“What notably captured the artist’s attention in Yangji-ri were not the modern propaganda techniques but the points of light from everyday objects, such as street lights, welding machines, space heaters, crosses, or curtains. [They are like] “stars that act as coordinates to finding herself” (Jaewon Choi, 2016).
Yangji-ri is a two-channelled narratological video installation situated alongside other mixed media pieces exploring the lives of senior women who were forcefully evicted from their homes during the Korean War. Within the social and historical context, Choi’s works beautifully sheds light on the psychological migration that burdens each of these women’s stories.
The piece is named after the village of Yangjiri, which is situated north of the Civilian Control Line. The vIllage is a migrant community constructed under military control for its propagandistic effect towards North Korea. The migrants of this village were provided governmental support for housing, yet their land ownership remained unacknowledged.
These Yangjiri villages were staged like a huge stage set, all doors and windows facing north. The aim of the architecture was to display a prosperity that was in fact non-existent. Despite the strict prohibition, the residents began to extend their tiny dwellings, which consisted almost exclusively of facades, almost imperceptibly backwards over long periods of time. T
I really like the multiple elements of Choi’s work, they help to give the feeling of a collection of peoples belongings or the contents of their homes. These added layers expand in the artist’s cinematic work into sheer endless, hybrid spaces without openings.