Sujin Lee

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha Project
HD Video (Color, Sound, 23:58) with Documents

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha Project is a video work accompanied by research documents. The project looks into the Korean American artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's work and life through language by exploring themes such as translation/use of multiple languages, time, mother/national identity and sound (in echo). Cha is only present through her text and others' memories and voices in the work. The project also reflects on the question of how an individual's history can be documented, which I find very similar to the process of translating spoken words to written texts.

I created my own archive, which consists of interview tapes, letters, handwritten notes, and various ephemera produced during my research on Theresa Cha. Selected documents from the archive are presented with the video. I plan to make a different selection from the archive every time I exhibit the project in order to experiment the relationship between the video work and the documents. The archive is growing, so the project is always in the making.

Thersa Hak Kyung Cha Project documents on display in the exhibition The Distance between Words at Cake Gallery (Photo documentation and the shelf by Seung Hyun Baek)

About Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

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. She was a prolific artist who worked in film, video, performance, book art, and other media. She was also a writer and an editor. Her artist's book DICTEE, known for its idiosyncratic structure, combines biography, autobiography, poetry, and visual images to tell her personal history with the stories of other historical figures. The Theresa Hak Kyung Cha retrospective, The Dream of the Audience, travelled to several cities in the USA and also made a stop in Korea and Austria.

About the Theresa Hak Kyung Cha Archive at BAM/PFA

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 and the museum collection.

My most sincere thanks to:
Paul Alkava, Bertrand Augst, Lisa Calden, Stephanie Cannizzo, James Cha, John Cha, Christina Creveling, Elaine Kim, Jiha Kim, Soomi Kim, Edith Kramer, George Lakoff, Constance Lewallen, James Melchert, Yunju Park, Frances Richard, Kay Kim Richards, Lawrence Rinder, Moira Roth, Judith M. Smith, Jason Sanders, Juliana Spahr, and Reese Williams

Also John R. Ferry, Sherri Faaborg, Miheun Kim, Jean Peters, Maureen Shields & Adrian Maestas, and Bruce Snider & Lysley Tenorio for helping make my research trips to Berkeley, CA possible in 2009 and 2012.

© Sujin Lee