“Politics of the Stammer, Poetics of Sound: Lee Chonghwa and the Inheritance of Colonial Memory”
Brett de Bary, Professor of the Department of Comparative Literature and Asian Studies, Cornell University
Moderated by Yongwoo Lee, Assistant Professor in the Department of East Asian Studies, New York University
Monday, April 24, 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
New York University, 19 University Place, Room 102
The paper will consider the writings and curatorial projects of Lee Chonghwa, poet/philosopher born in Jeju, Korea, who lives and works in Japan. Transmission of the traumatic memories of suffering under colonialism to those who have not experienced it has been a consistent theme of Lee’s work. Yet as a poet Lee has insisted that access to the past is never direct, but always mediated, through sound, language, writing. With regard to the so-called “comfort women,” for example, she has focused on “the stammer,” criticizing the inherent violence in the gaze of a majority who expect transparent testimony from the victim. Similarly, in her curatorial “Asia, Art, Politics” project, Lee has emphasized the role of aesthetic mediation. There, she brings together young artists who, in videos, performances, and installations that evoke memories of colonialism in Taiwan, Okinawa, and Korea that they know only indirectly, seek to overcome nationalism and forge new modes of political solidarity in Asia.