- Title Orientity
- Place Fringe Club (www.hkfringeclub.com)
- Date 14 – 24 January, 2005 (Opening Day: 14 January 2005)
- Curators Catherine Lau & Mihee-Nathalie Lemoine
- Lisa Cheung: Installation
- Adel Gouillon: The First step with you, video
- Raymond Hahn: Crossing my own Pacific Ocean, photography
- Jemma Han: To Be one, installation
- Jane Jin Kaisen: Migratory, video
- Mihee-Nathalie Lemoine: Today I feel, conceptual work
- Naomi K. Long: Sister 1951 photography (B4), Family Portrait, 1965 photography (B4)
- Oh Haji: 3 generations, Print on Fabric
Statement The seven artists selected are all ethnically connected to Korea: one Korean- Japanese, two Korean-American, one Korean-Korean, and three Korean- Europeans. All the artists in their late 20’s and mid 30’s, working with fabric design, installation, performances, video and photographs, using various techniques to introduce (art)works that tent to break conventions and bring an international message about communication and relations.
The artists explore, in this exhibition, the differences of their experiences first as artist, second as part of a Korean Diaspora and globalization…
We hope this exhibit can also take place in Korea, Hong Kong, Europe and the States.
By Yasuko Ikeuchi, Kyoto
All eight of the participating artists in the exhibition “Orientity” are in their twenties or thirties. Another thing they have in common is their “Korean” ethnicity. This “Koreanness,” however, does not refer to a “pure,” unified ethnic identity. Born in Korea, some of them in their infancy were adopted into different families in distant European countries (such as Belgium or Denmark); others emigrated with their families to the United States when they were young children. One of them was born and raised as a second generation Korean American in the United States, and two are third generation Korean residents in Japan. All eight participants have lived “diasporic” lives, each in a different context.
The term, “Diaspora,” originally referred to the Jewish people who had been displaced as exiles, emigrants and refugees over the centuries, but recently it has been reinterpreted in the context of Critical Cultural Studies and Postcolonial Studies. The historical experiences of refugees, immigrants and exiles born out of imperialism and colonialism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries have expanded the original meaning of the term. Moreover, the notion of “diaspora” can help us critically analyze the present reality in which global migration and dispersal caused by corporate globalization is accelerating rapidly. Here, it is also important to remember that if we uncritically adopt the notion of a “Korean Diaspora,” we might be in danger of obscuring the historical circumstances of Korean residents in Japan who continue to face discrimination that began with Japan’s colonization of the Korean Peninsula and which has continued into the postwar era. But if we use the concept of diaspora in a truly critical way and thus avoid using “Korean” to naturalize or essentialize, then we can also avoid naturalizing or essentializing “Japan.” It will then be possible to open up and problematize the closed and oppressive structure of the nation-state.
The somewhat strange and unfamiliar title of this exhibit, “Orientity,” has been coined from the words “Oriental” and “Identity.” Here, we can see the artists’ very clever aim to unsettle these two terms which are laden with potentially essentialist notions. As Edward Said has shown, through continually creating “the other” and exteriority, the western subject has attempted to construct itself as “universal” and from that position to adopt a mode of domination. In order to avoid the consumption of the work of Asian American artists as not simply a “kitsch hybrid of East and West,” or “Oriental sensibility,” this critical perspective is vitally important.