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Crawling Across Borders: Transnational Nationalisms and the Asian Canadian Body in the Video Works of Jin-me Yoon

Title:

Crawling Across Borders: Transnational Nationalisms and the Asian Canadian Body in the Video Works of Jin-me Yoon

Nolte, Victoria (2015) Crawling Across Borders: Transnational Nationalisms and the Asian Canadian Body in the Video Works of Jin-me Yoon. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis is a critical analysis of two multi-site video performances: The dreaming collective knows no history (2008) and As it Is Becoming (2008) by Vancouver-based artist Jin-me Yoon. In both works the artist crawls through or between politically-charged sites in Seoul, South Korea and Beppu, Japan, referencing histories of colonization, civil war, and Cold War politics. Analyzing Yoon’s video performances in conversation with the works of other Korean and Asian North American artists who also centralize the Asian body in their varied practices, my research aims to fill a gap in scholarship on Asian Canadian performance art from a diasporic and critical race lens. This thesis begins by situating these works within interrelated concepts of border crossings and the “diasporic turn” to argue that Yoon’s performing of Korean Canadian is an instance of “debordered” citizenship, a concept that looks to feelings of cultural belonging (within multiple cultural contexts) rather than fixed territorial borders, to form a transnational national identity. From there, I analyze the space of the video screen and present a framework through which to understand how Yoon relates the histories of the Japanese colonial occupation of Korea (1910-45), the Korean War (1950-53), and the traumatic history of the comfort women to a multi-layered narrative of embodiment. The final section brings these arguments together to discuss how negotiations of the cultural, racial, and civil histories of Korean Canadian contribute to struggles for social justice and equal citizenship. By regarding these narratives of history, embodiment, and border crossings through the body, this thesis ultimately concludes that the artist’s act of crawling is an embodied performance of “debordered” citizenship, one that resists racist and essentialist conceptions of the artist’s Korean Canadian identity.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Nolte, Victoria
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:15 April 2015
Thesis Supervisor(s):Jim, Alice Ming Wai
Keywords:Asian Canadian Studies, The Body, Citizenship, Embodiment, Korean Canadian, Korean War, Jin-me Yoon, National Identity, Transnationalism, Video Performance
ID Code:979901
Deposited By: VICTORIA NOLTE
Deposited On:09 Jul 2015 13:49
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:50
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