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Where I am My Own Other, Where My Mother is Me


Where I am My Own Other, Where My Mother is Me, collaboration w/Young Joon Kwak, 2017. Duration: 15 minutes, 3 seconds.

Videography: Abigail Collins, Jacinto Astiazarán; Sounds: Jeepneys & Whiteboy Scream, Corazon Del Sol & Barbara T. Smith, Marvin Astorga; [Dog Rock] sculpture: Corazon Del Sol. Contains footage from Mutant Salon’s Festival De Las Muertas (2016), Hammer Museum.


Young Joon Kwak + Kim Ye
Where I Am My Own Other, Where My Mother Is Me

by David Evans Frantz

A collaboration between artists Young Joon Kwak and Kim Ye, the video Where I Am My Own Other, Where My Mother Is Me (2017) complicates the tension between the psychological interior and exterior, performative action and documentation, fantasy and trauma, and the narrativization of gender transition. The video oscillates between footage of a performance the duo presented late last year and lushly seductive, dream-like breaks that recreate the actions performed in the prior presentation.

In the performance Kim, whose history as a professional dominatrix involves fulfilling individual fantasies through role-play scenarios, embodied a Mommy to Young, who took on the persona of her young daughter, through much of the performance embodying an infant (I will call her Baby). Part of a performance festival organized by Young’s collaborative project Mutant Salon at the Hammer Museum, in the performance Mommy berates, torments, pokes and prods, and humiliates Baby, what can be described as perhaps a hardcore Mommy Dearest-style tough love. Mommy teaches Baby to wear makeup; Baby wears high heels; Mommy instructs Baby on how to use sanitary pads; Mommy forces Baby to serve and eat cake (chastising her for eating too much and becoming fat); Mommy instructs Baby on how to work a pole and wave like a pageant queen. Tapping into the clichéd and damaging conceptions of femininity and womanhood, the give and take between Mommy and Baby’s dom/sub positionality, the hallmarks of role-play, complicate distinctions between trauma and fantasy, and gender roles and expectations.

Over the two hour duration of the performance, Mommy leads Baby through various spaces of the museum while interacting with visitors, beginning in the darkened space of Mutant Salon’s dizzying installation but progressing onto the courtyard stage, down through the Museum’s corporate marble lobby, and eventually out onto the sidewalk in Westwood along Wilshire Boulevard. The documentation of the performance is at times rough as the cameraperson negotiates the spaces of action, spectators, and the move from location to location, registering the progressive transition from interior space to an increasingly harsh light of the street. At the video’s conclusion, Baby is covered in makeup and cake waving at cars as they pass by and spectators pass in and out of the camera’s frame.

Responding to the original performance, Kwak and Ye’s video weaves the original footage with vignettes shot in the studio reenacting scenarios of the prior iteration often as close-up presenting the body in fragmented parts. These sequences are dreamy, seductive, and sensual—a kaleidoscope presentation of messy corporeality and plasticized materiality in stunning fluorescents (characteristic of other projects by Young). These perhaps introspective scenes might be best characterized as a visualization of Baby’s sub-space, the internalized psychological otherwhere of the submissive partner in a dom/sub role-play. Where the documentary footage is palpably past (this already occurred), the added sequences are notably of another temporality, perhaps not future but certainly somewhere other, possibly of undetermined interiority. At times, audio-recordings from the prior performance are presented over the newly shot sequences, a disjunctive meeting that upends the apprehension of linear time. These sequences are at times slow and glutinous, while at other moments are fast and frenetic, and often focus fetishistically on a particular object from the prior performance: heels, cake, handcuffs. While these segments reiterate the mother-daughter relationship previously established, the tone is subtly different. In one instance, slow pans over Ye’s face showing her wincing are intercut with her harshly reprimanding Baby who is handcuffed to a street light pole, pointing to the oscillation of multiple affects between mother and daughter engendered by the performance and video.

Through its layering of different audio and visual recordings, Where I Am My Own Other, Where My Mother Is Me blurs distinctions between the event, its documentation, and its reception both by the viewer and within the participant. In its reiteration of a mother-daughter script through the lens of sub/dom role-play, the performance also proposes alternate genealogies for genderfuckery and transness within a queer and feminist lens. As Kwak explained, the intention of the performance was to be a two-hour initiation by Ye into the process (including the perils and possibilities) of becoming a woman. As LGBT identity categories have become increasingly fixed and part of an increasing liberal order of commodity capitalism, Kwak and Ye’s collaboration ruminates on the messy relations between gender performance and temporality of performance through documentation.

Untitled (Owl Experiment #101)

mothertongues is Meital Yaniv & Kim Ye.

Through collaboration, mothertongues creates a sphere of authorization to exercise communal frustrations, aspirations and fears using our bodies as objects of resistance. Like jazz musicians, we employ a call and response technique to augment one another’s intuitive decisions in the performing, filming, and editing process. Tears, laughter, joy, pain, vulnerability, and bravery co-mingle through mental and physical interpersonal explorations. As amatuer scientists, we run experiments of desire on ourselves and each other, observing and documenting the chemical reactions that occur between elements. In recording our findings as specifically and subjectively as possible, we create a fiction that speaks the truth.


Untitled (Owl Experiment #101), single-channel video by mothertongues, 2017. Duration: 5 minutes 46 seconds


Untitled (Owl experiment #101), is a 5 minute 46 second a single-channel video in which the artists abstract their bodies through obfuscation and costume exchange to explore the physics of pleasure through a DIY purple vibrating owl. Set in a blank space outfitted with only a bench and wrestling mat, the artists position their bodies in different configurations, tetrising themselves and their desires in an attempt to reach a transcendent place of mutual pleasure. In this mundane space, bodies cultivate intimacy on their own, placing themselves outside of both romantic and pornographic contexts. In contrast to popular queer representation, the viewer’s pleasure is set aside in lieu of a more honest expression of pleasure and climax.

The purple owl used in this performance is deconstructed in front of the camera, exposing its construction and transformation as a custom, handmade tool. Independent of the video, the purple owl is a relic that represents the fantasy of total individual fulfillment while being in connection with another. Through a process of bricolage involving pieces of pre-existing sex toys–i.e. vibrating bullet and fleshlight–encased by a children’s balloon, the new creation informes the bodies on how to interact and move with one another.

Shared Value: An Open Letter

 

The following open letter was published and distributed from July until September, 2016:

Dear Artist,

Money is slippery; it can be everything without being anything. It seeps into your life and dissipates into a smattering of goods—vanishing without any record of where it came or went. It is decidedly non-specific.

Your work is specific—valuable in a way that is unique and inseparable from its material state. Every mark an index of a choice you once made, a motion you executed with your body. You trade your work for money. But would you trade it for something as specific as your work? Perhaps an experience created and curated just for you, one that lives inside you going forward?

Ask yourself what kind of experience you would want to have in order to part with your work. It could be as explicit and as expansive as the art you create; studied but spontaneous, complex but generous, mysterious and hiding in plain sight. This experience, like your work, could give you freedom within a structure–lovingly coercing those who slide down its rabbit hole into a space of playful disorientation and discovery.

From the vanilla to the extreme, I propose a trade that is somewhat unorthodox. I propose to trade your creativity, your energy, your expression, for mine. Exchange a piece of your work for an experience in fantasy fulfillment with a seasoned professional roleplayer. The tone of the scene can be friendly, seductive, aloof, and/or nasty—the choice is up to you. This is simply an invitation to discuss further the possibilities that exist between us as artists seeking different forms of exchange outside capitalist systems…can we find shared value through uncommon currencies?

If you are interested in taking part in this project, please get in touch via link below. Know that everything we discuss stays between the two of us—discretion is assured. If you prefer to email directly, please include in your correspondence a bit about yourself, link(s) to your work, and a general idea of what you think you’d like for us to explore together (if you know).

Once received, I will send you a confirmation with further instructions for the next step, and we’ll go from there.

Until then,

K

Artist Response Form @ http://tiny.cc/sharedvalue

or email direct @ kimsu.ye [at] gmail

Los Angeles exchanges occurred through the duration of Shared Value at Visitor Welcome Center. Exchanged pieces were added to the exhibition through the closing on September 3rd, 2016.

Some mentions:

Hyperallergic: ArtRx LA | 7/26/16

W Magazine: Best Alternative Art Galleries in LA | 7/22/16

Be the Cult Leader You Wish to Follow

 

This workshop for artists is designed to teach the cultural producer how to
BYD: BUILD YOUR DREAM

Learn what artists have in common with cult leaders and use their tips & tricks to cultivate a following! Stop self-sabotaging and start to BYD today. Protégés will learn (and be subject to) brainwashing techniques, aesthetic overhauls, manipulating group dynamics, and harnessing the awesome power of one’s own neuroses! This workshop will require your physical involvement in art making, writing, public speaking, improvisation, public humiliation, group critique, group movement, and so much more!

Past Performances:

Pomona College | 10/4/2016
Machine Project | 7/14/2016

Art Scene II


Art Scene II, performance with Christine Wang, 2016. Duration: 23 minutes

Dominate Yourself

DOMINATE YOURSELF, is a program composed of 1-hour sessions designed to bring you face to face with the worst you have to offer. Part artist talk, part group exercise class, part D/s sermon, this participatory performance is an experiment in using physical education to transcend traditional notions of self.

As a participant, you are expected be punctual and to wear something easy to move in so that you can properly surrender to forces greater than yourself. Come prepared to delve through your personal baggage so that together, we can conquer insecurities, internalize reality’s inherent contradictions, and come out the other side stronger than ever imagined!


Dominate Yourself, promotional video for participatory performance, 2015. Duration: 3 minutes 38 seconds

Art Scene


Art Scene, performance with Christine Wang, 2015. Duration: 23 minutes

Black Noise

Black Noise is a durational performance created by Kim Ye.

The work was performed for the first time by Pomona College art students in 2014 who worked in cooperation with the artist. Below is an excerpt from an email sent to the students in preparation for the performance:

Introduction:

The task of this performance is to generate & embody new relational possibilities between human-beings and non-human-beings. But in order to start our exploration we first need to examine the non-human-beings in our immediate surroundings (i.e. furniture in your dorm room, orientation of a classroom, layout of the cafeteria, dimensions of different areas within your car) and describe how they require our bodies to arrange themselves. Think about how architecture, furniture, and appliances train our bodies to behave over time…I want to ask, why can’t one lay across all the tops of desks in class? Or do research while stretching out on the floor of the library?  Or drive a car on your tummy? 

The objects we surround ourselves with both enable us and restrain us. What is the new Broad art building if not a container for the creative cultural impulses of this community? There is nothing inevitable about the structures that surround us, so rather than take them for granted, it’s time to treat them as active collaborators.

This performance is not a critique; it is an expansion upon how humans can relate to their immediate environment.  Throughout history we as humans have projected our experience of the world onto inanimate objects (in religious, ritualistic, domestic, and other contexts).  In working through this performance together, I hope to put the emphasis on bringing us humans towards the non-human experience, to allow the building to help us experience the world through thingness. Who knows what we’ve been missing out on…? 

Assignment: 

Take 3 short videos (Vine-length is fine) of you mis-using a piece of furniture or architecture. I don’t mean mis-using necessarily in a destructive “using it poorly” way–I mean that it should be an action or gesture that one would not usually associate with the item at hand.  The item or sites you choose to interact with should be something you see or use on a day-to-day basis. You can tweet or email me the best one, but be ready to share all three in class. Here’s some inspiration if you need some:  http://www.seenox.com/2014/04/18/stucked-pets-dogs-cats/

29/single/Online now!

 


29/single/Online now! (preview), Single-channel video, 8 minutes, 2014

Close-up POV shots of various men—their limbs, torsos, hands, and groins—as they sit, lounge, and lay in various states of undress; 29/single/Online now! unfolds like a guided tour of the male body through the lens of desire. These intimate images are strung together by an omnipotent female voice that is genuine yet stylized, natural yet produced. Alternately seductive and withholding, playful and demanding, vulnerable and invincible; it reflects reality by weaving a fiction.  If She were a predator, this would be Her bait…

Dyad

Dyad, Single-channel video, 8 minutes 39 seconds, 2012

Around the Dinner Table

Around the Dinner Table functions as an installation for collective performance.
The above documentation is taken from a performance at the Getty Center in October of 2011.

HOW IT WORKS:

A banquet table is stocked with an abundance of food. There is a single chair at the table. A camera faces the chair. Behind the camera is a large projection screen.  A looped video plays: close-ups of mouths chewing and full of food. Below the camera, there is a sign: This food is free but please sit in the chair at the table as you eat. As one sits down in the chair, the looped video is replaced by the camera’s live stream. One eats while facing her own magnified projection. As one rises from the chair, the looped video resumes playing.

Los Angeles Road Concerts

Los Angeles Road Concerts
September 18, 2011
Los Angeles Road Concerts presents a showing of site-specific projects from over 100 Los Angeles artists in unused public outdoor spaces along the entire length of Sunset Boulevard’s 24 miles, from Downtown to the Pacific Ocean. For one day, artists will perform works, display installations, facilitate car pool happenings and make music in public spaces such as sidewalks, traffic islands, parking lots, as well as inside the audience’s cars as they traverse one of LA’s most iconic boulevards.

featuring Rest Area
by Kim Ye and Christine Wang

Two identical Toyota Sienna minivans are parked directly across the street from each other at either ends of a pedestrian crosswalk. Both side doors are open on the vans, this creates a tunnel that pedestrians must pass through in order to cross the street. Inside of the vans there will be music, air-conditioning, and refreshments offered to the pedestrians. Through the creation of a temporary shared oasis at the boundary between sidewalk and street, we hope to propose an alternative function for the automobile, while simultaneously modifying the bodily experience of the pedestrian.