RE: [-empyre-] Cunnilingus in North Korea


Well, I've been drawn to comment on the seemingly unique censorship
experience for YHCI in 'MAAP in Beijing' - a very long and intricate story.
But briefly, YHCI is renowned for their ability to prickle any countries
skin. (How about the circle of monitors with the red circle (sun/flag)
continuously setting in Japan? Mmm .. did not go unnoticed (understatement).

In Beijing, the exhibition context managed official government permission
and support (with the strong advocacy of artists such as Wang Gong Xin). In
2002, a significant milestone, pushing official exhibition boundaries to the
max in China, including live internet work. Works were viewed before to
clear them, we did have political work albeit in metaphor and nudity. The
exhibition was high profile and scrutinised by officials and press.  

Images of Mao in an undignified digital manipulation was pushing the
envelope...right off the table... kind of like burning the flag in America

Though I have to add that the web work YHCHI showed online and presented in
the symposium was a transcribe of Chairman Mao's famous poetry rolling
through with 'Is it tonight?' by Ornette Coleman The song opens with a drunken
sadly sung 'I'm so alone, wish I could find someone to love... let me feel
and let me see this love you feel for me ... is it forever'. I remember one
young Chinese student asking why did YHCHI choose this music to go with
Chairman Mao's poetry? Young-hae, as I recall, answered in a very sincere
and loving tone with words to the effect...We thought he must have been so
lonely and imagined him in this way with the music, he must have been very
I found out later that the translator did not choose this as an appropriate
answer for the audience, though I noticed some in the audience that could
speak english smile wryly. 

We all know and love the innocent demeanour of YHCHI, but we are also well
aware of the mischievous jazzy dance this provocative duo are capable of!


-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, 3 May 2005 11:39 PM
To: soft_skinned_space
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Cunnilingus in North Korea

Hi Melinda,

We love your work. Thanks for inviting us to pontificate on empyre.

So, first, there's no one more serious than us. We make Gilbert and George
look like Monty Python. For some odd reason, though, people find our stuff
funny. That really burns us.

Unless they don't find us funny, in which case we get a lot of irate e-mail.
This is puzzling to us, because, if there's one thing we all want, it's
love. Right? Yet we are utterly failing here. Take CUNNILINGUS. What we
thought was a good deed -- accepting to communicate the Dear Leader's
communiqué -- turned into a fool's errand. The hate mail poured in: "You
!@%#*&* must really hate our country to write such lies" -- this from a
South Korean; or "You !@%#*&* must really hate our Northern brethren to
write such lies" -- this from a South Korean, too; or "You !@%#*&* must
really hate yourselves to write such lies" -- this, again, from a South
Korean. And that's the printable stuff.

And all we thought was, boy, we're going to be heroes for passing on this
unforeseen human, progressive, loving, and lovable side of North Korea.

Utterly puzzling. 

Censorship? No. Auto-censorship? Yes, after an experience like CUNNLINGUS.
We're too scared to put the Korean version online.

Steve Kurtz. He is new media art's Salman Rushdie. And Steve thought he was
doing some good. 

Young-hae and Marc

Oh, check that. We have been censored once. This happened at MAAP Beijing,
in 2002, was it? Anyway, we did a piece based on Mao's famous swim in the
Yangtze River. It was a very simple concept, again based on love -- for Mao,
for China, for us, for the color red. It ended in a bloodbath. But perhaps
Kim Machan, who was there, and who gave us the bad news, has a different

On 5/3/05 2:03 PM, "Melinda Rackham" <> wrote:

> just to put a url to that..  english version:
> as a piece ive enjoyed as well ( the music just makes me a happy! )  we so
> need
> more humour in net art.. could you elaborate on it..  do  you have
> problems anywhere?    what sort of response do you get from it..?  is it
> playing
> a pivotal role in north/south cultural relations.. ?
> do those questions  involve all the things you wont discuss?
> Melinda
> Melinda Rackham
> artist | curator
>> Thanks.
>> We will forward the compliment to the Dear Leader.
>> On 5/2/05 3:35 PM, "Deborah Kelly" <> wrote:
>>> I just wanted to say that Young hae Chang Heavy
>>> Industry's Cunnilingus in North Korea is one of the
>>> most charming, hilarious, intriguing and flat out mad
>>> pieces of any kind of artwork I've ever seen, with the
>>> best soundtrack.
>>> I've sent it to many people, as well as experienced it
>>> repeatedly myself.
>>> I'm really delighted to be hearing more from them.
>>> Deborah Kelly
>>> --- Michael Arnold Mages <> wrote:
>>>> This month, please join us in welcoming text/sound
>>>> artists Young-Hae Chang
>>>> Heavy Industries, as we discuss their work, as well
>>>> as the environment in
>>>> which their production occurs.  Young-hae Chang and
>>>> Marc Voge produce their
>>>> arresting, tightly synchronized work from Seoul,
>>>> Korea.  Their work can be
>>>> highly personal, confrontational, languorous or
>>>> breathless, but always
>>>> challenges the reader physically and intellectually.
>>>> As the month progresses, we will be joined by other
>>>> practitioners from the
>>>> area, and continue the discussion of the challenges
>>>> and complexities of
>>>> working in Asia.
>>>> Of themselves, they say simply:
>>>> ( is in Seoul. Its
>>>> C.E.O. is Young-hae Chang, its C.I.O Marc Voge.
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> empyre forum
>>> __________________________________________________
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>>> _______________________________________________
>>> empyre forum
>> _______________________________________________
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> _______________________________________________
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