Difference in Feminism: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha and Post-Colonialism

By Jeehey Kim.

Published by The Arts Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper explores video works of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (1951-1982), who mainly worked as an artist, surrounded not only with the social turmoil of the 70’s on the West Coast, but also with the art scenes of San Francisco Bay Area. The immigrant culture has been an important aspect of the West. This paper investigates how Theresa Hak Kyung Cha opened the space for mixture of genres through her video works, which leads to critical disruption of Western order of things. I will discuss how Cha’s video works disrupt the Western order of things with exploration of various genres, including film, video, writing, and intoning. I think that Cha chose to explore Otherness rather than representing the loss or being in exile or remaining the Other. She chose to trace her fragmented memory and history consciously not as a tool for healing, but as the one for speaking back and disrupting the dominant gaze. I do not deny the suffering of the exiled, but “it is important to see what this predicament does in terms of artistic discourse, whether it is a critical tool to disrupt the dominant system or whether it merely attracts the powerful to entice sympathy,” as Araeen points out. And I believe that Cha belongs to the former.
As an attempt to understand ways in which the artist has intervened in, disrupted, and interrogated both white male- and white female-dominated symbolic order, this paper will explore Cha’s video works in two contexts. One is Feminist exploration of video and the other is a discourse of ‘Echo,’ which Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak explores in terms of post-colonial feminism.

Keywords: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, San Francisco Bay Area, the 70’s on the West Coast, video work, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

The International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.81-92. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 571.281KB).

Jeehey Kim

Doctorate Student, Art History, Graduate School and University Center, City University of New York, Long Island City, New York, USA

EDUCATION 2003-present PhD Art History Graduate Center, City University of New York New York, New York Specialization: 20th-century European and American Art Contemporary media art 1996-2000 BA in English Literature Duksung Women’s University Seoul, Republic of Korea 1997-1998 Exchange Student Caldwell College Caldwell, New Jersey


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