So Yeon Park
My community-driven project facilitates the personal journey of transformation, relieves sociocultural boundaries and promotes mutual understanding. The experience of shifting cultures and disciplines as a Korean artist living in the U.S.A. suggests hybrid approaches to create interconnected working processes with diverse communities, including Senior citizens, Youth at risk, Female inmates, Indigenous Canadians and Korean women.
By specifically working with participants that are in some ways marginalized, and lacking a voice to enact change, I redefine a social role, as an artist. This may empower people’s lives who deserve more value and meaning. I believe personal transformation and socially engaged performance in communal sharing are catalysts for self-awareness, which enhances the level of empathy and social change among members. Publicly presenting the work provides an opportunity for the audience to play a part through observation. In this way, I can produce a positive ripple effect over time for the participants and those who experience it; to celebrate others whose ethnic, racial, social or cultural backgrounds may be different, but with whom we all share our basic humanity. During the residency at SOHO 20, I plan to deliver three proposed projects:
I. “Gum Ticket”
I ritualize the actions of cleaning disposed gums in NYC metro system to challenges a preconception of despised job. I held personal cleansing rituals with various personas such as an artist, secretary and doctor in subway to bring awareness of environmentally polluting vandalism. Disposed gum is metaphor for disenfranchised people; used and disposed; Menial Act versus Healing Act. 15 diverse cleansing ritual participants will be documented, igniting anti-vandalism campaign in the metro system.
II. “Will You Marry, Baby, and Alter Me?”
This project addresses my identity crisis as a single Asian female who lived in the Midwest. A photographic series of my self-portraits are displayed on billboard. Each image has a provoking slogan, penetrating superficial misperceptions of Asian women. First image illustrates an Asian woman wearing full make-up, formalized hairdo, and only a transparent vinyl wedding dress. This hypersexual wedding self-portrait confronts the stereotypical image. During public display, Audience has accesses; voicemail/email, leaving anonymous responses, which are transformed as an audio piece. These pieces are installed in an institutional space.
III. “Charisma Project”
This project utilizes mainstream culture such as one-hit-wonders to create a multi –disciplinary structure for participants to achieve self-motivation. Each group forms a musical band, mastering a song, developing a persona, making a music video. My persona, So-Public Park, presents an interactive event, “Single Masquerade”, inviting singles aged 40-65 to join. Charisma Bands leads and performs this event. The set-ups contain home environments; bed, sofa, dining table, bathtub, and home entertainment station.
Biography (Download CV)
So Yeon Park is an interdisciplinary community-based artist and educator for a decade. She earned a Masters of Fine Arts at Ohio State University in Performance/ Installation, Time-based Media and Community-based Art and also holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts in sculpture/ceramics from California College of the Arts. She was committed to research and teaching in Expanded Media at University of Kansas until 2011. Her community-driven research facilitates the personal journey of transformation, relieves sociocultural boundaries and promotes mutual understanding. She successfully conducted her first community-based project series, “Storytelling and Listening Series I-IV” (2006-2007) with international communities including indigenous Canadians, American at risk youth, and Korean women. She also completed work on the “P.E.A.R.L” project with current and former female inmates of the Topeka Correctional Facility in Topeka, Kansas from 2008 to 2009. Her recent project (2012), “Spoken Stage I-III,” expedited a community of Korean seniors to develop and perform their own personal, poetry-based narratives in site-specific venues, a process resulting in seniors expressing their life experiences in their own voices. Park’s work has been presented at the Fado Performance Art Centre in Toronto, the Banff Centre (also in Canada), the Sculpture Centre in Cleveland, Chameleon Arts Youth Development Consortium in Kansas City, the Lawrence Arts Center, the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence and The National Art Studio in Changdong, and Seoul Museum of Art, both in Korea.