seodaemun prison on a sunday


Single channel video HD. Color. 15 min. 2009                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Jane Jin Kaisen & Guston Sondin-Kung 

Seodaemun Prison on a Sunday is a video work that documents a former Japanese prison located in South Korea on a Sunday afternoon. What unfolds is a complex narrative about the construction of history, identity and narratives of violence. On this particular Sunday afternoon, the prison, which has been turned into a museum, begins the process of re-arranging their exhibitions. The film focuses on a crew of six workers painstakingly arranging life size mannequins in former prison cells. These mannequins are beaten and bloody in their depiction of former Korean prisoners. The workers are distanced in the process and maintain professional composure drilling directly into the bodies that appear to be screaming. Through watching this video, different levels of identification occur, forcing the viewer to re-orient their own position to this voyeuristic spectacle. They become intimately implicated in the process of historical narrative construction.