in the Buffalo Visitors Center at the Market Arcade Complex
"It may be argued that the past is a country from which we have all emigrated, that its loss is part of our common humanity. Which seems to me self-evidently true; but I suggest that the writer who is out-of-country and even out-of-language may experience this loss in an intensified form. It is made more concrete for him by the physical fact of discontinuity, of his present being in a different place from his past, of his being 'elsewhere.'"
- Salman Rushdie
The experience of migration has a way of "intensifying" memory because the act of remembering brings back the past. After spending some years in America and embracing everything that was American, I was becoming aware of loss of the past and realized that my "being elsewhere" should coexist with my past. I am a Korean-American, the hyphenated identity that is neither Korean nor American. This experience of gain and loss provided a basis for Attachment/Detachment, an installation that combines dissolving projected texts, transparencies and sculptural objects.
In contrast to the earlier work that represented autobiographical narrative drawn from personal references of displacement in the context of immigration, Attachment/Detachment explores symbolic space, both personal and public, as a metaphor for negotiating cultural differences of East and West. What I may refer to as 'home' is not a concrete thing or place, but rather a psychological space that exists in between two countries, two languages, and two memories. As Yi-Fu Tuan states, "Place is security, space is freedom: we are attached to the one and long for the other." I belong to a place that can provide a space beyond geographical and cultural boundaries.
The geometrical arrangement of two half-round tables in the center and four light boxes in each corner is inspired by the Korean flag and suggests a space that allows constant shifting, reconciliation and transformation. The slide projection in the center silently repeats the various ways we define 'home' in English and Korean while quotes from The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard appear and disappear on the table surface in an attempt to evoke a dualistic balance between absence and presence, center and horizon, inside and outside.
- Outside and inside are both intimate - they are always ready to be reversed, to exchange their hostility. If there exists a border-line surface between such an inside and outside, this surface is painful on both sides.
- Every object invested with intimate space becomes the center of all space. For each object, distance is the present, the horizon exists as much as the center.
- A family's place of residence. One's place of residence. The social unit formed by a family living together. Any place of residence or refuge. A place of birth or origin. A congenial environment. One's own country. A familiar or usual setting. The place or region where something is native or most common. The place in which one's domestic affections are centered.
Young Kim lives and works in San Francisco, CA. She was recently awarded a Gerbode Foundation Grant to produce a solo exhibition at The Friends of Photography, Ansel Adams Center in 1998.
Public Art - Buffalo Visitors Center
Market Arcade Complex
617 Main St. 1st Floor
Buffalo NY 14203