ISLAND OF STONE

3-channel video installation and film, HD 16:9, Color, 15:45 min. 2011.

Jane Jin Kaisen & Guston Sondin-Kung

Island of stone concerns the resistance against the Jeju Naval Base and takes place in Gangjeong village, Jeju Island, at the southernmost point of South Korean territory. Since the construction began in 2007, the village has been the site of one of the world’s longest and strongest civilian protest movements against military bases. With the reminiscence of the Jeju April Third Massacre, protesters feared that Jeju Island would once again become the center of conflict and objected to the coercive decision-making process, and environmental damage to the pristine coast and maritime life. Island of Stone was shot during the spring of 2011 when the protest movement transformed from a mainly local issue to a larger international movement.  The main video in the installation portrays renowned South Korean film critic Yang Yun Mo, while the other two screens testify to the daily clashes between protesters and the military. A few days after the recording on April 6, 2011, Yang was forcibly arrested for objecting to the naval base construction and went into a 71 days hunger strike while in prison. Island of Stone was posted online shortly after Yang’s arrest and the film went viral on social media networks and was screened as the closing film at the Seoul Human Rights Film Festival. Due to Yang´s hunger strike and the fierce resistance by the Gangjeong villagers, the issue reached wide national and international attention and sparked a broad civil movement. The base, which has been officially named the Jeju Civilian-Miitary Complex Port, opened on February 26th, 2016. Fears of the protestors have since been confirmed when an American nuclear-powered submarine docked at the base in November 2017 during escalating tensions in the region.

Video stills: Island of Stone


Video excerpt: Island of Stone


CREDITS

Directed, conceptualized, and edited: Jane Jin Kaisen & Guston Sondin-Kung

Photography: Guston Sondin-Kung, Jane Jin Kaisen

Archive footage of the arrest of Yang Yoon Mo generously lend by: Kim Min Su 

Cast: Yang Yun Mo + in the video installation iteration: Choi Sunghee and elderly couple from Gangjeong

Translation: Se Young Oh, Park Jung Joo, Kim Min Jung