histories, places where historical truth is actively disputed and its effects felt through traumatic dislocation. This allows our actions to directly influence by participation in [as yet to be defined] discourses. We take the totality of these contested histories looking to a large body of discourses surrounding events, places, people and collective psychology.
As we work with issues that are yet in the process of being clearly defined and historicized, our work with specific themes can be seen both as propositions and statements. In the case of the film included in Videonale13, “The Woman, The Orphan, and The Tiger”, the main discursive proposition was the creation of a strategic genealogy created by relating the suppressed history of three generations of women and how they have been affected by a combination of militarism, colonialism, and patriarchy.


► 3. What artists do you relate to or find significant for your own art-making?


There are a large number of artists, poets, and writers we relate to and find significant to our own art making. In “The Woman, The Orphan, and The Tiger” we incorporated many of these artists directly into the film. We worked with people such as writer Jane Jeong Trenka and included in the film readings from her book “Fugitive Visions”. We also included passages from poet Maja Lee Langvad’s work. In addition, we worked with composer and musician Hyun-Jung Shim to create creative sound work and included video clips from filmmaker Tammy Chu’s film “Searching for Go-hyang”. In the film we also worked with poet Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, visual artist and filmmaker Soni Kum, and writer Grace M. Cho. We greatly admire and respect all of these artists for their visionary creative talent.


► 4. Do you think the video medium can address social or political issues better than other art media?


We think that all art media have the potential to address social and political issues and locate the content of the work as central to addressing social and political issues and the medium as secondary. Yet, we do feel that the medium of video has special characteristics that are conducive to addressing social and political issues. It has the potential to be distributed freely and to be shown in multiple contexts. Furthermore, it has become a visual language that is understood broadly.


► 5. Art can be seen as a mirror that registers and reflects life or as a tool that transforms it. Which of the two positions is close to your own art-making philosophy?


We believe that art both reflects life and is a tool that transforms it.
Our works reflect our life circumstances and we bring both our subjectivities into the creation of our works. As an inter-subjective artist unit, we look for a synthesis of our collected subjectivities that cannot be located within either one of us but is created through the combination of us. We locate our inter‐subjective identity within the similarities, contradictions and possibilities of both of our collected histories: What does for instance the postcolonial, feminist, transnational and diasporic mean for a Korean woman adoptee forcefully migrated at birth to a working‐class white family in Northern Europe and embodying simultaneously immense losses of things unknown and immense gain of perceived economic and cultural privileges? What does it mean to a Jewish American man brought up in a secular Marxist family with an Asian father who achieved the American Dream while his parents fled the Cultural Revolution in China? The combination of each our complex histories forces us to have an unsettled perspective which recognizes the subjective within history and discourse without reducing subjectivity to conventional notions of identity politics that is often defined by clear markers.

On the other hand, art is a tool that transforms life.  With our recent work “The Woman, The Orphan, and The Tiger” the main objective was not simply to tell the story of how militarism and patriarchy has effected three generations of women in South Korea. It was moreover an attempt to re-write the history of militarism in South Korea from a gendered perspective by proposing a strategic political genealogy between three generations of women whose histories are usually not read together. In doing so, we wished to change the discourse of each issue by aligning them and seeing them in a longer historical perspective and relating them to broader social and political stakes. As artists and individuals, we were utterly transformed by the making of this work and we hope in turn that the viewers of the work may be transformed by it as well.


► 6. How do you understand success in an art-making career?


Our impetus to make art stems from a desire to engage in discursive change and to blur disciplinary boundaries through our creative expressions. We work both within and beyond what is commonly defined as the art world.

The parameter of success is for us being afforded the opportunity to continue to be involved in an artistic practice we both find immense meaning in. This means being continuously challenged in creative art making and to be enriched by the histories and communities we become engaged in. 


► 7. What is the most difficult and the most rewarding thing about making art being an artist?


The most difficult thing is maintaining our composure in an art context that typically does not support critical examination. The most rewarding thing is being allowed to meet and work with individuals and organizations that have dedicated themselves to their work and beliefs and to share our work with a broad variety of people and communities in different geographic, cultural, and disciplinary fields.


► 8. What are your upcoming projects?

We are currently on the volcano island of Jeju-do south of the South Korean peninsula and working with the long suppressed history of the Jeju 4.3 Uprising of 1948. We plan to make several works here, which among others will look at the Jeju 4.3 Uprising as a precursor and microcosm to the ideologically motivated Korean War and the recent attempts at reconciling this history. The works will engage how during the military dictatorships in the 1960s and 1970s, the event could only be talked about through fiction, such as poetry, novels, rituals and the Korean student democratization movement’s appropriation of shamanic performances. In recent years, Jeju-do has been re-conceptualized as an Island of Peace. We are looking at the discursive re-configurations of the island’s history and how the narrative of peace is being challenged by the current construction of a Naval Base on Jejudo today.


► 9. What do you do when you don't make art?


We both have been involved in art education and see it as an important component of a broader cultural practice. Also, we have both been involved in the organization of art exhibitions, film festivals, and cultural events. We believe in the importance of actively engaging in creating new venues for critical artistic expression. Besides this, we play cards, read to each other, tell stories, dance, cook food and kiss.


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