I am faced with a choice of images: the difference between a smart suit and a pair of overalls, a leather skirt and a cotton dress, is not just one of fabric and style, but one identity








          But because we chose it in the first place, the object reveals more about us than we do about it.









                         ︎
Alice H. Jung           

Rhode Island School of Design
Sculpture (BFA) 2006-2010

University of California Los Angeles 
Design Media Arts (MFA) 2015-2017







Faking it


Alice  H.  Jung




“Who am I?” is one of the most fundamental questions human beings have always been asking.  The question of who you are and who you can be are the main questions I have been asking myself ever since I was a little kid. I used to play by “dressing-up” like an adult or a cartoon character and enacting that character. Imagination was unfolded during the play as if I were an actor on a set. I created a world that didn’t exist all by myself or with my playmates. We played different identities, became different characters, and changed roles; We repeated this play again and again until we all had taken turns for different characters. Becoming someone other than who you are and swapping identities: We all do that. Plus, using imagination for such things seems to be a human nature. But why do we do that? Why do we ‘waste’ our imagination for such things? It’s probably related to the fundamental question of ‘who am I?’ I was born in Los Angeles, California, raised in Tucson, Arizona, and grew up in Seoul, South Korea. I received my undergraduate degree from Rhode Island School of Design and worked in India and Korea for five years. Now I am back in Los Angeles, the city of my origin. I’ve travelled to different parts of the world,  and I become malleable to each person I meet and each environment I encounter. Each time I visit a new place, I felt like given a new character just like when I was young. I tend to forget who I originally was and play along with a new character I created. Sometimes a new character develops as the dialogue does along with people around me.
Being an Asian American woman living in a multicultural society has raised the following questions in my mind: what does it mean to be “me”? What does it mean to be a woman? It may be a simple answer, but to think about it, Being a woman biologically is different from being a woman in a social context. I have tried to be ‘feminine’ to fit social images of a woman. It has been interesting but frustrating at the same time. Simone Beauvoir, a French existentialist, explains explicitly that “being” a woman is not about the biological (sex), but about being gendered according to a role a society impopses as upon a woman. I was so used to “faking” myself into something I was not that I decided to talk about these issues. There is subculture called ‘cosplay’ which developed in Japan. The word is a shortened form of ‘costume play’. In cosplay, people dress up like characters of games, manga, animation and even novels. I was heavily involved in cosplay for a few years when I was a teenager. I wanted to escape from reality. I dressed up like nearly one hundred different characters during this time period. Transforming to someone else each time. Soon after I grew out of it, I became interested in molding myself in real life. I used to go to bars or clubs where I could meet complete strangers and disguise as someone other than who I am. I introduced myself as Jane and made up my age, school, major, and even where I was from. This became a habit and addiction. It was a way of escaping from myself in real life.



“Why do I exist? What is the point of existence? Why live when you’re going to die anyway?” Struggling with these ideas for a few years, I started to accept my depression and who I am as a person. However, I felt that the society that I was in required people to have a goal, which is to be happy. I therefore acted as though I was happy. I forced myself to smile and to pretend to accept people.  Unfortunately, I hated it.
I hated myself for “faking it”. So I thought to myself, why don’t I become somebody else (again) and forget about hating myself? I started to stare at people and take notes: I practiced becoming like them when I had chances. I ended up mimicking other people as an art practice and it became my major project. The more I got into their characters, the better I realized I noticed differences between me and others.  It is not about how far I become similar to other people, but about how different I am from other people: I felt the differences between myself and other people makes me who I am. These gaps define who I am. Since I realized this I have begun to explore the fundamental gaps that separate me from other people. What makes me “me”? And what makes you “you”? How do we differ from each other even though we are of the same human species? Gender, race, cultural background, sex, gestures, the food we eat, lifestyle and so many other things need to be explored if we want to understand a human being. We are all different in our own quirky ways. It’s differences among people that excites me.
                     





                  Alice H. Jung


Rhode Island School of Design
Sculpture (BFA) 2006-2010

University of California Los Angeles,
Design Media Arts (MFA) 2015-2017


IN•BETWEEN (2014)


VIDEO
INSTALLATION

GENTLE MONSTER
http://www.gentlemonster.com/

A narrow hallway was covered with mirrors on both walls and the ceiling. Eight televisions at the end of the hallway were displaying Chinese character (會者定離 去者必返) and playing Hollywood movies in the background. The Chinese characters mean,“Those who meet will part, and those who go will comeback.” When viewers walk in, lights turn on and mirrors show infinite reflections of themselves, Chinese characters, and movie clips, symbolizing what we experience with other human beings again and again throughout our lives-meeting and parting.

















CHANTING FOR “DADA IK SEON” (2015)


PERFORMANCE


Nam June Paik’s “Dada Ik Seon”
http://kentmaxwell.info/3905/Dadaikseon.html


Performance with customized traditional Korean Hanbok with Sapulie cloth.

The Salpulie cloth is more Shamanist to use chanting and letting bad spirits go away. 












BABEL (2016)


VIDEO
PERFORMANCE 

ba·bel
/ˈbāb(ə)l/
noun
a confused noise, typically that made by a number of voices: "the babel of voices on the road"

music composed by Ben Florio



YOUR STEREOTYPICAL ASIAN GIRL (2016)

PHOTOGRAPHY
PERFORMANCE

The work examines stereotypes of Asian women and their portrayal in media. There are stereotypes wherever we go. It is unavoidable. When I become a stereotype of certain culture, I get offended (I try not to, but I do.) and I couldn’t help but become cynical about stereotyping culture especially in the Western society. Now that the president of my country, Trump, is an extreme racist, it is even more difficult to stand what is going on with stereotypes underpinning racism. I wanted to comment upon what the Western society superimposed onto representations of Asian women, specifically in pornography, video games, and animations, and how it affects everyday lives.
This is still an on-going project on a media platform called Instagram where photography is the main source. I dress up as a “stereotypical Asian woman” in multiple styles to reveal existing stereotypes of Asian women. My goal is to break stereotypes and misconceptions of Asian American women. I speak as a woman, but more specifically as an Asian American woman. Feminism isn’t all about theories applicable only to White women. Feminism should include different races, culture, backgrounds, knowledge and experiences.