In a Certain Movement Body Split

Sound Excerpt from In a Certain Movement Body Split. 8 channel sound, video, 12 min.
Sound Mixing: Fabian Reichle

Intersecting the time and geo-political fictional narratives through reconstructing 1930s photos and taxidermied birds in Korea that were collected during a trip of Swedish zoologist Sten Bergman. I use the bodies of animals in this photograph series to relate to the bodily split between North and South in my own country Korea. I created a video as a vocal memory site, where histories of these stuffed birds that freely lived at the border during Japan’s colonisation of Korea in 1935 to 1936 are preserved and reflected.

Both South and North Korea—and the relationship between them and colonial times—were captured in the bodies of these birds. While I am locating the photograph in digital territory, the non-categorised archive of birds and animals is constantly relocating themselves by flipping and becoming one synthetic body capable of erasing the border. Bird flips its body, and the upside (North) down (South) lands, and the self-capsizing ship all talk about the contradictory movement that flips the body to redirect itself in a self-initiated situating process. Through this dialectical unruly movement of land, South to North imagine (un)locating territory, mirroring a reversed landscape and exploring the subversive ideas of history.

Mammals, birds, herptiles, and fishes were donated by Sten Bergman and collected by him during his expeditions, including the one in 1935–1936 to Korea. His diaries from these journeys are however stored at Centrum för Vetenskapshistoria at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The book “In Korean Wilds And Villages” (1938) is a travelogue by the Swedish zoologist describing his travels through the Korean landscape before the historic rupture.

The project has been researched at the fotolab in Museum of Ethnography, Stockholm, 2018–2019. Supported by National Lifeboat Museum Dorus Rijkers, Den Helder, and Suns & Stars 2020-2021