Offering, Seven Boats

In this act, performed along the banks of the Imjin River in South Korea in 2015, I provide an offering that gestures to the relationship between the living and the dead in contemporary society. By providing seven paper boats to the Imjin River, I remember and evoke the names of children who died in North Korea in the aftermath of division as well as those who passed away from the famines of the late 1990s. Trusting in the invisible forces residing in water and nature, I draw from Jeju shamanic uses of paper ornaments, or Gime, to call upon those who have passed. In the past, Jeju shamans used Gime to grieve for fishermen who disappeared along the coast in their attempts to feed their families and communities. I learned Gime from Seongsil Seo, a respected shaman from Jeju Island.

Soni Kum

Soni Kum is an interdisciplinary artist who was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan as a third generation Korean. She grew up in North Korean Community in Japan and obtained South Korean citizenship in 2006. She works in a variety of mediums including film and video, installation, performance, writing, photography, drawing, and dance. Soni Kum received an MFA from California Institute of the Arts in the United States in 2005 and a doctorate in fine arts from Tokyo University of Arts in 2011.