Tuesday, January 29, 2008

B-Boyz's video - young generation's response on how to improve communication between North and South Korea - or...??

Warning! Here's from a hippie-softie heart. Does dance have the power to bring us all together across nations, politics, religions ..if even just for a moment?

Seen from the intellectual point of view, of course it takes more than one dance to bridge years of hurt and suffering - but then again, seeing similarities and creating a sense of unity in any way possible is the best of beginnings...

Visual culture - Seoul-based website nativegaze.com

Just got word that fellow Korean European adoptee has launched a website Native Gaze for Korean contemporary artists - bilangual Korean/English. This is gooood news!

It reminded me of the exhibition in Copenhagen at Art Hall Charlottenborg, "Seoul: Until NOW!" in the summer of 2005 which represented 26 contemporary Seoul artist.

Several artists caught my attention - but especially two presented works that still linger in my memory:

One is the artist group YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES who uses Flash animations with cool Parisian Saint Germain inspired jazzy tunes to give rythm and drive to their rather controversial statements of critique, which challenge and provoke the Korean society.

Here's a 'taster' "Samsung means to come".

The other art work The Swing (2000) by Kim Youngjin still resonates in my mind as one of the strongest women's portrait and arts documentaries of Korean culture, that I have experienced.

Here's a short interview with Kim Young-Jin on the theme of The Swing from Fukuoka Asian Art Museum.

Since the art work hasn't been easy to find on the internet .. I'll just give a description..

As a viewer I entered the room and found my self amidst four projections on each wall of a video take of a girl, a young woman, a mother and a grand mother, all women sitting on a similar looking swing. They smile, speak out and sing at the same time and the video projector is placed on a swing which is empty and placed in the middle of the room thus making the video images of the women move up and down, like a swing, on each four walls. Mesmerizing.

I still recall the grandmother singing in a voice, conveying ageless wisdom and a face marked by life in all it's wildness and beauty.

(I just found a picture I have from the exhibition)

Other great artists represented were:
Chang Jia
Cho Duck Hyun
Choi Jeong-Hwa
Chung Seoyoung
Emil Goh
Gwon O-Sang
Ham Kyungah
Jung Yeondoo
Kim Beom
Kim Sora
Kim Youngjin
Lee SooKyung
Nam Zie
Noh Sang-Kyoon
Oh Inhwan
Park Chan-Kyong
Park June Bum
Park MeeNa
Park Yong-Seok
Rhii Jewyo
Jin Mi-Hyun
Kan Sung-Eun
Thisisnotaloveletter cur. Choi Binna
Yoo Hyunmi

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fashion art.. - or 'artsy' visual representation of "The Korean"?

Admitted, I marvel at these photo compositions for Vogue Korea Oct 07 - but.. eerhh, what's with the hair cut and eeerhh.. why do these young women lift up their hanbok skirts with all the connotations implied?

Well, it's probabably part of the cultural heritage trend among the Hallyu produced TV-dramas and movies build on historical events, thus reconstructing and romanticizing the Korean heritage. It's rubbed off on the fashion photos.

P.S. I think these hanboks look similar to the ones I adored in Insadong (the shopping mall with the open yard in the middle and the inside "snail-walk" at the beginning of Insadong street (metro Apkujong). You can find the shop about 2/3 way on the way up - but be warned it's filled with highly expensive and very pastel hanboks of nature silk etc.

P.P.S. The hair cut however, I haven't got a clue where to get that! Paris perhaps! ;)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Beauty ideals in US and Europe leaning towards Asia - the rising of a New Orientalisme?

According to this article in Chosun Ilbo - Ford Supermodels chose a Korean winner for their World model, a title that comes along with US$250,000 plus a contract with Ford Supermodel for the coming 3 years.

First, congratulations to Kang Seung-hyun! who as the virtous Korean daughter hands over all the prize money to her parents.

However, the choice of this years Supermodel just makes me consider 2 issues:

1. It's all about the money, honey!
Is this to be seen as a sign that Europe and US, i.e. Western beauty ideals, are starting to acknowledge Asian features as beautiful ? (or is it rather that this new supermodel will be able to sell products to the growing segment of Asian power shoppers around the world..?)

2. Plastic fantastic!
Koreans' extended use of and acceptance of plastic surgery as a 'natural' means to attain European features = the 'right' kind of beauty - clashes against the tendency in Europe to find a 'new look', a new edgy and exotic yet stereotyped beauty ideal to stir the market.. thus now looking towards Asia and South Korea.

US media even call her "the pearl of the Orient" - need a glass of water to go with that..?!

Well, like I said, just something to consider ;)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Presenting the famous kimchi á lá Mee Rim

After lots of blog posts with food for the mind - here comes one with food for the stomach ^-^ another post about kimchi.

Making the Korean national dish of kimchi and on top of that, making it at Mee Rim's place is a delightful experience for the senses.

As we chit-chat and prepare the raddish, the cabbage, the garlic and ginger etc. aromas fill the room with a gush of freshly salted and washed cabbages, which blend with the pungent aroma of garlic and ginger - and when chilli is added to the mix and the shredded radishes are tossed and turned with this paste, magic takes place and turns the ingredients into a delicious and perfect red filling to put into the cabbages.

mmmm... kimchi's the perfect sidedish in winter time, because of the chilli and ginger that warms you up - and it's perfect in the summer time, because it provides a delicious spark of freshness amongst the humidity of Seoul - whenever is kimchi not a perfect sidedish :) even had it with the traditional Danish (veggie) Christmas dinner, where it proved as a fantastic company to the red cabbage and the sugar brown potatoes.

And here is.. the secret of Mee Rim's kimchi - for your eyes only :) (and for those who read hangul only ^_^)

Leave a comment and a mailadress and I'll translate!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Eloquently spoken! Harlow's Monkey

Just read Harlow's Monkey's post on Kimchi Mama's - 'n I have to share part of her post since she has a way with words!

(...)"Some of the best adoptive parents I've met have very, very modest means. They don't have the cleanest houses, the wooden play set in the back yard, or a nice minivan with sliding side doors. Their living quarters are cramped, cluttered and chaotic. And they're perfect for parenting kids whose lives have been messy emotionally and mentally. They don't expect their adopted children to be some perfect living doll up on a shelf. They know their kids will be messy for years to come. And instead of being upset that these kids don't live up to their expectations, they'll be right there in the mess with them.

There is just no way to predict how prospective adoptive parents are going to be as real-time parents after the finalization occurs. Just as there's no way to really predict how the children are going to be. We've all heard the horror stories of the children who seem like quiet little angels and once home turn into abusive, antisocial, reactive-attachment-disordered hellions. This is why prospective adoptive families must do their homework. It's just not going to be excusable to be naive any more. Too many people are getting hurt.

So what does an adoptive parent do if they feel they were wronged by adoption and their child turned out not to be the lovely little doll promised by the agency? Good thing there's this guy. He'll help you get your justice - even after 40 years, it's not too late to take action against a wrongful adoption.

Of course, what recourse does the child have, if she was unlucky enough to have parents who misled her into believing that they would be her "forever family?" Ah, she'll just get relegated as a "bitter" adoptee."

Happy 2008 New Year of the Rat

Chosun Ilbo
welcomes the year of the Rat with a short article.

It seems that 2008 will be a good year for new beginnings, since - according to Chinese and Korean astrology - the Rat is the first animal of the Zodiac and thus represent new beginnings, clever thinking and an ability to overcome even difficult situations.

I've personally experienced that 2007 made room for new insights that were not always pleasant but always necessary.

Some very special experiences from the past year, include: IKAA Gathering, Korean adoptees network, socializing and being part of Koreaklubben, continuing learning Korean traditional music, being on KBS and almost finding my father, being part of Edison Theater's integration project, C:ntact, that recieved the Integration Prize from the Danish Government and meeting and teaching kids from a Muslim background and singing with long time friends.

Summing up on some of the earlier years include:
- 8 years of working with deaf children, sign language, children with difficulties in learning, socially challenged

- 10 years of working with holistic and creative learning methods with children in Denmark and other countries within Europe

- working in the media field at governmental level

- working in network and knowledge hubs under EU Safer Internet Programme with people from 23 countries, coordinating and establishing projects for kids and schools, teachers and parents

- working in NGO's with humanitarian projects

- travelled Slovenia, Holland, France, the Tzech republic, Korea, India, Italy - and lots of other places

- re-discovered the adoption issues - personally and at international level, becoming and expanding the identity of being part of an international network society of Korean adoptees

- working on a project at a national theater with integration and communication

- working with teaching and culture projects at schools with Muslim children

As I look at my brief summing up of my activities the past 8-10 years, I am happy and have learned from all the people and experiences I've had, but I also wonder - and here's where it's hopefully becoming interesting!

'cause I'm wondering why there are things and people missing from the list! where are the people and the experiences that I wish for to be in my life.. so 2008 will be a time to expand the list with people and places and personal goals that I have nurtured all my life (actually - yes)

So, my personal wish is that I'll find the clarity and courage to "go get what I really want" this year - or to take steps towards making it happen :)

wouv - this year of the Rat seems to be working already even though it's not really new year 2008 until February ^_^

May you all be happy!