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Theresa Hak Kyung Cha Project:

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (1951-1982) was a Korean-American artist. Born in Pusan, Korea, Cha moved to the United States when she was eleven years old.  Cha created a rich body of work, which deals with the issues of language in speaking and writing histories. Her most famous work, Dictée, is known for its idiosyncratic structure, combining biography, autobiography, poetry, and visual images to tell several different women’s stories.  Just a few days after the original publication of Dictée, Cha was murdered by a stranger in New York City.

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha Project is a video installation project. I am currently in a research and development process for the piece. Presented in a non-linear documentary style, the installation will consist of multiple video projections of text and image, audio and performance.  The audio will include multiple female narrators’ voices, telling stories and memories about Cha, in Korean and English. I feel compelled to do Theresa Hak Kyung Cha Project because I identify with Cha very strongly as an East Asian female who resides in the United States, creating works in English.  Studying some of Cha’s work allowed me to ask questions, “Who is entitled to speak/write with authority in English, or in any language?” and “What happens when the speaking body (or the voice) is female?” Theresa Hak Kyung Cha Project will engage these questions in the matter of Korean female agency and visibility in the performance of language in history, both in Korea and United States.

My First Research Trip:

I took my first research trip to Berkeley, CA for twelve days in October 2009 to research at the Theresa Hak Kyung Cha Archive located within the University of California Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA). During my trip, I attended the exhibit of Earth, exhibition of Cha's artist books and other text work and the screening of Exilee, film-video installation by Cha. I also studied Cha's other films and video work and other materials in the archive including some of her handwritten journals, slides and other photographic work.

About the Theresa Hak Kyung Cha Archive:

Endowed by the Theresa Hak Kyung Cha Memorial Foundation, the archive exclusively holds more than 500 files of the artist’s work including handmade artist books, films, videos, performance documentations, film scripts, sound recordings, personal photographs, correspondence and other significant items.  UC Berkeley is also where Cha studied for ten years and created most of her work, which now belongs to the archive.

My most sincere thanks to those who generously supported my first research trip.

©2002-2013 Sujin Lee