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Friday, June 9 • 11:55am - 12:15pm
Soluble Body: Being Formless as Survival Strategy

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There is an exhaustive amount of misogynist perspective that feeds the production of the objectified images of women, from film tropes to androcentric pornography, from entertainment culture to social structure, which finds its apex in the abyss of male-centric culture. In online world, the flattening of images of women - fetishizing, infantilizing, commodifying - is accelerated with the image circulation system. Once uploaded, an image is embedded, copied and pasted, saved and re-uploaded, cloned and meme-ed in a seemingly infinite cycle. The image loses its context and time. These images are immortal, haunting macho online communities, group chat rooms, and offline secret folders of anonymous voyeurs. These sad undead images are deprived of good rest in peace, destined to be an indefinite index of their hosts.

The pervasive sexual objectification online and the over-simplification and negative categorization of femme identity has been constantly imposed on women as real human beings. One’s story is crushed and flattened into trite female images, deprived of personality and narrative. In South Korean context, this objectification accelerates with the spur of anonymous online communities, films and dramas featuring infantilized female characters, which employ and amplify the punitive and relegating perspectives of misogynist culture.

This web-trauma, a trauma as a child of biased perception and technology, has been circulating through commodification and rapid distribution of images. My research involves examining this ecology: how web-trauma is born, processed, consumed as tragedy, and feeds back to the newborn traumas. This cycle forms within online image distribution system, but also across reality and virtual, as the commodified image fuses with the identities of real human beings.

In transcending the flattened and demeaning perspective on femme identities, fictional storytelling comes in as a methodology that allows to react to such violence: a speculative shield against ontological threats, a self-made ark for potential readers and viewers. The focal point of my storytelling experimentation has been chiefly threefold: the materiality of the screen whether it is through my skin or planar structures; the operation of the interactive screen through utilizing a trigger element for transforming an object into a portal; and the poetic possibility of the personae building and 3d fabrication process.

Experimenting with water-soluble filaments to print the scanned image of my performing body, I suggest a speculative survival narrative for a femme identity in a patriarchal society. This paper aims to unfold my printing experiments and raise the questions I started to ask myself during the process, about the narrative possibility of the printing system and the material dynamics of water-soluble filament. Can a dissolving sculpture signify “being formless”, as a survival strategy for a female body under the risk of constant objectification in this patriarchal world? For the minor identities to happily exist in a society, is it safer to be visible or to be invisible? Can I emancipate myself from objectification by being the subject in a self-fulfilling, self-destructive fantasy?


June Yoon

Lecturer, Inha University

Friday June 9, 2023 11:55am - 12:15pm EDT
ARC E-02