The Chronicle of the Page 

–  From the time of the side to records alive

Wonjin Kim

 From the time I happened to know that my parents had kept all my journals and letters from my childhood – because of embarrassment aroused from re-reading – it has become a habit that I get rid of or shred my writings and books I read. This habitual experience revealed thoughts on the attributes of memory through visible and touchable materials. As time goes by, memories thought to be obviously recorded at the time are modified and disappear as living by themselves. However, these flowing moments do not fade; instead, they repeatedly become transparent and re-appear, emerging solidly as a crystal with flow and pattern in our minds; I expressed them through drawings of moments layered on papers or in the space.

 In my early works, books discarded from the library and recorded stories such as diaries were mainly used, or the ‘process of recording’ things that could not be recorded and disappeared became work itself. Considering myself as a librarian of oblivion, I collected processes of erasing and pieced them together as linking their time by creating ‘a lump with layers’, which then became my library. 

 In 2019, when working on The Land of the Glitches, 2019 as an observer somewhat distant from the record, I accidentally discovered a part of someone's letter while cutting (which I considered equivalent as drilling strata) discarded books. This piece of record, not even known to whom it was for, raised questions about whether the recipient of the letter inadvertently left it in the book and forgot, or whether it was a letter that one could not send because of worry. The works about being destroyed or layered were an attempt to show the "disappeared space" itself; after that, I became interested in the stories that were newly growing in the lost place where some clues remained. And several physical separations including death and breakups that I personally experienced during this period made me want to reopen the page on the surface of the book that I had kept closed. Escaping from the early works that began with the habit of concealing records, this period served as an opportunity to accept that the pages I tried to cover with shame were shining as ‘incomplete chronicles’ in themselves.

 Among the books collected so far, classical literature novels were classified as the most books discarded in the library due to their physical use. So, the question of whether the similar narrative structures that make up our memories were influenced by classical novels encountered in childhood led to the work Melting Strata, 2020. In 2021, even in the same memory structure, how come ‘You and I’ crossed each other and just passed by, I expressed this idea as an installation work that words including gaps between them flow in noise by using a timing belt from automobile parts.

 Previously, clues from literary records that the author did not exist in the same time and space became the beginning of the work. Then, through the citizen participation project planned and conducted during 2020-2021, I had an opportunity to work using the emotional records of 200 citizens as sketches. From this work, I came to feel, perhaps natural truth, that our lives are shining in time like a short story novel and that records are a confession enabling people to endure time. So, the way of working changed from ‘collection’ to ‘reply,’ and it ended up mapping out works on our chronology by sharing between 'I and You.'

 And in recent years, where physical face-to-face has become difficult, using way of Letters for translating people's present moment into sculptures, the work The Chronicle between You and Me, 2021 about living and disappearing in the passage of time has been under progress.

 I focus on interpreting the afterimage of incomplete memories and moments in a literary structure and recording them as physical sculptures in space within the relationship of 'You and I.' In the process of record, sometimes ‘we’ are placed in the middle of a colossal narrative or faced some of the hidden intimate records, and I would like to play those instant ‘moments’ once again in ‘now.’ In the process of work, I think record reveals that it is a 'living' sculpture disclosing people's emotions like material with thickness. This sculptural translation of living records and the process of drawing in the space are my work and the result of daily contemplation.