Yesterday, the exhibition Xin Chao, My Darling! opened at the Stone & Water Supplemental Space in Anyang, Korea featuring the work of several young Vietnamese artists in connection with the Pace on Peace project. Curated by the Nguyen Nhu Huy, Kim Kang and Chan Yeng Park.
My contribution is a work-in-progress, or rather a sketch in video. Thanks to Vu Phuong Lien and Eun Yang Kim for their assistance with the Vietnamese and Korean translations. A big thanks to Huy, who had to wait until the day before the exhibition for me to finalize the video and upload the ISO for burning. The past week in Singapore had been ferocious, attending the Comparative Contemporaries conference by day, and drawing images in my hotel room at night.
S*H*A*M is the anagrammatic configuration of M*A*S*H, the long-running and popular American television series, based on the Richard Hooker novel MASH and the 1970 film of the same name, that premiered in 1972 and ran 251 episodes in 11 seasons. The show followed a team of doctors and support staff stationed at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in Uijeongbu, Korea during the Korean War. As American viewers watched the film safely from televsions at home, its soldiers were fighting a prolonged and frustrating war abroad in Vietnam. Some have argued the show was an allegory to the mounting frustration and disillusionment the American public had towards the ongoing war.
It is through this allegory that this work-in-progress follows. I will use the M*A*S*H theme song, "Suicide is Painless" and reconfiguring it to a set of new and archival images, some now iconic and others made specifically for the work, connecting America's violent engagements in Korea and Vietnam then to its policies now.
S*H*A*M: The word sham has mulitple meanings including a term to describe a person or situation that is false. As a colloquialism, it also refers to a person of perceived toughness. Both terms apply to America's war agressions in Korea and Vietnam and are more appropriate than M*A*S*H, which aims to save rather than take lives.
한국 전쟁 당시 의정부에 있는 4077번 군사 이동 병원에서 일하는 의사들과 병원 의료진들을 그린 미국의 텔레비전 시리즈물 <Mash>의 주제곡 <Suicide is Painless>(자살은 고통이 없다)와 한국전 당시의 영상을 병치시킨 R-Streitmatter-Tran의 <SHAM>은 전쟁의 참상을 담담하게 표현했지만 보는이에게 뜨거운 전율을 안겨주는 작품이다. <Mash>가 인기를 끌던 시기에도 베트남 전역에서는 전쟁과 학살이 자행되고 있었다.
Posted by on October 18, 2006 5:43 AM | Permalink