Research Unit in Public Cultures seminar: 'From National to Transpacific Memoryscapes: The Experimental Art of Jin-me Yoon'

Thursday, March 17, 2016 14:00 –16:00

As national borders became more porous with global flows of people, information, digital media, and capital (Appadurai 1990), memories of persecution that formerly circulated primarily within national territories have started circulating with increasing speed and volume in global memoryscapes (Hoskins 2006; Assman 2010). This paper is part of a larger SSHRC-funded research project that examines experimental Asian Canadian art that explores memories of displacement and persecution, focusing on the shift from the national to the transpacific circulation of memories that began to take place in the 1990s in Canada.

After outlining the national paradigm that Asian Canadian artists (as well as Indigenous and other racialized artists) and activists worked within from the 1970 to the 1990s, (Obomsawin 1993; Miki and Wah 1994; Gagnon 2000; Coulthard 2014), this paper turns to Jin-me Yoon's exploration of the transnational circulation of memory. The paper examines her photo and video-based performances, starting with her use of modern media (photography and painting) followed by her turn to transnational media (digital), focusing on different iterations of her series "As It Is Becoming" (2008-2010), including "Reservoir" (2012). In this series she evokes the dark undercurrents of wartime memory, on the one hand, and the "waste of globalization" (Bauman 2004), on the other. She uses her body to cross borders and temporal zones as she crawls through the streets of different cities in Asia and sites in the "Pacific Rim" (and elsewhere), including Beppu, Japan, the site of hot springs where radiation victims get treatment at an Atomic Treatment Centre that was also the former site of wartime human experiments (Cho 2008; Yoneyama 1999).


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4th floor Linkway, John Medley (Building 191)