BREAKING THROUGH THE THIN ICE:
Wednesday Kim is an interdisciplinary artist and a co-founder of De:Formal Online Gallery. She is from Seoul, South Korea and is currently based out of Alaska. Kim works with a mixture of analog and digital media including 3D animation, video, performance, installation, print, and sculpture. Her work is informed by personal experiences and human psychology; she derives imagery from nightmares, intrusive thoughts, and childhood trauma. Furthermore, she portrays the absurdity of information-saturated contemporary life in a surrealist fashion.
The following is a short interview between Hongzheng Han, the curator of Standing Out, the Outstandings, and the participating artist Wednesday Kim.
H: Walking on the Thin Ice (2021) is partially inspired by the six Asian women brutally murdered in the Atlanta shooting. This emotional video work is also inspired your identity as a Korean woman living in America. Can you tell us more about this work and your American experience?
K: Living as a woman is already a challenge in this misogynistic world. Living as an Asian woman requires more work to stand up and protect myself. My life had been distinctly dodgy for a long time—traumas from my childhood and traumas added while living as an Asian woman. When any unfortunate event happens, the method of mourning is different for everyone. And making this series of work is my way to fight through all racism and hate against Asian Women. There are many stereotypes that we live with, mostly negatively sexualized. I don't know how many times I've been an easy target for sexualization and been in dangerous situations. Most of my video works have no ending or no beginning. They are endlessly looping. Maybe all my traumas are confined to my videos. It is just like how the mind is trapped in trauma. It repeats inside of your head unconsciously. But I believe that I found a way to communicate that these wounds can be healed when I acknowledged the anger and fear.
H: Walking on the Thin Ice (2021) is a trilogy that manifests not only in the progression of the storyline but also in the transition of the use of language. Part1 of this video work is presented in English, but part 2 is both English and Korean, while part 3 is entirely Korean. What inspired you to create such a gradual change in the use of language?
K: Walking on the Thin Ice is divided into three parts for installation purposes and a gradual change. As I mentioned before, most of my work has no ending or beginning, and it is more like a cycle. This work is a cycle of trying to adopt a new environment and share with mine either eaten by or eating out of my identity, recognizing my uniqueness. Just like my life, I constantly switch languages in between English and Korean. I am also dealing with a cycle of fear about loss vs. acceptance of identity.
H: Video art has become the new "It girl" in the contemporary art scene, especially with the aids of crypto technology. What is your take on the prevalence of NFT based art? Do you think this popularization can benefit you as a video-based artist?
K: Yes and No. I believe there is no boundary between digital work and physical work. Digital work does not only exist online or just in a video format. It gives you different feelings when it's only online or offline. There are no right or wrong answers, but I am more into creating a new atmosphere than staying in a digital form. I think more attention increased for digital artists during the COVID19 and after the birth of NFT. But as an introvert, online is a great source to hide.
H: How are you dealing with this surge of Sinophobia due to the COVID-19 epidemic? Does this situation inspire you creatively?
K: When the COVID19 just started, I was in a suburb of Alaska. I was isolated from the world. But I was worried a lot for my people. It is very depressing and upsetting. Currently, I spend more time focusing on my child's wellness and my mental health.
H: Standing Out, the Outstandings is an exhibition designed to amplify the long-oppressed Asian voice in America. As one of the ten artists in this show, are there any encouraging words you would like to say to our community?
K: Thanks for having me again. It is a super meaningful exhibition for me.
There are many times that I didn't raise my voice loud because I was scared.
I don't want to be scared anymore. I need to protect my daughter and teach her to stay strong, by herself, with others, and all together as Women and Asian women living in foreign countries. And I want to visit strong with you all with our community. We are all vivid together.