Michael was a good neighbor.
An exhibition by the 48th group of MAK Center Artists and Architects-in-Residence.
September 05, 2019, 7–9pm
September 6th and 7th, 11AM – 6PM
During her time in Los Angeles, Jeehee Park explored Koreatown, with focus to the idea of a replica of a city within another. For this series, Park has made casts of art deco motifs found around Koreatown and created sculptures using organic materials such as beef fat and spices. The work sheds light on a nostalgia-driven area that has been built and rebuilt, all the while leaving intact a relationship between the original and contemporary Koreatown.
Historical facts found in books and records are not particularly consistent with the genuine Koreatown, as that narrative has been defined from the outside and doesn’t mirror the lived experience of its residents. Koreatown is neither the past nor the future of the region, but rather layers of innumerable memories of Korea itself. It’s with this in mind that Park has researched and explored the neighborhood as a place that is constantly in flux, inconsistent, and largely transient.
Food has been at the forefront of Koreatown since its inception. In this work, Park has considered the nuances of how the individual experiences eating and cooking based on accumulated memories and data from their own life experiences. “It doesn’t taste right” echoes through the restaurants of Koreatown, but when it comes to “authentic” or regional, home-cooked food, our personal chronology acts as a foundation which becomes difficult to depart from.
Peter Behrbohm and Markus Buehler (Flying Holes) have embarked on an expedition to the center of the world along the infrastructure of the internet. They have traced the route of “Operation Columbia,” a ten mile-long motorcade of grey cars that began in Los Angeles, ending in Vancouver in 1947 to promote the ideas of Technocracy Inc., an organization aiming for a society based on technology and sharing, to be led by scientists and engineers, rather than politicians and businessmen.
Assisted by an artificial search dog, Behrbohm and Buehler conducted atmospheric research in proximity to large data fields, surveyed the clouds, and measured emission data, exploring the Internet’s psychogeography. Crawling into data centers or virtual archives, boarding cable vessels and crossing paths with pioneers, natives, and Technocrat ghosts, they pose questions regarding a society that spares no pain to achieve its electronic dreamscape, as a world that was once meant to feel connected morphs into a fragmented wasteland of servient infrastructure.
Since the 2016 U.S. presidential campaigns and elections, there has been a substantial rise in cognizance around the U.S./Mexico border wall and the politics which surround it. The border wall, or as many now refer to it, the “Trump Wall” is one of the largest public works programs in the last decade.
Wall designs vary from location to location. In cities where the border goes through urban areas, you’ll generally find a mere pedestrian fence, while in other locations walls reach thirty to fifty feet. Border towns such as San Diego/Tijuana, Calexico/Mexicali, and El Paso/Juarez are more heavily monitored due to increased attempts to cross in these areas. To avoid detainment in these cases, “coyotes” carefully cut holes through the fence at night using battery-powered tools for migrants to cross through. The next morning, Border Patrol arrives to patch and weld the new opening.
Ovidiu Anton documented this “cat-and-mouse” game during his residency with the MAK Center and created a series of works which focuses on the Calexico/Mexicali border wall. He began by measuring and recreating the main grid of the fence on construction paper. Anton considered why and how the holes are patched the way that they are and studied the disparate processes Border Patrol employs, such as welding various pieces together or the use of landing mats, which is a surplus material of the U.S. Army dating back to the Vietnam War.