Shin (in progress), Digital video and 16mm, Oslo

Collaborated with Hyeji Nam, 2019

Performance_ Hyeji Nam

Camera_ LEA and Hyeji Nam

Musical Composition_LEA

Shin(2019) is a collaborative project between Hyeji Nam and LEA. Both LEA and Hyeji are originally from South Korea and are currently based in Oslo, Norway, and Vienna, Austria.

Shin(신) means God, spirit, or new in the Korean language, and the film Shin is based on Korean shamanism and witchcraft. Generally, Korean witches are said to channel spirits through their bodies. A witch is seen as a conduit of the spirits for fortune-telling, exorcism, worship, and prayer. Korean shamanic ceremonies include minimalistic music with rhythm, chanting, acting, dancing, and singing with dramatic emotional expressions such as crying and laughter.

 

The purpose of this is to release blocked energy, sorrow, and anger in their body or spirit, Han(한). For this project, Hyeji and LEA depict the female figure as an expressive tool and use it to symbolize the response to the suppression by patriarchal societies.

As South Korean women, Hyeji and LEA are products of such a society, one where women are manipulated by capital, superficiality, patriarchy, war, social pressures, and hopelessness. The artists deviated from their societal positions to express this rebellion in the form of their spiritual ceremony, Shin.

 

LEA and Hyeji juxtapose traditional Korean shamanism with modern video and sound installation. Projecting ideas and thoughts about politics, culture, and gender can come across as highly confrontational. In contrast, when thoughts, concepts, and politics are communicated through the abstract expression of a Korean shamanic ceremony, there is a mood that is expressed, but an absence of rhetoric. This practice could perhaps appeal to both audiences and artists to extend self-reflection, contemplation, concentration, and interaction with our ideas.