How to Relax in Such Thick Context


Kyoung was in the air somewhere between Mexico City, Mexico and Seoul, Korea; I was riding LACMA’s outdoor escalator between HappyHappy and A Needle WomanYour Bright Future waiting behind the big glass BCAM doors, the Station fire and its apocalyptic smoke cloud looming above and behind me.  “Whose bright future?” I wondered, coughing and picking a tear from the corner of my eye with the corner of my dress.

“Fiction is logical compared to the truth” Gimhongsok writes on one wall.  On another he writes:

Gim Hongsok Text

Here is the Sierra family from Mexico performing:


I watched children approach the costumes, holding their breath and slowly slowly reaching one finger towards the donkey’s ear slowly slowly ever-so-slowly until the long-awaited contact prompts an “Ah!” and a sudden retraction of the tiny hand that broke the rule and touched the imaginary Mexican inside the furry burro.

kim sooja's "needle woman" installation

Kimsooja’s “Needle Woman” made me hold my breath.  She stands, pony-tail towards me, and watches walkers watching her.  In Yemen I counted minutes between women.  And when they appeared, cloaked and covered like death figures but for slender rectangles, borders for shifting eyeballs gazing forward-forward/down/left-towards-the-uncloaked-stranger/and-away, I bit my mouth breathless claustrophobic and dry pulling my finger away from the imagined heat inside the costume.

Then Pompei:  Stone curls, worshipers of Dionysus, a perfectly formed nipple, three lines for sound from hand-slapped drum, battle after battle after battle, and a glass bowl for holding wine.  Every surface covered in story!  The walls, the floor, the ceiling/the cup, the plate, the bowl/the tile, the statue, the garden, the bench, the fabric on the bed.  Every surface covered in story.

garden wall garden

A garden wall’s garden: hanging heads and posted heads, birds and bird-bath, plants.  The Romans ate the Greeks, and Vesuvius ate the Romans.  I wonder if their cloud looked like our cloud.


One comment

  1. Good blogpost, great looking website, added it to my favorites.

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