The performance at the New Museum is a variation of Sung Hwan Kim’s In the room 3 (dog I knew) with new sets and props. The performance opens with an excerpt from Rainer Maria Rilke’s poetry and proceeds in a roundabout way to tell a story about being inside the very shape of this circuitous path.
Sung Hwan Kim’s “In the room” series is told through text, film/video, and music (in collaboration with dogr, a.k.a David Michael DiGregorio). The music itself is made with layered voice, ocarina, delay, a sampling keyboard, harmonica, kazoo, pump organ, guitar, mallets, stretched membranous materials, jae-gum (Korean cymbals), and pang-eul (Korean bells). Thickly layered vocal harmonies interweave themselves with other parts of the narrative; a vocalist might turn into a character in the storytelling process, just as the story might turn into music.
In the Sung Hwan Kim’s own words:
“I thought of a room as a box, from which a story vibrates, and I began to think about the constant occupants of rooms. ‘In the room’ series focused on captives (the tortured), an actress on stand-by for her secret lover, a dog, a radio host, a traveler in a city, and so forth as the room occupants (and vibrators of the hidden boxes). I knew that male humpback whales of one population in a breeding season sing the same song, but each time this song is sung, it varies through imitation and improvisation. I thought of both performances and stories within those performances as versions of variations. Plain phenomena are no more exciting than they are, but they are often told otherwise (through exaggeration, deletion, intonation, rhythm, texture of voice, and usage of timbre) as fairy tales, myths, magic, lies, propaganda, history, or sometimes, fact. Summer Days in Keijo, Dog video, and From the Commanding Heights... spun off from this series. Most of the songs from the ‘In the room’ series are published separately as dogr's album, In Korean Wilds and Villages. In this form, I recognize that the authorship of these stories is conferred to another medium, another language, another culture, and another man.”
Please note: There is an additional performance of Sung Hwan Kim’s One from In the Room on November 15 at 3:00 PM.
This production is commissioned by Hyunjin Kim, and supported by Arts Council Korea (ARKO) and Korean Cultural Service, New York.