Re: [-empyre-] Cunnilingus in North Korea

Young-Hae & Marc...

I wholeheartedly agree.  As someone who has been a student of Japanese
culture for over 30 years, I have to admit that I have taken an interest in
Korean culture only since 1998, upon meeting a couple of the most incredible
animators and designers (and people!) that I have ever known, who happen to
be Korean.  It is ironic that even with such brand identities as KIA,
Daewoo, LG, Samsung, and so on, the US perception of Korea is not as
foregrounded as with Japan, China, or even Vietnam (that is [not] ironic).
Since it is the unfortunate truth that in the West countries seem to be
given attention through economic or military strength/threat, Korea is an
odd place on the map.  It is probably tangential that under this argument,
the inordinate degree of attention given to Iraq is surprising given the
instability in N. Korea (as well as Afghanistan, the African continent, and
other, but I digress).

However, I think that, at least in the New Media culture, Korea is not
marginalized, due to the excellent cultural efforts created there.  Also
artists like yourselves are strong indicators of the unique voice from that
part of the world.

On another point, I make a point to show the YHCHI work to my students for
the New Media lectures here at Bowling Green State.  Especially
"Cunnilingus"... Work like that has such a great rhythm, has so many
cultural challenges, and is wonderfully free in its presentation of content
that it puts forth a great challenge to my students, most of whom want to
animate for something like "Robots 2".  Students, which in a culture like
the US, which is becoming more culturally isolated despite its increasing
involvement in international affairs, need this sort of confrontation that's
at once playful and difficult at once.

Personally, I'd like to project "Cunnilingus" on the side of the Art
Department here...

----- Original Message ----- 
To: "soft_skinned_space" <>
Sent: Wednesday, May 04, 2005 8:59 AM
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Cunnilingus in North Korea

Hi Alan,

The West has never had the same fascination with Korea that it has had with
China and Japan. Today, South Korea finds itself, economically and
culturally, constantly reintroducing itself to the world. For all the TVs,
monitors, and cell phones that Samsung and LG export, they are failing to
create a prestigious Korean economic and cultural identity on a par with,
say, Sony. Sony and its ilk are at the heart of a certain Western
fascination with Japanese culture. For Korean politicians and nationalists,
this failure is a big problem.

Ask any non-Koreans what images "Korea" conjures up, and virtually all will
draw a blank. On the one hand there is a certain failure on the part of the
Korean government and society to create this imagery. After all, you only
need a few icons to capture the mass-media imagination of the global
community: a great wall, a kimono, a portrait of Mao, a samurai. . . On the
other hand, there is something beautiful about this blankness. Some of the
most prized Korean ceramics are the white, slightly off balance porcelains
that the Japanese love so much. This blankness suggests that Korea is indeed
a non-materialistic people of deep spirituality, a place where the usual
tourist sites are a lesser presence than those crazy neon crosses, thousands
of them, that punctuate the evening sky in Seoul and mark a church in some
office building.

Unfortunately, the West can only convince itself that there is humanity over
here if there are a few visual clichés to help it. We need a Warhol to put a
face on the Korean people, without whom a war, nuclear or conventional,
could start.

Young-hae and Marc

On 5/4/05 1:18 PM, "Alan Sondheim" <> wrote:

> Hi and thanks for replying.
> Years ago when I was making 16mm films (along with a friend Andy Karp), I
> listened constantly to North Korea shortwave, stories like How the Great
> Leader Makes Plants Grow, and Why South Korea is a Great Big Jail (these
> were two of the titles). The voices made their way into a number of sound-
> tracks, and I think Andy even made a film called The Juche Idea. It was
> incredibly grim even then, and the broadcasts were literally unbelievable.
> What fascinates me - and with your work as well - is how little N America
> knows about North Korea (or South for that matter). We "have" images of
> starvation, mass rallies, beautiful countryside, played against a concept
> of absolute paranoia and war. We are given images as well of a completely
> acquiescent population, fundamentally in agreement with Kim Sung Il (or
> whomever). From the outside, the writings of Kim Il Sung read like those
> of a madman - but Bush's speeches are just about the same.
> The sexualization and tunes remind me of Wilhelm Reich's writings on
> fascism by the way - as well as Adorno's (and others) notions of the
> aestheticization of politics.
> I'm beginning to wonder whether humanity will make it through the decade -
> Alan
>> Hi Alan,
>> We've read your poetry on gatesofparadise.
>> Yes, we're too scared to upload the Korean version of CUNNILINGUS. Bad
>> things can happen. E-mail to us suggests this.
>> How do we synch text to sound? Very slowly, and very carefully. Or
>> did you know that the actual frame-by-frame creation of American cartoon
>> shows like "The Simpsons" is done in Korea?
>> As for North Korean culture, there is essentially none to speak of down
>> in the South. North Korea remains the true Hermit Kingdom. There is a
>> late-night TV show here that presents what it can of North Korean culture
>> and daily life. The slant is upbeat -- Sunshine Policy oblige -- but the
>> meager footage suggests something sadder. The few images of North Koreans
>> "daily life" and "leisure" is very touching, if not heartbreaking. One
>> cannot help but be drawn to the fringes of what's going on for a glimpse
>> the horrible reality up there.
>> We recall vaguely a North Korean film retrospective at one of the several
>> festivals here. But the movies were all propaganda. Everyone knows, by
>> way, that the Dear Leader is a great movie buff. It seems that the North
>> Korean movie industry is a national priority, but for internal
>> only.
>> On the other hand, South Korea is basically uninterested in North Korean
>> culture.
>> Young-hae and Marc
>> On 5/3/05 11:55 PM, "Alan Sondheim" <> wrote:
>>> Are you really too scared to put the Korean version up?
>>> The work's terrific - I'm curious how you get your sound timing so
>>> accurate.
>>> Btw is there _anything_ coming out of the PRK in terms of culture?
>>> Anything going on? (beyond the stereotypically obviously and stupidities
>>> between us and them)
>>> - Alan
>>> ( URLs/DVDs/CDroms/books/etc. see )
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> empyre forum
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
> ( URLs/DVDs/CDroms/books/etc. see )
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum

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