16th October, afternoon. London Heathrow Airport
Waiting for the shuttle bus to the London from Heathrow Airport. The plan was to stay here for
ten days, to participate workshop at Tate Modern. Turned on my mobile phone, which had been turned off during the flight and checked my emails and messages in Seoul. Managed to recieve an email to Taey, whom I had arranged to meet, to inform her of the meeting place and time.
5pm, Shoreditch in East London. While in the process of writing my memos, the shuttle bus arrived. Left the boarding area quickly, and checked the remaining emails and messages, while comfortably seated in the bus that would soon leave for the city. Upon realising that it was the wee hours in Seoul, immediately stopped sending out my replies and shifted my glace towards the window. At the same time, it dawned on me that the people whom I know were already fast asleep, thousands of miles away. Took out my trip itinerary and while checking through it, the bus arrived at the hotel. After checking in, had a simple meal near the hotel and soon returned to my room.
Falling asleep, the point of fractious exchange between wakefulness here and wakefulness elsewhere. And at sleep, a sudden expanse of elsewhere.
In my room at a hotel in London
3 AM. Woke up from a text message from Seoul. Sleepless since then.
7th November, afternoon.
Taey’s studio in Geumcheon Art Space, Seoul.
Visited Taey’s studio to continue conversation from London. Talked about artwork and art writings from artists, women’s writing as art. Taey afterwards showed her new photographs that she made after
her arrival in Seoul. A connection project of beds scattered in the city with two women, and previous work of Sleepwalkers dealt with Mary Wollstonecraft and secret conversations of Hyeseock Na. Photographs taken in Seoul felt extremely different in comparison to ones from London, despite its similar theme, which was quite exotic and dreamy. Beds
in Seoul present overly desolate and rough scenery, unwanted and lost places. Though no one is on the beds, traces on bedding suggest by-goners some time ago, implying a ‘home’ for ‘homeless’ at night.
Saw other photographs of an Australian male couple who stayed in the residency. Discussed about if the narrative was too restricted to their sexuality. The couple can’t stay in their homeland due to political reasons at the moment. Taey thought that homeless and diaspora-like situation let the couple regard each other both as a home and nation. Debated whether this kind of relationship would be possible, leaving an open end to a writing project.
Same night. In my room.
Suffered from insomnia since last week. Sleepless nights after schedules in London, Beijing. Presumably because of jet lag and strange atmosphere, editing
due papers at nights. In pursuit of common feature
in Haegue Yang and French author Marguerite
Duras, specifically ‘home’ and ‘homeless’ in écriture féminine.
“Yang points Duras’s colonial migration to France
as “a journey to seek a new home after losing one”, summarising her outlook as existence and non- existence of ‘home’, also comparing the concept of ‘nomadic’. For Duras a home represents both family and motherland; while Yang enriches the former to kitchen or home appliances and the latter to ‘homeless’ via nomad or diaspora......”
While reading the last scene of Duras’s L’Amant it suddenly hit me that I read it a long while ago. Read it on the bed.
“After taking a breath he said that his love remains like before. That he still loves her and this would never come to an end. That he would only love her until the death apart.”
In her unfortunate youth in the colony, the only haven was her Chinese lover. Not until in the boat to France after separation did she recognise the relationship was love. After 20 years of separation and some love and divorces she debuted as an author. Her ex-lover visited Paris and confessed his everlasting love. Felt all the more keenly that this was the end of the novel with her answer unheard. Assumed that, though his confession was for her, Duras may have ended the novel in order to share this feeling over a telephone receiver with many readers. And finally I realised for the first time since I first read it, that I was one of them. I also realised that night that I had wanted my relationship with my lover at the time, with whom I have parted ways, to end like that of Duras and her lover.
20th November, evening. Geumcheon Art Space, Seoul.
Went to Geumcheon Art Space again to see Taey’s Flux of Sleeping I at the exhibition, ‘Here, There and Everywhere: The Reaction of Art to Urban Life’. Different from former photograph work that I saw, which dealt with the narrative of ‘sleep’, ‘sleepless’, ‘home’, and ‘homeless’ on one bed, the performance took place on 7 beds in somewhat roughly-built warehouse. Dark but sheltered bedspaces with lights bulbs. Comfortable and innermost bedtime deeds, soft notes similar to the night air. Clamorous delights and innermost feelings with someone; nocturnal puzzle- like memories on beds which we all might have went through.
The screen behind the bed shows floating beds under the title of The Community of Proximate Sleep. Taey projects a space of ‘home (apartments)’ where the bed should have placed. Instead, beds passing a ‘home’ over to ‘homeless’ in the end. Beds in Taey’s photo work turned into a new ‘home’ for the homeless
after leaving a ‘home’. Though in dreary and derelict space, beds become the coziest spot to sleep on for the homeless. Beds in the screen leisurely floated
though the border of ‘home’ and ‘homeless’, reaching performance zone.
Thinking of Yang, Duras and the writing which linked the two. Who dreamed of a community-space-like writing, crossing over and violating dichotomous thinking, blending disparate style. Duras’s ‘home’ was a ‘tri-community’ with Robert Antelme, a husband and colleague, Dionys Mascolo, a lover and colleague as well, representing a peculiar combination of a relationship that doesn’t seem to be in the same dimension of her life and philosophy. As either ‘3’
or ‘triangle’, Yang interprets Duras’s tri-community, reaching beyond the dichotomy with experimental ways. The two took ‘kitchen’ as parameter for tri- zone or ‘home’ for the homeless, while Taey’s ‘bed’ and ‘bedroom’, as a sleeping community, embrace the homelessand diaspora. This sisterhood is both everyone’s’ common memory of nights and the most comfortable and private place in Taey’s photo work whose author is homeless and migrant as well. The meaning is a resting and relieving area for those whom can’t sleep well. The performance comes to an end with lights going out, staring at a couple by performers who dressed up as a woman.
On my way home in the car.
On my way home. Heavy traffic clogged the car about ten minutes. Drew out the cell phone and checked text messages. Re-read ones sent around ten days ago, only to discover no answers yet.
Thinking of a couple from the performance. Night times of being a comfortable home to each other through sleep. I have memories of building a home, by stacking those puzzle pieces on top of each other, one by one; that place of our own, to which I can't return again. I slowly realised that my insomnia
has been caused by an empty space, which held
lost fragments of memories from that house, which used to offer homely sleep. My ex-lover: once-my- sheltered house. Hard times admitting the crumbled house. The text message received in London; a sign of his non-existence. No way to go back to his home anymore. No callings to a lover like L’Amant by Duras. Cannot but admit his absence, not to be in insomnia, sitting by the bed.
Independent curator Yusin Jeon’s ‘3’ is a piece of experimental writing, taking form as a collection of memos from her everyday life and the thoughts behind them, written in calmer language.
She has been focused on critical writing recently, so for her to engage in art writing is to experiment on the critical tone she normally uses in her writing. Jeon has had great in- terest in women’s writing (Écriture féminine), and we have been discussing the limits of this subject within the Korean art scene.
The matter of women’s writing is not yet fully explored; it has been perceived to be subsumed in the discussion of feminism. Jeon focuses on a third energy that creates an in-between space. We may want to create beyond the dichotomies of the world that we live in: between black and white, men and women, right and left.