The project The Deeper, The Further... focuses on a personal experience — both the memories and the anticipation of wandering the city, Seoul — and brings it into a site-specific installation, a manifestation of a sinkhole in particular. Walking through installations that are running through a whole building expands my upbringing in Korea to New York, from past to present. It is both introspective and revealing.
As viewers walk around a building, they encounter bizarre illusions that appear to recede into vacant space. Each experience should be disturbing. As if they are witnessing a bridge disappearing before their eyes. Is something going wrong? What has happened?
In my piece The Deeper, The Further..., I wanted to create a manifestation of sinkholes that reflects a visual memoir. Sinkholes represent an actual incident that happened in my hometown. It wears away the surface of the ground and the hole swallows up the natural and the man-made so that it sinks into oblivion, leaving a giant imprint on the earth. During a massive construction in my hometown, Seoul, South Korea, several sinkholes were found.
There is a moment when people discover a crack through which they take a moment to think about it. A crack on a wall or a ground reminds me of an opening or a hole. I see cracks and holes as imperfection.
Holes are definitely visible and exist in the space, but they are also non- existent. I wanted to transfer this idea into my work to invite the viewers into my thoughts and evoke some sort of discomfort. Holes are empty and mysterious - never solid, secure or concrete.
After moving to New York and being away from my home, there have been times when my beliefs and thoughts were questioned. When I thought a cavity was patched up, another leaked through the other side. I focused on this psychological concept of the sinkhole.
Sigmund Freud once said, "The uncanny is familiar, yet incongruous." By bringing the visual incidents from my hometown to New York, particularly in a school building where I spend most of the time working, I invested myself in my own project, which is both introspective and revealing. There are five floors in the school building. On each floor, these peculiar holes make unexpected appearances and follow where the gaze always meets. And the ubiquitous holes allow the viewers to take on a journey through a floor map. Visitors are required to travel the entire building. While walking around, they interact with each work independently. At the end of the journey, the visitor arrives to my studio, where five layers of a blueprint of the school building are seen, hanging from the ceiling. They hover in the space, and act like a portal to other dimensions.
With a row of screens suspended in the air, they have an architectural approach. The information of names and numbers printed screens are faded, and what can be clearly seen are subtle lines. The viewer is allowed to walk between the screen and pass through until they discover a light box on the last screen layer.
This unexpected experience remains in the mind of the viewer. Like a blank floor plan, the virtual holes attached to the ceiling and to the floor make no connection to the sinkholes running through the building. However, each memory that the viewer collected through the search of holes in the entire building adds up and has a connection.
Through the journey of finding the traces of sinkholes, the experience builds up strength and resilience, like anesthetic takes over grief. Like grieving at a funeral,
a ritual that is a full of passage before moving on. Deep in my thoughts, I wanted to count on people, hoping that they would find the connection and realize what I wanted to talk about. The whole (hole) experience comes alive as the journey goes on. The deeper, the further... The deeper, the further ...