Sofía Dourron

The Nose, the Princess and a Bowl of Rice. Bits of Decolonization (of the unconscious) in Korean art

The Nose, the Princess and a Bowl of Rice. Bits of Decolonization (of the unconscious) in Korean art

Yun Choi, Rice Brewing Sisters Club, Jane Jin Kaisen November 2019

This essay explores the notion of decolonization of the unconscious in the practice of contemporary Korean artists. According to Brazilian psychologist and cultural critic Suely Rolnik, decolonizing the unconscious means exploring the current traces of the coloniality of power in our daily lives and discovering how to exist outside its borders. From this perspective, the notion of colonization is inherently intertwined with the notion of modernity, like two sides of the same coin that make up the current world system in which we live. For centuries, our unconscious have been shaped by the sheer force of this system, currently in the form of financialized neoliberal regimes. As a result, we witness an exacerbation of the experience of the subject as separated from his living conditions, but more importantly, from the “Other” outside ourselves, whether human or non-human (neighbor, microbe or mountain) who, In turn, allows violence and emotional precariousness to emerge at all levels of human existence. This essay analyzes how artists can address this precariousness, embodied in issues of colonialism, patriarchy, gender, social normativity, and the suffocation of desire, as their own places of enunciation and starting point for decolonization, as opposed to mere objects of observation. The princess, the nose and a plate of rice. Bits of Decoloinzation (of the unconscious) in Korean Art navigates through Jane Jin Kaisen’s work on Korean shamanism as a possible form of feminist resistance, and her formal deconstruction of hegemonic narrative structures in Community of Parting (2019); the exploration of Yun Choi’s identity in a normalizing culture and the possibilities of escaping it using Korean traditions and mass-produced objects such as his tools in Hanaco and Mr. Kimchi, etc. playback (2017); and the use of fermentation and rice wine making as a practice and metaphor for social and individual transformation in the practice of the Rice Brewing Sisters Club collective.

In 2019 MMCA International Research Fellowship Seminar, MMCA, Seoul, 2019.