Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Korean Kite (Yeon)

In Korean history, kite flying is traced back to 637 A.D., during the first year of the reign of Queen Chindok of Silla, when General Kim Yu-Sin used a kite to calm the agitated populace. He launced a kite in the night sky over Kyongju. The kite had a large cotton ball attached that was burning, causing the supertitious people to think it was a falling star soaring up in the sky, and that their misfortunes would soon come to a close. Another general in Korean history, General Ch'oe Yong, of the 14th-century Koryo period utilized kites for shooting fire arms. Admiral Yi Sun-sin used kites in the 16th century as a fast way to inform the naval troops of his strategic instructions, flying kites having different pictures signaling tactics to use, while fighting the Japanese invaders.
Different from the history, I am going to make and decorate a kite and then film it as I fly it. It is going to be simple 10-minute film of the kite in the sky, following the movement of the kite. The film is going to play over and over on a screen hung on the ceiling of a gallery. To watch the movie, viewers will need to lie down on a large bench that is meant to represent the kind of platform that Koreans use outdoors for picnics. It is occasionally placed in the yard of a house or under a tree. The project is about sharing my memories of childhood with growing up on the outskirts of Seoul, Korea in 1970s and '80s.

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