Can’t live Without (2017-)


<Can’t live Without> is an ongoing project that originates from my research on art archives and their social context in Korea during International Artist Residency Program at Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA).


Can’t live Without

Single-channel video | 19’47” | 16:9 | color | with sound



By employing artistic research and representation, the body of work sheds light on how power structure influences pattern of archival practice and historical narratives. The filmatic sequence is consisted of five chapters, which covers a rhizomatic network of social movement, language, mythology, geography and archival discipline. The apparent free association of diverse topics finally draws attention to the same spot.


The project is comprised of videography, text and publication. 

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Sound and video installation

Dimension variable



After Second World War, the local film industry was being revitalized and reformatted based on People’s Republic of China cultural policy; by integrating small to medium scale  film companies established by Chinese Communist government, Kuomintang, Manchukuo (滿洲國) and Japanese,  Changchun Film Studio Group Corporation  (長春電影製片廠) became one of the representatives to produce official propaganda films under Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (中共中央宣傳部) in post-war period. Battle on Shangganling Mountain (<上甘嶺>, 1956, Dir. Shan Lin) was the early film depicting Battle of Triangle Hill / Shangganling (上甘戰役嶺 |삼각 고지 전투). The film glorifies the heroic act of People's Volunteer Army (中國人民志願軍) and its victory over United Nations Army in the Korean War in 1952; despite the number of causality and bloody contest in the battle, the film featured poetic aspect of self-sacrifice of infantrymen, which was extensively edited with montage of beautiful nature scenery along the mountain range.


I visited Cheorwon-gun and DMZ for those nature scenery, though it is likely those nature shots were taken outside Korea or in China. By dusk, I arrived at a valley that was closed to Triangle Hill and also the border betweem South and North Korea.  By that time, an announcement was made by North Korean military, due to the geography of valley, the sound echoed throughout the mountains, murmuring like a soliloquy. After getting a brief translation of that announcement, I reviewed my intention of such field research trip, which was an investigation of PRC patriotic and idealistic discourse through moving images; on the other hand, the North Korean public announcement creates a second layer onto the historical and political narrative, which fully demonstrates the tension between North and south, also shares similar eloquent quality with Battle on Shangganling Mountain.


On the next day of my field research trip on 28 August 2017, North Korea launched intercontinental missiles to east of Hokkaido, Japan; in the following week, Pyongyang declared a “great success” on Hydrogen Bomb test.

© 2020 by LEE KAI CHUNG