What Is Your Name, in the United States. interview installation

iPad, steel, video in loop. Dec 2022

The video installation, “What is your name, in the United States” gathers the video documentation of interview series that I have done with Simranpreet Anand, Sunhong Kim, and Do Young Kim currently living in the United States but having their cultural roots in India and Korea. They talk about their experiences to introduce their names to others in the United States, coping with a “wrong” pronunciation or contradiction of their names. They confess that they have chosen to be a ghost or antagonist, by hiding their identities to comfort humans or teaching their names not to allow humans to approximate their identities at their convenience. In this way, I invite the powerless, unnamed, and unanchored to prove one’s own ability to do a speech. Aristotle said a being who can do speech is a political animal.

A voice of the Other–stating one’s experiences of being a ghost and antagonist–implies one’s subversive potential in the dominant and concrete politics of language, territories, and representation.  For this reason, their faces are blurred and fluctuate. Such visuals indicate their ontology of being the Other, a figure hard to see clearly but having the possibility to be visible if you understand them.

Throughout this practice, I dream of expanding a loose ally with those feeble existences who are inevitably invisible, actively uncomfortable, or diligently repetitive in their places. Bringing their testimonies is a part of the practice to gather weak, invisible forces to dream of deregulating partitions of a human and not-a-human through communal voices.

Photo by Ben Zink

Interviewee: Do Young, Sunhong, Simranpreet

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