BOX BLUR 2019: How To Fall In Love In A Brothel
How to Fall in Love in A Brothel began as a written episodic script of a Korean American diaspora experience that unfolds across decades, in 2017 written by Sunhui Chang. In 2018, Sunhui began an intercultural, mixed-genre collaboration with Ellen and Maya to imagine how the rich sensory details of his writings could be realized in architecture, theater, and video. How to Fall in Love in a Brothel is set in an abstracted recreation of a 1950s Korean shoji-room. With instructional video and audio pieces, viewers will be taught to create peepholes in the walls, referencing a rural ritual where wedding-night consummations were quietly watched by villagers who silently rubbed a hole into the shoji with a wet finger.
In the exhibition’s immersive space, the invitation to look inside the shoji-screened room is also an invitation to witness intimate moments of conversation that are unassisted by modern technologies. Inside, viewers peer into a ritual space created by the artists, who have collaged stories and images of their secret family histories which cross the globe—from post-War South Korea to rural Mississippi, from World War II refugee camps in Kyrgyzstan, to Israel in the 1950s, and Guam in the 1970s. The stories sometimes rhyme and sometimes clash, while complicating notions of a “post-racial,” “post-cultural,” and “post-historical” identity in the 21st century. Over the course of the installation, as more holes are created in the shoji, the piece inverts itself—inside becomes outside, marks of intimacy are accredited, and watching and exchange become visible.