Thursday, May 31, 2007


I think I'll give this papercut to my brother-in-law's parents; he and my sis are going to Macedonia this summer so I'll get it framed for that. In the meantime, my brain is rotting as I watch Nelly Furtado videos (I could so easily spend all my time watching music videos. Maybe I should have called the guy who left me a note in my brick wall saying he wanted me to do sets for MTV music videos). I swing really hard between being super productive and then being a blob. I finished two more apps and mailed them today. I did an hour of yoga but am already done w/"working out." It's too boring for me. I'd rather lay down and read East to America: Korean American Life Stories by Elaine Kim & Eui-Young Yu (I'm shocked at how much I like it). I'm also avoiding more paper research. I have some really strong leads, but don't want to contact them until I have a more intelligent sounding proposal drafted.

Which leads to a question: should I apply for a regular research grant or apply as an artist? W/the Fulbright, the deal is that w/regular grants, they look first at the proposal and application to see if it's a compelling, feasible project. With artists, they first look at your artwork documentation to see if you're a good artist, and THEN they look at your proposal. I would be pretty annoyed if I worked really hard on a proposal, just to have it never see the light of day. At the same time, would my application really be competitive against art historians or whoever else I'd be judged alongside if I applied as a scholar? Advice, please!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

All off

I tried to do some cardio today and it nearly killed me. Oh, wait, I mean, I nearly killed myself. Too much too fast. It felt horrible afterwards. But then I got through an hour of the ashtanga primary series and felt better. I was foolish enough to go to bed tonight at 7pm but just woke up a little while ago and am feeling frantic. I've gotten some amazing leads on scholars and artists related to Korea and paper, and went to the library today to pick up a load of books on Korean art and culture. I feel so strange doing the research and worry that I don't know what I'm doing, but I figure that's the self-sabotaging part of me talking so I'm just moving along.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Birds in my eyes

I lied: yesterday, before meeting Ching-In for chocolate cream puffs at Beard Papa and then to Chiyono for soba noodles and ladies' dinners w/Gili and Pauly, I wrote a double sestina in two languages (English & French). I finished Don Lee's Country of Origin in a day; I'm a big fan. Finished the Making More Waves anthology last night. One more anthology and I'm done w/Korean American lit for a while!! "Winged Migration" is on in hopes that I would get motivated to finish this last artists' book, but instead I ended up napping.

I've made two decisions: 1. I need to get some p/t work b/c I'm definitely running out of money and 2. I'm going back to Boston next weekend for the Pulp Function opening.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Hologram from Japan

I considered writing a double sestina, and then immediately realized what a bad idea that would be. So, the last knit book will be a regular sestina. I'd write immediately if it wasn't for the heat. Finished the Kori anthology and am starting Don Lee's Country of Origin.

Watermelon OD

I fruit gorged after a looooong day in town. Kiwon and I had a leisurely afternoon on the upper west side, I finally caved and got stinging nettle along w/my regular quercetin for allergies, and Rafff made me walk like a maniac to find a sweet little Japanese place in Gi's neighborhood. My ankle, bad scene. My root canaled tooth, even worse. Korean dentists will always give me ample reasons to hate them. If I have to have this tooth pulled out and a bridge put in, I will become an accessory to murder in real life.

I read this tonight, by Richard E. Kim:
I loved the word "lost" and all the things that it conjures up, especially in English - Paradise Lost. Lost is almost damned, almost sinful. Lost Souls - which was at one point my working title. I like "lost" because it has a lot to do with my sense of my generation....Kind of like I am now. I don't belong.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Accessory to murder

That was my nightmare last night. I was part of a three-day murder plot and was being paid to drive the car and climb hills or something and it was horrible. I was trying to back out by day 2.5 and another paid accessory was trying to keep me on task. Must be residual American Woman processing combined with installation decompressing.

Today's good news: I sharpened my colored pencils (I know this doesn't sound like a big deal, but it is) and made a book out of an old tube top from Ellen (but haven't been able to get good shots of it yet). I'm going to finish a paper cut and an app while I wait for the cable guy. Then I'll do yoga and shower.

I'm getting burned out on all my Korean American literature. It's incredibly depressing. But I'll finish up the 5-6 books I have left, and then dive into reading about Mexico. Yesterday, I drove to the dentist so that he could scoff at my concerns, take an x-ray, and kick me out. I could be a really bad dentist now, I think, just from imitating all the bad ones I've had. And I'm Korean! I also visited an old teacher from high school and may have a studio space for a week in June. Yay.

Monday, May 21, 2007

"You're a misanthrope"

Is what Ching-In said to me last Wednesday on a thunderstormy evening after I tried to hang the wall one way, and then another. This was my first attempt, which I had to change, shot as the sky went black during the moody day. I found it hard to be vulnerable in a public place w/people I didn't know. It's like being in a relationship with someone but having no privacy from the rest of the world. I'm still in post partum and have a strong withdrawal instinct, which is hard when I need at the same time to be supported by and close to people. This is exactly how post performance feels, empty and bereft.

Coping mechanisms: my enormous reading list (I'm on Nora Okja Keller's Fox Girl now), TV, research on Korean paper artists, more apps, food prep, and calling people incessantly. I miss having a studio, and snow.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


I got up early today to meet Jay in Queens before he flew back to Chicago. For once, it was nice to not be traveler. I got mixed up on the subway and was late, but we quickly found a place to eat, my favorite Vietnamese place in NY. After trekking to Astoria briefly, I got to SoHo late b/c of horrible subway service on every line to meet Ching-In at Gili's workplace, and Gili & her friend, too. Ching-In and I fought over which of us will be traveling more in the coming months, and I won: she is. I don't know why she's in denial about it. I'm only going ONE place this summer, and ONE place in the fall. In the meantime, I'm reading a depressing book, Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World's Water, and trying to get off mailing lists to reduce paper waste. Ching-In and I walked to Poet's House so she could do research. I pulled out a volume of Basho haikus and promptly fell asleep on the book. When I woke up, I opened it to see which poem would catch my eye first:


As Kyoriku sets off on the Kiso Road

emulate the heart
of a wayfarer:
pasania blossoms

Friday, May 18, 2007

Vast technology improvements

This is a close up of the brilliant rigging that Steve, a docent at the museum, volunteer, retired rabbi, and the best assistant I could ask for, engineered. He drove me to Lowe's on Day 1 for PVC piping and couplers. Remember the ghetto fabulous cardboard that I glued and painted last year? This is like version 10.4, and that was worse than Classic. Anyhow, the idea was to drill holes at the ends of the pipe for wire that would then be strung taut to mimic the curve I wanted, and then wired into the stable ceiling beams at the Fuller Craft Museum, a beautiful place with a dynamite team. I was impressed. You know a place is good when the board, staff, and volunteers are all committed and reliable.

Day 1 was a little slow, just getting to know the site and the people and trying to fathom how this piece would fit the space. But Sue, the preparator, said that the rigging was a lot to get done for the day. Besides, I was so exhausted from traveling and not sleeping enough (I had to get up at 6:30am), that if I tried hanging on the first day, I probably would have fallen out of the Genie. That contraption made installation A MILLION TIMES EASIER. It's so nice to just press a green button and then suddenly be 18 feet in the air.

Jessie, the exhibitions manager and my keeper (she was generous enough to drive me to the museum every morning from her place in Boston), drove us to Lowe's after work, and then to Dick's Sporting Goods. I learned that 1. Lowe's does not carry monofilament (this baffles me), and 2. Fishing videos sound like porn (I was running down aisles looking for the fishing line, and wondering what all the heavy breathing and grunting was all about: oh, just the video at Dick's). Back in Cambridge, where a generous friend of a friend was putting me up, I walked to Central Square to get groceries and called Tam for more talking down.

Day 2 was nice and quiet b/c everyone was working on the amazing, gorgeous Robert Brady show (wood sculptures) in another gallery. But I had a huge crisis of faith as I got further into the hang, since I was trying to extend the tower four feet. I knew I wanted it to be open, and have "missing" parts, but I had imagined it differently. I didn't have the extra bricks that went on the inside walls (they're still living under Tam in Chicago and I spent too much time kicking myself for not shipping them. But then I recalled how expensive a crate THAT size would have been). So I left in some despair, though Sue talked me down before I left. Jessie and I then drove through black clouds and a major thunderstorm, and I commuted to the Tufts area to meet up w/Ching-in for dinner.

Day 3 was hard. I got to "sleep in" until 8am, but was so anxiety-ridden that I couldn't fall asleep, woke up in the middle of the night, and got up before the alarm. So I was still bleary and reeling from nightmares. I finished up with the Genie, hauled in the ladder, and called Gili after lunch so that she could tell me to get a grip. I was able to make some important decisions by myself, and then called it an install. Sadly, I don't have any pictures of myself doing any work, so some of you might wonder if I did any work at all, but I swear that I did this (yeah, blue cast: I'm way too tired to color correct).

Terttu calmed me down some at the end of the day, and reminded me about something my advisor told me last year that I had forgotten: it's a living, breathing piece. I can't make it do what I want to do. It's out on its own. This is the first major site-specific installation that I've remounted, without a performance component (though when I mentioned the original comic drawing to Steve, he asked, "can you do that for the opening reception?" and I recoiled in horror). I've learned a lot about the process, and myself. I'm completely spent, but once I recharge, I'll share some more thoughts about what I've re-learned.

What I wish I had there: music
What I needed desperately: hugs and trusted friends
What I didn't get enough of: dark green veggies, sleep
What I got too much of: myself
What I read: Patti Smith's A Cab Called Reliable and Don Lee's Yellow
Who I saw after getting off the Fung Wah bus this afternoon: sleepy Gili

What I have to show for myself

I'm back and horribly exhausted. More after I eat dinner.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

As if I had a choice

I can't believe how resistant I am to this trip to install the wall. It's kind of scary. I finished reading, bookbinding, and other odds & ends, but refuse to pack. Is this what it's like when you have a kid who is involved w/extra-curricular sports and you don't feel like getting up before dawn to drive to the rink that is hours away, even though you know it's all for the best?

Anyhow. Here is my pile of books for now. That should keep me preoccupied for a while. Oh, and a warning: I might not post until I get back b/c I'm leaving the iBook at home. We need a break.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Can't win

I got plenty done today, almost none of it for myself. Today was allll about family. And even though I busted my ass for most of the day, the moment I sit down to take a break, I get scolded for not doing enough. What I wanted to get done will have to get pushed to tomorrow:

1. finish the Unknown Craftsman book
2. finish two apps (why do I get the sneaking feeling that I will be putting these off until after Boston?)
3. prepare UPS for art return
4. finish the handmade book for Boston host
5. drafting more clearly my statement for the Fulbright app
6. EVERYTHING related to Boston

And so on and so forth. Today I learned about fragrant cut flowers; I liked freesia best. I've been wrestling w/flight options to Wyoming. Recently, I've been thinking about occupations. I ride a lot of trains and hear (against my will) loud conversations, while pondering the question that career counselors like to ask: "What would you do if money was no object?" And as I got up to walk past the shrill people in business suits talking about huge capital returns and hedge funds, I realized that I'm doing it.

No wonder why it's so hard to go back to doing anything else, just to make money to survive. Figuring out why I'm here makes doing anything else seem like a waste of time.

Another unreasonable to do list

I got a bunch done today: phone calls I had been avoiding. finishing up the Buddhism chapter in the craftsman book, taking apart an old book to make new ones (that was weird...I've never done that before with a sewn, cased binding, and it was kind of awful and wonderful all at once - awful to rip and cut and pull, wonderful to see the innards of it and remember that I'm a good binder), seeing the Bill Viola exhibit at James Cohan Gallery, performing my droplet, and dinner w/Gilioe (Gili+Joe). Notes:

1. It's nice to "study" on my own and feel like my brain is still capable of learning.
2. People can't bite you through the phone.
3. See the Bill Viola stuff if you can before it closes on Tuesday (May 15): I liked Isolde's Ascension the best. He's pretty masterful with timing, though the 50-min piece was a little over the top. I sat in there for a long time and heard this behind me:

Woman: What is that supposed to be?
Man: It's a woman.

4. Video does very little justice to live dance. Sitting up near the booth is fun.
5. I still don't understand what casseroles are, but Gili & Joe tried for a while to explain them to me.
6. What I hope to complete this weekend is so obscene that I'm not sharing. It's already overly ambitious but Mother's Day puts it over the top. Time to get some sleep before I start baking cookies.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I had three tasks today and fulfilled all of them, including an extra 35-block walk in today's humidity. Shawn pointed out the big female duck in the pond and I told him he should make movies that have already been made just to practice making them. I don't mean huge movies or even full-length. Even if it was just a video piece or a clip that was compelling...I mean, painters learn from copying paintings, so wouldn't it be the same for filmmakers?

I came home and passed out while finishing Susan Choi's American Woman (I just checked; finally, most of my Korean American books on hold are now at the library). It's the sun, I swear. I just can't tolerate that much sun exposure, at all. It made me wonder how I'll tolerate Mexico this summer, and then lo! The director of the residency there called me today to discuss water needs for papermaking. I've been looking for more Korean artists, and got in touch with Dohee Lee of PURI Project. She's been great to exchange work with and it was nice today to hear from both her and the res dir that they both find my work compelling, since I've been feeling funky about my work/purpose lately.

Tomorrow: come see Tides at the Flea! I'm on. Even when I'm not, you should still make it out to see the show for great performers and fantastic music.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


I intended to go to B&H today and get the exact same tripod as the one Ellen lent me for a while. It fit the budget and I thought it worked great for the past few months. Instead, I go to the tripod section and that model isn't on display, but two more expensive ones are. Instead of just asking for that model number, I decide that I want the one w/the bubble level and spiked feet. As if I even know how to use the level thingy. Oh, and it's a pound heavier (and we all know how I feel about carrying heavy things). But I'm a sucker, so I got it. Wohooo! That was after I delivered an app and before I went to a 2-hour Fulbright meeting (I went to one of these two years ago in Chicago; it was nice to be at the actual location rather than videoconferencing), where I was told that my project sounds like it falls into art history. Wow. That makes me feel like a scholar.

Then I came home and almost killed myself by opening a pressure cooker before the pressure was all released. Sticky rice water all over the kitchen. Wohooo! But the good news: I woke up at 8am today w/o an alarm (but thanks for calling at 9, Gi!) AND I finally figured out the key to my big language project. It's about ENTRY. Which means it's also about exclusion. The reward for my productive day: TV.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Seeing and breathing

Still on the strange waking-late schedule, and still beating myself up about it. A lot of friends say that it might just be my body sending pretty strong signals about needing some serious rest, but I like to not believe that, since I'm a hypochondriac who needs a more interesting reason. But since I can't afford any health care, that will have to wait. I finished two apps yesterday and half of two more, but couldn't bring myself to finish them today, as planned. I'm just not in the mood. Instead, I finally got another book on hold: Susan Choi's American Woman. And I asked Ching-in for the link to the article about a Korean American author being mistaken for a Native American one, by Marie Lee. I went for a walk today, but had to rush home b/c the allergies were kicking in so badly that I could barely see or breathe. Not fun. But I got a sweet call from Terttu about the huge trend we've started: photographers who are making books. I helped her make two books for two different bodies of work, and she got a lot of notice for them. Now, everyone in the photo dept is making a book and asking for her help, and she might even get to teach a class this summer! It's nice to mother a movement.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Two blocks

In a week, I go to the Boston area to install my bricks. I figure I need to get myself ready for it. This journey starts at the funeral home and ends at the construction site for the new condos. Yesterday, I saw my 6th grade science teacher, 11th grade American History teacher, and 7th thru 12th grade orchestra teacher. The first two had no idea who I was. I had tea, yoga, lunch, and coffee w/the last. Today, I walked on the acqueduct for the first time and went back to the park where my 6th grade science class went star gazing. I've only been there twice in my life: in 6th grade, and today.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Life of a droplet

After a few days of writing on myself, I'm having blogger's block. I had a post ready in my head while watching Tides Friday night, but then ended up staying up until 3:40am finishing the first season of Lost, and am still recovering from that. Gili was so right about this bead being a droplet. I feel like I'm part of the show, yet I barely have a connection to it. I mean, the people are all wonderful and supportive, but they've gone through this whole process of making an evening-length piece together. I get to be part of it, but in this passing way, in and out. I don't even know everyone's name. It's more like, the really tall woman, or the one with this color hair, or the one who does the trapeze duet with Di, or the one I randomly hugged after Friday's show. The music is amazing. I love seeing something different every night, getting a better sense of the structure, being comforted by how solid the dancers are.

I feel lucky to be part of it, and see how it mirrors my life: I am welcomed and appreciated, but there's a sense of not belonging, of passing through. I can so do many things, but only for so long or so deeply. And then I pick up and rove again. I've always valued being able to carry what I need on my own body. I obsess over how much luggage to bring on any given trip/residency b/c I can't rely on a person or vehicle. Yet I'm less able to shoulder burdens, which scares me. Anything more than a violin or bag on my back makes me miserable (ask Gili, who often carries the extra load). Is it my posture? My heart caving in? But I don't want to stop moving. Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow after more sleep and more capable of attending to the endless streams of work.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Rock on, Venezuela

I wish I could repay my debts so quickly. But I am not a petroleum-producing body. I dreamed about not having a bathing suit and someone wanting me to jump into the pool regardless. I didn't want to b/c I didn't think it was sanitary. After some lucid dreaming about playing the violin like an angel, I got myself awake, somewhat. I stayed up until almost 3am finishing Marie Myung-Ok Lee's Somebody's Daughter after visiting Barbara Nessim's gorgeous new studio on the river, En Foco's current exhibit up in the Bronx at Longwood, a glass of merlot w/Ivan while waiting for Cindy and talking stocks and real estate, and then dinner w/Amy & Alex at Gonzo. I think I'm having some serious repetitive anxiety issues (like worrying that my right foot has hairline fractures that I don't know about), and think it might be wise to shut off my computer for a bit so I can maybe do something not so anxiety-ridden. I'm looking into EMDR therapy and am fearfully doing a "for now" settling: spreading out my things, expanding into a bigger jewelry box, making little work stations at home.