As an independent focus project in our Art Revolution class, Simone, Natasha, and I decided to create a Wish Tree and transparent balls with pictures of Athenian community (4/15/2013 ~ 4/25/2013). Our very first idea for the project was an art work associated with bubbles. Though we did not have a specific plan for bubbles, the symbol of bubbles was so important and profound that bubbles became a part of our actual project at the end. Each member of Athenian community, from middle and upper school student to faculty member, has a distinct background (nationality, ethnicity, area, etc.) as well as his or her personality. In other word, Athenians live in their own “bubbles.” Living in our own bubbles not only diversifies entire community, but also enriches the quality of education we get. However, there is a time when people feel invisible barriers among them because of their difference. To show an existence of those bubbles in our community, we printed out pictures of community we took, cut it in circle shapes via circle cutter, and placed them inside 35 transparent balls. Then, we put those transparent bubbles with photos on eight trees (4~5 bubbles per each tree) that surround a quad area, the center of Athenian campus.
The other part of a final project was a Wish Tree (the central tree in the quad area). Inspired by an original piece by Yoko Ono, we wanted individuals’ wishes flourishing in the community; in that way, we could promote a sense of hope that leads to spiritual fulfillment of a wish. We prepared index cards which were used as leaves and strings. During morning meeting we announced our project to promote huge participation from the community and taped down papers about a wish tree all around the campus. Then, we put a box containing sharpies, index cards, and strings in front of the tree.
The project went much better than what I expected to be. A great amount of people joined us to put their wishes on the tree. We even had wish from middle school students during their lunch time. As we looked around the tree, we found many wish about “not failing” test, world peace, happiness, friendship, and love. Furthermore, we got positive comments on transparent balls hanging around the area. Through this project, I felt creating a community project required huge amount of works, including planning, creating, promoting, and getting feedbacks from participants.
Last Thursday, Jan. 17, our art revolution class and I went to Walnut Creek for another art action field trip. We did Tai Chi, a type of Chinese Martial Arts, at fountain (in front of Cheesecake factory). Since last Tuesday, we had planned and prepared for this art action. Before thinking what we would do for art action, we chose Walnut Creek for location since it is close to school and more comfortable to perform art action than Blackhawk, the other choice. I do not remeber when and how Taichi brought up to our discussion for new art action. Performing Tai Chi for community art was definitely interesting as well as unclear to me; I did not understand how Tai Chi could be an art action that involves “community.” However, I tried my best to learn Tai Chi in two days through Youtube videos. Even though I had practiced Tai Chi and literally started at Youtube videos about Tai Chi for a long time, still I could not perform any part of Tai Chi without looking at those videos. Then, the day for art action came and we arrived at Walnut Creek.
Before perfoming as a whole, few classmates did first and later others including myself joined the group. We circled around the fountain and followed the movements of one person and then the other person next to her/him and so on… Surprising thing was that I actually felt comfortable and confident doing this art action! Disappointment still existed in this project because I was not well-prepared to lead a movement and make others follow my actions. Interestingly, I felt this art acion was something that I was fully committed to perform since I was enjoying doing Tai Chi with entire class. Of course, I felt as if the preparation for this art action was adequate enough, though in reality, we just prepared only in two to three days.
For next art actions, I would like to do it as a whole class again. In fact, I feel doing art action with more people feel effective, confident, and convenient. Next time I want to be more prepared and have longer time to plan.
Never do things others can do and will do if there are things others do or will not do.
Obviously I faced the possibility of not returning when first I considered going. Once faced and settled there really wasn’t any good reason to refer to it.
This stencil, an image of Amelia Earhart and the word “COURAGE,” is meant to produce in order to encourage bravery and courage actions to this society where people tend to stay in the stable boundary rather than taking risks for future. The stencil is embedded in two t-shirts (one above in white t-shirt and the other below in pink t-shirt).
First stencil on white t-shirt turned out well but unfortunately, the second stencil failed because the t-shirt was not thick enough to prevent paints(especially blue) spreading throughtout the stencil.
#4 Social and Community Intentions
Through my artwork, I want to express an idealstic world where people have mutual-respect towards friends, families, others, and other CULTURES. Additionally, I want to show the power of small mustard seeds; though those seeds are really small that it is hard to recognize them, they will later beocme large trees. As Ki-Tae Park, a founder of VANK, with his five seeds or five big hopes became an important person not only in our community, but also in Korea, our small inspirations, hopes, and desires can also become bigger tree with a large positive impact on society and numerous accomplishments. What does VANK want to create? We want to create the world full of peace, global friendships, dreams, etc.
# COMMUNITY IMAGES
#3 What will I creat as an art project? An Overview of the Project
“The mustard seed is small, but brings forth a large tree, and the fowls lodge in the branches” – Bible
The story of VANK can be described by six stages of development: Seed → Taking Root → Bud → Luxuriant Branches → Luxuriant Leaves → Nesting Birds. (details available at http://korea.prkorea.com/wordpress/english/2012/03/09/story-of-vank/)
I want to create an idealisic world represented by seeds(individuals’ hopes), trees(the growth of those hopes and accomplishment), and a diverse forest(idealistic world where people have friends from another cultural zone, nationality, …). Since it will be difficult to make this project with real trees and forests, I will either find fake trees and forests(toys, legos, etc.) or make trees and forests with clay in a small scale.
STEP 1: CREATE INDIVIDUALS WITH REAL MUSTARD SEEDS ATTACHED INTO THEIR HEADS(OR THEIR HEARTS)
*it will be a great idea if i actually gets pictures of VANK members and put it into miniatures of people
–> Step 1 represents our members with mustard seeds(that symbolize hopes and wishes) that will later grow up to be big trees.
STEP 2: BIG TREE with buds and fruits
–> Step 2 represents VANK as a whole with individual dreams come together as big objectives and accomplishments.
*make sure trees symbolize diversity and multi-cultural understanding with diverse leaf colors, size, etc.
It will be great if each tree represents each culture that exists in the world. (but it may be time-consuming work)
OVERALL SKETCH DRAWING OF THIS PROJECT –>
<– Left picture is the prototype of the forest I want to create.
* Professional visual artwork that provides motivation to my art project
This world (wall) map is previously created by VANK with professional visual artists. As you look closer, you can notice the obvious difference between this map and a normal map. This map is reversed (Southern hemisphere is located at the top!)
This map motivates me since it is telling people to look the world in different ways. “A Multi-cultural understanding” is the theme I am going to express through my art work.
As a spring community project in Art Revolution class, I would like to work with VANK(Voluntary Agency of South Korea), a community that I have been involved since sixth grade.
# What is VANK?
VANK is a cyber dimplomatic organization and its members mainly work online via their personal blogs, VANK website, Friendly Korea Community(a part of VANK) Websie, facebook, youtube, etc. As representatives of Korea, members have their own special mission to create friends around the world and at the same time portray correct information, particularly distorted historical facts, about Korea. (More information about VANK available at http://korea.prkorea.com/wordpress/english/2012/03/06/about-vank/)
Ki-Tae Park or VANK dan-jang-nim(how members call him in Korean) is the most important person in this community. In fact, without him VANK will not exist.
Park was not a smart student nor talented person when he was in high school. He ended up going a small community college while majoring in Japanese language and culture.
He started VANK in 1999 when he exchanged an e-mail with a foreign friend for homework assignment in community college. Park was shocked his foreign fried knew very little about Korea and possessed incorrect information about Korea. (Though Korea is becoming one of powerful nations in global economy and international relations, Korea was not a well-known country at the end of 1990s.) He started to dream that if one Korean had five foreign friends and was able to teach them correct information about Korea, one day, six billion friends around the world would have a holisitc understanding of Korea. Thus Korea would be able to be a “friend” of the world, after creating close relationships with other countries.
The most important lesson from how he created VANK is that Park wasn’t a special man; he was not born into wealthy family; he was not a talented and smart student in his schools; he ended up going to community college but his dream let him inspire more than thousands of Korean students to change Korea and the world.
I met him last summer at an off-line meeting. Park emphasized the importance of “mustard seeds.” Mustard seed is known as the smallest seed in the world. However, if the seed successfully grows up, it will become a large tree. Park said he found five important mustard seeds in his life; for instance, the first seed represents the old Japanese lady who motivated Park to create the website where people around the world can be friends of each other.
On last Thursday, my classmates and I went to UC Berkeley Sproul plaza for our first art action. Before we went to Sproul plaza, we planned our art project, specifically about outfits, the message we wanted to express, and the performance. First of all, we decided to wear masks for privacy; there would be a possibility that someone we know would recognize us during our art action. Then, we determined to wear all black outfits including shoes since wearing the same color of outfits would make our performance noticeable to other. Finally, we decided to do the followings: mirror the partner; if some people are walking near us, mirror (imitate) them. In my opinion, the message we wanted to convey was answering the question “who am I” through “self-reflection” mirrored by us.
On that day of performance, I was little bit nervous and anxious. It seemed hard to interact with people I have not met before. In addition, our art action might not turn out to be the same thing we had planned; for example, what if people do not understand the purpose and the message we want them to know? Doesn’t this performance make some people angry and scared when they realize strangers with the masks and all black outfits imitating themselves? Moreover, there would be a possibility of rain.
Unfortunately, it rained on that day; additionally, there was a rally in Sproul Plaza. Despite of hard conditions, we tried to perform. My partner and I sat down on a bench and imitated each other for about ten to fifteen minutes. As soon as we felt comfortable to interact with others, we stood beside the trees and while mirroring each other, we searched for people. Then, it suddenly rained and we stopped at that moment.
The things that worked well were cooperation with a partner, creativity in terms of planning the action, and passion to express our action to a large number of audiences. On the other hand, the things that did not work well were not considering other factors, such as a rally and the weather. Though we did not completely perform our action, I defined our performance as a success since all of us were brave and creative.