An Idea Called Tomorrow

Yong Soon Min
November 25, 2009, 8:44 pm
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Yong Soon Min – Rhizomatic! Fiddleheads!, 2009

Image of Yong Soon Min's Work

Rhizomatic! Fiddleheads! is inspired and motivated by several concepts as well as to a response to the particularities of the California African American Museum.  Yong Soon Min’s goal was to activate the atrium space with words, colors and patterns, which in turn may activate the mind and the senses.

The conceptual basis for the design was inspired by rhizomes, which refers both to a particular type of plant life and a philosophical concept, developed by French theorists Gilles Deluez and Felix Guattari.  In botany, a rhizome is a horizontal plant stem that sends out roots and shoots from its nodes.  This fact serves as an organizing principle in the design.  In terms of the theoretical derivation, several tenets of Deluez and Guattari’s influential rhizomatic theory inform this work, principally the theory’s emphasis on nonhierarchical and relational multiplicity, and the idea that a rhizome doesn’t begin or end but is always in the middle, between things, in the process of becoming.  These concepts are translated in a design to have the visual effect of connecting the 24 windows with horizontal line of texts that function as connective nodes from which sprout root-like forms of text below and plant and flower-like forms above.  The horizontal line of texts is derived from a selection of sayings and expressions about time and concepts of the future.  The texts that make up the root-forms address various aspects of history and social condition.  Texts embedded within stylized growth motifs consider our relationship to nature in various registers.

Selected texts were culled from an eclectic range of inter-disciplinary sources including: Kwame Anthony Appiah, James Baldwin, Walter Benjamin, Kurt Cobain, Deleuze and Guattari, Bob Dylan, Duke Ellington, fortune cookie saying, Funkadelic, Antonio Gramsci, Zora Neale Hurston, Martin Luther King Jr., Maxine Hong Kingston, John Lennon, Audrey Lord, Bob Marley, Joni Mitchell, Toni Morrison, Nam June Paik, Patty Smith, Subcomandante Marcos, text messages, David Henry Thoreau, Slavoj Zizek.  Diverse modes and styles of address are represented in the selection of texts ranging from the reflective, interrogatory, philosophical, eccentric, witty, irreverent, whimsical, and theoretical.

May this lively and heterogeneous mix of insights pollinate fresh new ideas and possibilities for viewers.

Yong Soon Min’s artistic practice, inclusive of curatorial projects, engages interdisciplinary sources and processes in the examination of issues of representation and cultural identities, the intersection of history and memory, and the role of the artist and the arts as agents of social change.  Her recent exhibitions include: 10th Havana Bienal, Smith College Museum, 7th Gwangju Biennale, Third Guangzhou Triennale, 2007 International Incheon Women Artists Biennale, and Kunsthalle Darmstadt.  Recent curatorial projects include transPOP: Korea Vietnam Remix (ARKO Art Center, Seoul, San Art and Galerie Quynh in Sai Gon, University Art Gallery, UC Irvine and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco); Exquisite Crisis and Encounters (Asian/Pacific/American Studies Institute of New York University); and THERE: Sites of Korean Diaspora (4th Gwangju Biennale, Korea).  She is Professor of Studio Art at University of California, Irvine.

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