Works  >  Elsewhere Is My Where 
Duo Exhibition at Akademie Galerie Nürnberg 
Together with Christian Schreiber

Elsewhere is My Where

- Is identity hardware or software?

Here are two terms often used interchangeably, but represent different concepts: space and place. The former refers to an abstract and unoccupied area, while the latter means a particular location that one could exactly indicate. Unlike place, space does not have any directions or altitude. It is a blank state, where one cannot orient themself. In English and  German, these terms have multiple meanings. ‘Space’ in English, or ‘der Raum’ in German, refers to the universe, a room indoors, land, the place between things, or an interval of time. But in Korean it only has one meaning: the literal translation being 'an empty gap’ (空間).

It took so long for me to understand this meaning: an empty gap. The definition of 'emptiness’ (空) in Asian culture is notorious for having difficult interpretations. It is more than just a word, the term is itself a philosophy. In brief, emptiness is an idea affirming that no single thing, including humans, possess a material body. It does not mean that things are in vain, however it requires an understanding that the concrete figures we are accustomed to do not truly exist as we imagine. As a result of rending the word ‘space’ into my own interpretations, I have created two new terms pertaining to space and our perception of it: the ‘Elsewhere’ and the ‘My Where’.

We tend to fill empty gaps with experience, memory and associations that build and mold our personal and social identities. ‘Elsewhere’ and ‘My Where’ are relative concepts that are distinguishable with one’s perception, contributing to the understanding of how we develop our own identities. ‘Elsewhere’ is a space outside of where one is physically positioned. ‘My Where’ is, on the other hand, a place that one currently perceives. The ‘Elsewhere’ is the outer parts of one’s world and surface- where anything could occur. It could transform consequent to personal memory and imagination while ‘My Where’ is a place one confronts physically. For example, the kitchen that I was standing in at 10 am is an ‘Elsewhere’ because my body does not belong to this place anymore- I am no longer standing there. Death is also an ‘Elsewhere’, since I have not yet experienced it. All the fantasies I had as a kid are also an ‘Elsewhere’. Currently, I am sitting at my computer writing this essay in the library making the library my place of controllable or manipulable place of experience- it is my ‘My Where’.
But there are still some limits we have not yet overcome regarding the connections between our understandings of space, experience and perception. Our body is not only three dimensional, it is finite, mortal and ephemeral. Every being has to face the fact that we eventually have to go to the space of non-existence (death), and we are all impossibly incapable of experiencing this space before we experience it. Thus, the anxiety we humans each carry in us. The premise that "everything will one day die" exists. One's body is more important than others because the body exists as a boundary and we are incapable of sharing or breaking these boundaries. But what is we could?

Death is a radical phenomenon whereby all the surfaces that once dominated one's body dissolve into dots and disappear behind the linear, binary world. A line divides existence and non-existence after the incident of death. Black and white, dichotomy, men and women. A binary world split by a two dimensional line seems violent, but it is much more complicated if we imagine the three dimensional lines which we come to know as walls, boundaries, or bodies, which divide spaces between one another.  

We cannot escape from the boundaries of the body- we take its shape in three dimensions. If the body were to be two-dimensional, or four-dimensional, or more, perhaps we could find intersections with the outer world- perhaps we could possibly share our bodies with others, if only even for a moment. We can not be in two places at once. Imagine if we could physically intertwine or combine our three dimensional bodies within spaces or other bodies. Perception would become a tool to determine our own concepts of space, place, and our relationship to it. Experiencing ‘My Where’ leaves a monumental impact on personal character and feeling, it allows us to examine the ‘Elsewhere’; which can only exists prior to our knowledge of its existence. Until we leave the space, the experience becomes the ‘Elsewhere’ itself. It allows us to imagine more than the tangible and sensible world. The physical boundary of our body (which could also be seen as our hardware) permits the ‘My Where’ to program the ‘Elsewhere’ which transforms our software. Our software being the overwhelming amount of perceptions, memories, and ideas we, as humans, hold.  

What if we could share our perceptions by datalizing both aspects of hard- and software of the body? Could we go into the world of data where only numbers exist- without experiencing the incident of death- and overcome having surfaces of the body? Would our interactions among one another have different aspects or new significance? If only elsewhere could be my where. 

Exhibition Statement