“the Eater” ; 2006 – revised
“the Eater” is a two-channel, interactive video installation. The version of the piece included in this screening is a single-channel video that presents a simulation of the physical installation. “the Eater” deals with the harvesting and consumption of experience, transforming it into personal memory. On opposing walls, a video of “the Eater” is coupled with a sequence of memory images that must literally be consumed in order to preserve them. The abstracted images resist referencing any particular event, but rather represent lived-in time as the artist moves between Korea and America. Within this piece, the act of eating of one’s own memory exhibits a cannibalistic consumption that alludes to the destructive potential of memory when it becomes internalized. A
sound-scape that becomes suddenly violent as “the Eater” seizes a memory in her desire to consume it augments this feeling of unease.
The self-destructive drive to internalize and preserve traumatic memory is the product of a fear of emptiness; a situation in which one finds themselves lacking memory, experience, and attachment.
In “the Eater” the body is treated as a repository for a multitude of accumulated time, yet in this state it is also susceptible to the resurfacing of the embedded trauma. In visualizing this relationship, the piece acknowledges the need for memory to be recuperated and creates a space
for the audience to engage in this performance. The scale of the installed piece, combined with the multiplicity of images, limits the vision of the audience, forcing them to make decisions as to how they will negotiate the flow of images, which subjects they will psychologically engage with, and which they will let slip by and escape consciousness.