Documentation from the 2017 Jeju Biennale 


HD video, color. 21.52 min. and archive installation. Dimensions variable. 2017

There is a mountain that goes by many names and that is divided between what is today China and North Korea. Being an active volcano, the mountain is sacred to various cultures. A source of awe, pilgrimage, and territorial disputes, the tales that surround it are plentiful and cultural representations speak to the magnitude of its imaginary proportions.
Tale of One or Many Mountains testifies to some of the numerous stories and projections that surround the mountain. Following the rivers that emerge from it and that constitute a liquid border between China, North Korea and Russia, the film offers an alternative perspective onto the vast and contested border region of Northeast Asia.
At the same time, the mountain itself testifies to deep time. It precedes the naming of things and the erection of nation state boundaries. Both encompassing and uncompromising, the mountain can be seen as a metaphor of the current state of affairs in the region. Although volcanic activity was recently measured at the mountain, it lies for the moment dormant, yet it is ever transforming.

Video stills


Voices: Jane Jin Kaisen, Ma Sun Hee, Meng Xianxiao, Young Sun Oh

Audio recording of Manchu cosmology kindly lent by Rowena Li

Color correction: Guston Sondin-Kung

Research assistance: Shiqi Lin. Haeseo Kim, Hayeon Heather Kim

Translation: Jungweon Mok