How to (not) live a legacy? (2023)

Documentary short, 30:00, Full HD, stereo

Video still


Project description

Confusion characterized the eight year period of 1945 to 1953, between the liberation of Korea from Japan and the armistice of the Korean War. During this tumultuous time, some individuals from South Korea voluntarily migrated to North Korea for permanent residency, a practice known as 월북 wolbuk. This term literally translates to “going north” and carries an extremely negative connotation synonymous with “defector.” Families of defectors were viewed as socially tainted individuals susceptible to “bad ideology,” and were constantly subjected to suspicion. Faced with precarious circumstances, Wolbukja families chose silence as a means of survival, and these choices have had lasting consequences across generations.

"How to (not) live a legacy?" takes a form of an autobiographical video essay, unearthing the long-forgotten memories of the Wolbukja family. It shed light on the complex dynamics surrounding the relationship between South and North Korea, the experiences of Wolbukja families, and the challenges faced by women in sharing their narratives. Examining these topics will provide a deeper understanding of the multifaceted nature of Korean society and the enduring impacts of historical and ideological divisions.

"How to (not) live a legacy?" demonstrates how political, social, and gendered dynamics intersect and shape the experiences of individuals and communities. This video essay seeks to foster a greater appreciation of the complexities inherent in Korean society and the importance of understanding the diverse narratives that contribute to collective memories.

‘이 선생에 관하여’는 오랫동안 잊혀진 가족의 낡은 기억을 들여다보고, 조각이 나버린 불완전한 내러티브를 다시금 조합하는 과정에서 기획한 다큐멘터리이다. 화자는 가족 내에서 사라진 한 인물의 행방을 파헤친다. 영리하고 용감했던 이 선생은 한국전쟁의 발발과 동시에 자취를 감추었고, 그로부터 50여년이 지난 어느 날, 북한 국경 근처에 위치한 중국의 한 도시에서 모습을 드러낸다. 화자는 시간을 거슬러 이 선생과 그의 가족에게 무슨 일이 일어났는지를 조사하며, 묻어 두어야만 했던 기억을 파헤치기 시작한다. ‘이 선생에 관하여’는 터부시되는 가족사에 접근하는 세대간의 엇갈린 시선, 그리고 과거의 인물인 이 선생과 화자 사이의 삶과 죽음을 넘나드는 대화를 통해 기억이 잊혀지거나 되살아나는 여정을 그려낸다.

Script, Interview, Editing and Directing: Jane Hwang
Coordinator: Suyeon Yi
Camera: Christian Houch (in Germany), Jane Hwang (in Korea)
Sound: Eno Lee
Music directing and original score: Kim Se-eun
Gayageum: Oh Jung-hee
Vocal: Lee A-reum

Supported by Seoul Metropolitan Government, Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture, Berlin University of the Arts
Exhibition Documentation
Jane Hwang Solo Exhibition ‘Regarding Mr. Yi’

October 25th - November 12th 2023
Art Space Hyeong

Organized/Presented by Jane Hwang
In cooperation with Art Space Hyeong
Supported by Seoul Metropolitan Government, Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture

Poster design: Yeonsu Chu(NOEY Design)
Photo: Hyun Moo Lee