Excerpts from the written interview, “Artist as Cultural Researcher,” published in the art magazine, ARTICLE (issue #34, May 2014):


The perspectives of the future and reflections on reality by the Korean-Kazakh young people were not very different from those of Korean young people. As Korean young people in their twenties learn about the Japanese colonial time and the Korean War by education, Korean-Kazakh young people hear their history of deportation as it is passed down to them by their grandparents and great grandparents. To the fifth generation, the forced deportation happened almost 80 years ago and although it is an unforgettable incident, it’s not a memory that they felt or experienced themselves. Nevertheless, they cannot be identified with Korean young people as being in the same “globalized youth generation” although they share similar concerns about the present and the future. The identity of a minority group doesn’t disappear; it is partly covered by others but still continues on.

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The older generations’ opinions of the former Soviet Union was also different from what I expected. There are now some conditions to be considered among the countries that share a border with Russia, but there are people who miss the Soviet time with their faith and belief in Socialism. There are also generations who prioritize the status of a citizen of Kazakhstan. Of course there are individual differences, but their lives and perspectives, which were not revealed on the statistical data, sometimes astonish me. There were many incredible thinkers among the older generation who participated in the future plans and space exploration.

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In Korea, we forget that there are ethnic Koreans outside watching us. They don’t live in the same land, but they still have their ethnic identity that they have preserved or sometimes, they are labeled so by others. When we are in Korea, we compare our nation with other countries, but they are looking at us with the connection of the same ethnicity. There are people who believe the language maintains the identity of an ethnic group, but even after the language is lost, they continue their attempts to make connections to their ethnic roots through new media such as Internet.

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