by Beverly Aarons
Sure human qualities are innate: the suckling intuition of a new child child, consuming when hungry, ingesting when thirsty, a reflexive kick when your knee is thumped. However there are different human qualities that solely emerge via collective settlement, or what we name tradition: the idea in individualism or the nuclear household, the need to eat poultry as an alternative of bugs, the choice for a hike within the woods or a Saturday night time watching soccer. Past the floor, tradition shapes the best way human teams (and people) view the world and their place in it.
However what occurs when a tradition is disrupted, arrested, or eradicated? What occurs when one human group suppresses the tradition of one other? How then do human beings thrive and stay authentically themselves? Within the digital public artwork mission The Future Ancient, Che Sehyun, a Seattle-based multidisciplinary artist, explores how human beings can reconnect to their historical cultures and battle for “collective cultural liberation.” I had a possibility to interview Sehyun through phone about his mission The Future Historical, practising tradition with out borders, and surviving cultural genocide.
Created in partnership with the Seattle Asian Artwork museum and the Metropolis of Seattle’s Workplace of Arts and Tradition, The Future Historical options over 30 Asian Pacific Islander and POC artists and cultural staff and consists of an Asian Pacific Islander artists-for-hire roster. Sehyun hopes to encourage viewers “to pay attention, to respect, and study from one another’s numerous cultures and backgrounds. And empower of us, encourage of us to essentially simply be themselves and perceive who they’re, the place they arrive from, and be the middle of their cultural futures and collective liberation.”
“Future historical” is an idea Sehyun initially discovered from a pal who insisted that “the key to the universe was future historical.” The concept made sense to Sehyun. “I used to be attempting to attach my historical previous after which deliver it with me to the longer term,” Sehyun mentioned. In that means of connection, Sehyun started to grasp Koreans as an indigenous individuals with a 5,000-year-old historical past wealthy in historical traditions and cultural methods of seeing and interacting with the world. He needed to faucet into that, and he needed others to have the chance to faucet into their very own historical cultures and incorporate them into their collective futures.
Sehyun was born in Seattle however that hasn’t stopped him from firmly figuring out as Korean which he spells with a ‘C’ as a type of protest. He says Japanese colonizers changed the C with a Okay to make sure that Korea wouldn’t seem earlier than Japan alphabetically. There’s an depth and confidence in Sehyun’s voice as he recounts Korea’s battle towards oppression: Japanese colonization, the Korean Conflict, western non secular and cultural dominance. There may be additionally a robust sense of loss — he says his tradition was stolen from him.
“Our cultural heritage is our cultural inheritance,” Sehyun mentioned. “It’s the wealth and knowledge and teachings and lifestyle that’s been handed down from technology [to generation] over hundreds of years to present us the life-style and a approach of seeing and being that basically brings out our greatest. You understand? And I really feel just like the poisonous tradition of America is the other, you already know? Prefer it makes you stuffed with concern and doubt and judgmental, and it creates all these situations, like biases and fears and, you already know, no matter psychological issues.”
Each Sehyun’s dad and mom are Korean, however he grew up feeling disconnected from what it meant to be Korean. Traumatized by the Korean Conflict, many in his dad and mom’ technology put aside indigenous Korean methods and embraced Christianity and a pro-military angle. Sehyun was left culturally adrift.
“The struggle messed my dad up and his household massive time,” Sehyun mentioned. “And he wasn’t actually round for my life. … After which my mother, she grew up tremendous Christian and believing that america had saved Korean individuals after they had killed thousands and thousands of our individuals.”
Sehyun made it clear that he loves and respects his mother however that her understanding of Korea’s historical past wasn’t appropriate or affirming. And when he seemed to academic establishments for data, he didn’t discover what he wanted. Even the Korean Conflict, a significant American navy battle, wasn’t talked about in historical past lessons.
It wasn’t till faculty that Sehyun started to reconnect to the historical past of Korea and its indigenous cultural methods. However even then he relied on secondary sources which left him feeling that he’d misplaced “having a direct connection to land and a direct connection to our cultural lecturers.” For Sehyun, it’s as if he must cross a metaphorical border simply to attach to what’s rightfully his. That border restrains entry to his tradition and enormous elements of his household residing in North Korea.
“I’m Korean,” Sehyun mentioned. “And it’s not about simply the nation state of South Korea, North Korea, and geographical boundaries. It’s concerning the tradition and sort of consciousness and way of life and issues that come out of that tradition … .”
Sehyun mentioned that the guts of Korean tradition is Taoism, Shamanism, and Buddhism. Openness, compassion, consciousness, and the flexibility to stay within the stream of life are the non secular tenets that information his each day life, and it’s a tradition he can apply deliberately and totally with out residing in Korea.
“Individuals in energy assume globally and work globally,” Sehyun mentioned. “They usually have complete techniques of oppression setup globally. … In the identical approach that energy extends past borders and creates this actually robust system. I assume in some methods I’m attempting to encourage of us to consider tradition in that approach. … Wherever we’re, we’re creating that [culture]. And it doesn’t exist inside a border that anybody can outline for us, particularly as diasporic individuals or individuals residing as refugees or immigrants.”
The second episode of The Future Historical particularly explores what it’s wish to be stateless in america. For these individuals, tradition should exist with out borders as a result of “no border exists for them” they usually can’t return to their nations of origin. “Once we take into consideration tradition inside these contexts,” Sehyun mentioned. “It actually can’t exist inside a border. In any other case, it gained’t exist in any respect.”
It’s essential to grasp the distinction between cultural genocide and cultural change, Sehyun mentioned. Cultural change comes from inside and is a web profit to the group whereas cultural genocide is pressured upon a bunch by outsiders. Cultural change is evolution whereas cultural genocide is demise. Sehyun mentioned that individuals attempting to outlive cultural genocide should be intentional concerning the cultural practices they embrace in the event that they need to thrive.
“The tradition we’re in is oppositional,” Sehyun mentioned. “We have to create one that’s harmonious and life-giving and nurturing. And I imagine that has already existed in our previous. And so we simply want to search out the blueprint and make it into the current for our futures.”
The Future Historical might be seen on YouTube.
Beverly Aarons is a author and sport developer. She works throughout disciplines as a copywriter, journalist, novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and short-story author. She explores futuristic worlds in fiction but in addition enjoys discovering the tales of modern-day unsung heroes. She’s at present writing an immersive play concerning the themes of migration in addition to a collection of nonfiction tales about strange individuals doing extraordinary issues of their native communities and the world. In August 2018 she produced a live-action sport and occasion the place neighborhood members labored collectively to check an financial future they honestly desired to depart future generations.
Featured picture: The Miyoung Group. (Picture: Che Sehyun)
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