IDAAS Public Art Project: P.O.P./Cultural Intimacies by Yong Soon Min

January 22, 2009 at 12:28 am Leave a comment

Installation view of Movement by Yong Soon Min, 2008

Installation view of Movement by Yong Soon Min, 2008

Call for Participants from the Claremont/IDAAS Community:

P.O.P./Cultural Intimacies is a public art project by Korean American artist Yong Soon Min, commissioned for the IDAAS space in the Lincoln Building, and anticipated to be completed by Fall Semester of this year.  The artist invites all members – students, faculty, staff, supporters – of the IDAAS community to participate in the conception and creation of the project.

For the IDAAS commission, I aim to produce a site related installation that incorporates sound and images to reconsider portraiture.  Instead of the more conventional representation of visage or physical likeness, these portraits reflect how a particular subject is constituted historically and socially, as well as by desire, by taste, by empathy. Specifically, these portraits will be based on the (digital) playlists of songs remixed with images from a favorite moving images culled from Asian pop sources, selected by the portrait subjects.

I hope to engage the help of students at the Claremont Colleges and look upon this project as an opportunity to think about how our sense of ourselves is marked not only by cultural and generational difference, but also by access (i.e. to technology, to tradition, to translation). I am interested not so much in who we think we are but who we are trying to become. What moves us? What do/can we share? What are points of convergence and divergence between communities? Is it possible for us to know ourselves better through an encounter with another, and our tastes in popular culture?

The project is rooted in my interest in the “Korean Wave” phenomenon that represents a stunning exception to the general understanding that soft power (of culture) is contingent upon or derived from nations with established hard power, i.e., the coupled political and economic power.  Given this precept, Korea has unexpectedly attained notable status in which its cultural exports in Asia promote a notion of the “Korean Dream,” positioning Korea as a developmental model for lesser-developed countries. The prominence of the Korean Wave in Asia followed on the heals of Japan’s reigning position in the marketing of cultural influence during the nineties. To many Asians, a notion of cultural proximity places Korea and Japan, rather than the West, as a more palatable translator of modernity and the modern life style.  Transnational flows of Asian popular culture coupled with the profound influence of new internet technologies in collapsing geographic distance and boundaries can be said to give rise to constructions of new Asian subjectivities both within Asia as well as within Asian diasporic communities.  These developments signal a seismic shift from the previous, deeply entrenched Euro-American “gaze” to a more overlapping and multidirectional flow of culture.

Detail of Movement by Yong Soon Min, 2008

Detail of Movement by Yong Soon Min, 2008


The production of the project will be facilitated through the Asian Americans in Media (MS100PZ) class.  You can participate in the following ways:

  • Enroll in the class and work with Yong Soon Min in developing the project as a part of your course work (this option will fulfill a number of community-based learning requirements for the Asian American Studies, Media Studies, and Pitzer Social Responsibility requirements)
  • Work with student liaisons from MS100 and instructor Ming-Yuen S. Ma to participate in the project.
  • Attend the two public presentations and meetings where ideas and formats for the project will be discussed.  These will take place on Wednesday nights during MS100 class meeting time.  The dates will be announced on this blog.
  • Keep track of developments on the project through this blog.  You can use the “comments” section to provide feedback.

Link to more information and documentation of Movement

For more information, contact Ming-Yuen S. Ma

Posted by Yong Soon Min and Ming-Yuen S. Ma

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: .

About Yong Soon Min

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