Okin Collective

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* E-mail :
yijoungmin@hotmil.com (Joungmin Yi)
circuswoman@gmail.com (Hwayong Kim)

Okin is a group of artists concerned with issues of spatial regeneration, intervention and collaboration. The name Okin references the famous Okin-Dong site redevelopment and the associated process of tearing down the existing buildings.
Through their activities, the group excavates the complexities associated to conflicting temporalities, topologies and agendas. Okin’s first public event, Okin OPEN SITE precariously held at the demolition site itself, functioned to highlight the situation and the discrepancies between individual and corporate power. In addition, it had the added functionality of performing as a ‘conceptual wake’: the ability to recognize the importance of something, celebrate its existence, lament its disappearance and, in doing so, enact the ability to move on, not as an act of leaving behind, but of carrying forward.
Given the state many of the apartments were left in (several seeming to have been abandoned without a chance of salvaging possible objects of sentimental value) the Okin collective seems to have taken on this ritual that those displaced were unable to perform. This ‘operating in the absence of the other ‘(which is neither for nor on behalf of the other) raises relevant questions regarding notions of memory, interference and engagement, archiving, and interchangeability of experience while testing the value of artistic activity.

_ Claudia Pestana, Former NJP Curator



Okin Collective_ Shiu Jin, Hwayong Kim, Joungmin Yi

Act 1 Scene 3: “Um… I am a shit.”

Casts: Okin Collective (voice only), Bicard (Institutional critique, political artist, age 39), Arti (minimal, conceptual, performance artist, age 35), Feceys (Aesthetics major student, age 33)
Dark stage. You can overhear the voices of the Okin Collective members explaining their project, <Operation, “For Something White and Cold”> from behind the wall. They are asking to participate in their project that is sort of a flash mop executed as a part of the exhibition, << Public Discourse Sphere_After effects of Neo-liberalism>> and wanted people to review materials. Soon, you can hear exchanging good-byes and fading footsteps. Lights fade in and artistBicardandFeceys holding a piece of paper appear on the stage on which a table and chairs are placed.

Bicard : (as closing studio door,) let’s have some coffee. Arti is going to come in a minute so we should talk about Okin Collective together then. The previous project of Okin dealt with the social issue of the apartment residents who were marginalized from the redevelopment project. They turned the apartment into artists’ studio flats. I could really feel the deep scars engraved by the redevelopment as are filled with the traces of residents who used to live there. Considering the fact that they present the sense of actual site that museums normally can’t, and that they denounces the malady of capitalism are in line with my work, the criticism of system, so I guess I should participate in this .
Feceys : God is …… dead.
Bicard : Huh? What the f**k are you talking about?
Feceys : (Timidly) Philosophers today say, “God is already or has already been dead all along.’
Bicard : God? Course God is dead. Do you know how long have I missed a decent meal? I’ve been living on instant noodles!
Feceys : Things must’ve gone worse for you. I mean, you told me that you are kicked out of your place due to the redevelopment project. May I treat you, then?
Bicard : Nope. Need to lose some weight. (Doing push-ups.) An artist should at least have a pretty body if he doesn’t have the pretty face.
Feceys :” I’ll ask you again later when you’re hungry. Arti is getting late. Saying the God has always been dead is not about saying something alive is now dead but is like playing with words to explain the form of existence under the condition that a meaning cannot be complete.
Bicard : Wow. Someone has been studying. The first thing that artists should do is to read a lot and also keep promises. Where is Arti? He always drifts away and building a castle in the air. He
should try to be on time first.
Feceys : Would it mean that the God is dead that now the people rule the world? It must mean something else because it’s about the humanistic age of science like 100 years ago… What would be the relationship between saying ‘God is dead’ and saying ‘a meaning cannot be complete?’
Bicard : dunno. Isn’t something like we never had any bastard to trust, huh?
Feceys : Wouldn’t it be about a community amongst people in the absence of an absolute being such as God or ideology? I am talking about this out of curiosity the performance Okin is planning this time, the performance of building a temporary community through flash mop can be connected with recent philosophical discourse. They say the God is dead and I hope it’s somewhat different from ‘expecting outcomes by setting some kind of concrete ideological goal.’ That also might not be something we must trust, right? I think it should be distinguished from collusion. I hope it shows some different consideration than the ideological code of conduct in the past.
Bicard : (Looking at a piece of paper that looks as though Okin Collective gave him) It says, ‘Okin Collective contemplates the exploration within harsh urban space, study and play,hospitality, the gentle penetration and intervention between the arts and everyday living.’ The “hospitality and gentle intervention” must mean the establishment of a reconciliatory relationship between art and society. It would not be wrong to interpret it as a ‘community’, wouldn’t it?
Feceys : Okinonce said that they won’t overlook the delicate difference from each member. Isn’t the “hospitality” they talk about a place where they might find the potentiality for deliberating something that people have missed out before?
Bicard : Shove the delicateness in your ass. And where the hell is the delicate artist? Why is Arti late? He thinks he is something better than us after winning the Artist of the Year award? (Just then, Arti opens door making squeaky noise and comes in.)
Arti : God! I’m really sorry. I ran into the director on the way.
Bicard : It’s all right. Everybody is late sometimes. I even had a tea with the director yesterday. We were talking about philosophical stuff before you came. We were assessing the position of Okin’s project in the contemporary art discourse. You missed something big! Ha haha
Arti : Uh oh, I see. I missed something very interesting indeed. Hearing that the title is “Operation-For Something White and Cold” It is so inspirational. Sorry, Feceys, I’m late.
Feceys : You’re not that late. We were talking about the objectives of Okin’s. Since they use the word, “hospitality”, and if it implies warm consideration toward each and every one in the participants who once has been alienated by the aesthetics in the past but now the situation is revered and they are alienating us, then it would be coherent to the ‘community’ we talked about. Would it mean “equality?”
Bicard : An artist must have his own voice, or a brand. How can we listen to everyone? That would make no point but screw up. Are they running out of ideas or trying to induce activeness that way? Or is it the perfection of democracy?
Feceys : I think it’s about the potentiality. Why don’t we start from Democracy is also dead since God is dead?”
Bicard : What on earthdemocracyis d-d-uh……uh…… uh……d e a d?
Arti : I think the white and the cold have something to do with the exhibition structure.
Feceys : It also sounds like anything else than the cause. Would it be surplus?”
Bicard : Are you talking about socialism?
Feceys : The “surplus” is not an exclusive Marxist term any more. Shouldn’t we consider democracy or Marxism as one of the absolute being that aimed for absolute ideas?
Bicard : Dude, Let’s not open that door. If that is true, then you should say men are also worthless to trust since all of those were created by man. We shouldn’t do this bull shits. Look at Arti. All he talks about is day dreams but has strong belief in the arts. Once born to a human being, then man should have a meaningful life, OK?
Arti : It’s not a daydream.
Feceys : Um…. I’m shit. If we are to be approved as human beings only when we have some kind of meaning or purpose, then it would be disappointing.
Bicard : ha haha Why don’t you call yourself feces like your name? It’s a bit better.
Arti : The white wall of the galleries gives me the embarrassingly cold eyes that I often fight back tears. Don’t we need to give some warmth of our artistic souls? Why doesn’t Okin give out any detail about this project?
Bicard : Are they throwing mystery card for they are artists, too? I might hold on answering them till that assh**es explain the details. I have my reputation to save. What if it ruins my identity?
Arti : I want the audience to feel sensual or spiritual sublimation.
Feceys : I also feel the happiest when people are empathetic for what I think. Then again, the mechanism of art doesn’t work by simply teaching others the thoughts. Not that the artists would want to turn into businessmen treating the audience or curator like their kings or client….. If we go back to the idea of the “community” then everyone should be equal at the level of “feces” not “kings.” The sharing something artistic which begins at the place might be the meaning of amongst human beings on the condition that God (is) has been dead… But I was ambivalent when I called myself shit. Half of it was a joke and the other half was also dead serious. I would feel all right being shit today but I wouldn’t know how I will feel tomorrow and also I wish it is okay if I do not have to become a crap to tell the truth.
Arti : Come on. Would Okin suggest us to be equal at the level of the shit? I guess they meant to say the artistic sublimation is also as “surplus” as “crap.” (The ring tone, “All by Myself” is played)
Feceys : Hello? Oh, Okin. Any trouble getting back? ......I see! (After exchanging few words, hangs up the phone)
Feceys : They want us to pay attention to the phrase on the board, You can apply for this performance just relying on the minimum information available to you on e.g. operation title, objectives and Okin collective. The nature of the act can be only identified through participation.”The minimum information must mean the participant should come solely based on their understanding of the objectives of Okin. I guess I wasn’t that wrong about that “something” people can depend on each other through. I think they are testing the faith toward other human beings apart from ideologies, morals, or material interest for they said the moral is what committed based either law or interests while ethics then something without.
Bicard : They are doing this as a part of <<Public Discourse Sphere>> show, right? So they mean to twist the mechanism of public discourse, huh?
Feceys : The way I see it they are twisting the sphere than the public discourse.
Arti : I want to participate If I can do a performance piece of white and cold. There must be a way to convey humanist soul into it.
Bicard : Is ethics different from moral?
Arti : I believe that humanity is the most ethical thing and irreducibly constitutional.
Feceys : nah…. It is shit, though. (Farts.)
Bicard : Oh, God! Man! Get out of here! Yuck! It’s disgusting! At least crack the windows! (Kick’s Feceys’ chair.)
Arti : You’re trying very hard to be humane.
Feceys : Actually I’ve been holding it all along. I just couldn’t decide when to go. Well, when I was talking on the phone earlier, it felt like Okin’s project is reminding us of ourselves. We have different thoughts but we still became friends, didn’t we? Today we talk about Okin but we will be talking about something else tomorrow for another reason. We will go our own way and come back to be together. The reason we continue to see each other is not because we are crap but because of something else, something meaningless like crap. We don’t have a common goal, but we are already a sort of community that willingly gave a room for something surplus for we shared this place to look at our different viewpoints. If we name it with word like art or equality, then it would be too simplifying it and I don’t think we should do so. I’ll just play the role of being surplus or the role of yucky fart. Ha haha
Bicard : Go take a crap. You mean the community is a test ground for the new angle looking at the arts in today’s discourse, right? Since the advancement of media reconstructed the personal relationship, consequences are that the concepts like what art is and what is aesthetic are also changing. This was the reason I became interested in institutional critique in the arts. This project might give me a clue. They said they would contact through the SNS, right? It would be an experiment whether the online community would also work offline while online one has been only formed temporarily according to personal preference.
Arti : I don’t want my final goal to be equality, ethics, ideology, or anti-ideology. I definitely not want to be crap. But I must have liked living a human being doing hard work like art and passing smelly gas, too.
A few days later, white and cold snow fell and they received Okin’s messages late at night, it is said that they shoveled the snow in their own ways in the village where the exhibition was held, then shared the fish cake soup.

Extracted from <Praise of Feces> by Shin Hyunjin(independent curator)