Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The crunch

Phoebe pointed out this display on the way to lunch - I visited her new space since she's moved her office south of the river to shift gears w/Andante. Her curator was there, and she called a photog friend over who had gone to my alma mater in Chicago in the 90s. Phoebe was talking about how as she gets older, her ideas and passion to execute them has ramped up, but her physical self can't keep up w/that energy. We had a good talk about being a female artist, about the labor (she calls it deep-blue collar work), and how we are super good at some things but then total idiots in other regards (in ways that other people can't even fathom).

Then I headed over to my Korean tutor's school to say goodbye. It was so nice to sit down and tell her about my latest exploits and get some good advice from her. She really was the anchor for me during my research year, and the best teacher ever. I can tell how the fruits of her labor, and mine, will take years to unfold. Which is nice; that kind of delayed gratification is the best.

I then rode 3 subway lines to get to a huge downtown bookstore where I browsed for gifts, supplies, and finally found a non-shrink-wrapped version of this gorgeous book on Korean art (scroll down for pic of cover and author Kang Woo Bang). He has done AMAZING research on this whole idea of how "gi" (chi, spirit, etc.) was depicted throughout Korean history in its artwork - paintings, ceramics, metalwork, architecture, religious objects, etc. - through specific iconography that many historians overlooked. If it wasn't so HUGE, I would have bought it. After that delicious sit-down-w/a-book time, I found a bench and did some weaving.

A couple hours later, I met Bo Kyung so that she could finally introduce me to Professor Kim at Koomin University who has been leading a project supported by the Ministry of Culture to visit all the remaining hanji mills, get a sense of what is being produced, making standards, and hopefully opening a place in Seoul that is accessible for the lay person to come and experience making it while learning about its history and such. It was SO GREAT to meet, b/c he's right on about what needs to be done, and has the energy and resources to do it. I'll end up helping w/English things and possibly coming back to help out if the facility really happens. I think that anyone who really has a sense of what the state of hanji is now knows exactly what needs to be done to keep it alive in a sustainable way. So it's just a matter of getting the team assembled.

We had more amazing raw fish, though I couldn't believe I was having 회 two days in a row, after having it once last week as well. Ben didn't help when he said maybe I'm feeling super out of it lately b/c of high mercury levels. But I'm actually almost too tired to worry!

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