Here There and Everywhere: Anticipating the Art for the Future
People: Part III   Culture

English Obsession, JinBo*
Jin Soo Kim • USA
  Bohyung Kim • South Korea

About their collaborative piece, Bohyung Kim writes,
“Our project aims to investigate the social, personal and cultural impact of the obsession with English in Korean society. In this time of international travel and borderless life where English is considered the ‘world language,’ there is an increased desire and pressure on individuals to master English in order to become competitive and successful. This reality is acutely felt in Korea where English has become far more than a communication tool: It represents power, wealth, class, international security, advancement, opportunity, distinction, etc. Many young children are enrolled in English kindergartens even before they develop their mother tongue and start to assume [an] alternative identity—Jimin becomes Jenny; Sujin, Sue; Jaewon, Jason, and so forth. Moms willingly address each other as ‘Mike mom,’ ‘David mom’ or ‘Lisa mom.’ Many parents send children off to English speaking countries during vacation or for part of the school year in the hopes that their young ones will learn English quickly and more efficiently… “This obsession for command of a foreign language, English, is changing many facets of contemporary Korean life on a collective level as well as a personal one. ‘Gee-reo-gi Appa,’ which translates to ‘wild goose father,’ exemplifies the depth of this craze for English. This term was coined to describe fathers who stay behind in Korea and work while the mother and children temporarily move to an English speaking country in order to obtain language skills. “Since language affects one’s ways of thinking and the relationship with the world around him/her, this project attempts to examine the social phenomenon of English obsession and its influences. What does this phenomenon reveal about us and how do we deal with the social/ cultural conditions of our times?” To date the artists, “have started to gather stories of English acquisition at private academies and are interviewing elementary students who are striving to become better at English. We also have interviews of Korean moms [coping] with desperate measures to become more competitively ‘international.’”
At this point, the artists imagine that their work will result in a film or video that will consist of documentaries and still images.
* “JinBo,” the artists write, “refers to both of our first names. Whatever projects we collaborate on, we attach JinBo to the title.”

Exhibition Venues:
The Ringling College’s Selby Gallery • Saratoga, Florida, USA
February 2009
Distinguished as Sarasota’s premier gallery for contemporary visual arts, Ringling College’s Selby Gallery is a professional on-campus exhibition space that serves as both a center of learning and hub of extracurricular activity. The 3,000-square-foot gallery presents major exhibitions by nationally and internationally celebrated artists, designers, illustrators and photographers from diverse cultural backgrounds as well as provides community programming in the form of lectures, forums, panel discussions and performing arts events.

Factory • Seoul, South Korea
Dates: TBA (2009)
Factory, an art space and art consulting office, was founded in 2002, primarily to introduce different genres of fine art, design and the performing arts as well as to develop design products by artists. Factory seeks to be a vital cultural resource for the city of Seoul and to serve constituencies beyond Seoul with its educational programs, project-based public art projects, publications and international exchange programs.