I heard a fly buzz, 2022
- A mouth silently recites Emily Dickinson’s poem, “I heard a fly buzz.” Inspired by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s “Mouth to Mouth” video piece, in which a mouth rehearses the pronunciation of Korean vowels (“broken words”), simulating the beginnings of language in the body.
- A moving concrete poem, in which language is animated on-screen according to the speed and affect of the audio from the first section. The dynamic form of the poem mirrors the shape of the reading rather than the meaning of the words themselves.
A film inspired by Wallace Stevens’ poem, “The Idea of Order at Key West.”
Like Meets Like, 2021
In chanoyu, the (e)valuation of form often occurs in the comparison between objects that are similar. By examining a wide range of “like” objects, chanoyu connoisseurs develop a highly developed sensitivity to the subtle differences in tea objects. This is why Sōtan — Rikyū’s grandson — writes in his tea diary that “the lower part of the jar [Chigusa] swells,” even though when we view Chigusa with untrained eyes, it appears as though the lower part of the jar seems to cave inwards, particularly when compared to the upper part of the jar; only after realizing that Sōtan is describing Chigusa in comparison to other similar large jars does his description make sense. Taking this insight as my point of departure, my first video assemblage, “Like Meets Like,” compares four sets of objects that are categorically similar, but formally different.
The video is divided into four segments: the first compares three flower containers made of different materials and surface textures; the second compares two chashaku through a few simple alterations to the assemblage, meant to demonstrate how switching out a single object for one of a different aesthetic can drastically change the balance of the composition; the third segment compares the smoke of three types of incense; and the fourth compares two different styles of chawan. Each of the first three segments correspond to the sound of water at a different stage in the boiling process. As the video progresses, the sound of the water increases in intensity, in an attempt to emulate the experience of being physical present in the tea room. During the last segment, the sound of boiling water is replaced by the sounds of tea preparation, signaling the shift in attention from decorative objects and tea utensils to the consumption of the tea itself.
Objects Alone and in Concert, 2021
The video opens with a series of panels or windows displaying eight different tea utensils. Each window features a single tea utensil, which I lift and prod with my hands and fingers, as though examining the different features of each object individually. The second half of the video then incorporates nearly all my tea utensils in a “performance” of assemblage, in which I transform the assemblage set on the table by swapping out only one object at a time. Throughout the video, I cycle through many objects, until I finally end with the same assemblage I began with. On the one hand, we may view each of the various assemblages I create in the “performance” individually, and assess the objects within each group independent of other assemblages; these smaller assemblages could be said to stand in for individual tea gatherings. On the other hand, we may also perceive the entire performance as one large assemblage — one that is constantly shifting with the passage of time. I see this larger assemblage as a visualization of tea culture itself — an assemblage of objects whose visual language changes with the evolving tastes of its connoisseurs, but whose function within the chanoyu tradition ultimately remains the same (a chawan remains a chawan in practice, regardless of how drastically its form may change over time).
Realization of Yoko Ono’s “Painting Until it Becomes Marble,” 2020
Princeton In Ishikawa. Kanazawa, Ishikawa, 2019