13th Gwangju Biennale — Minds Rising Spirits Tuning

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Spirits Rising: Anti-Systemic Kinship in Korea

Spirits Rising: Anti-Systemic Kinship in Korea

With Laurel Kendall, Seong Nae Kim, Yang Jong-sung, and Yoon Yeolsu

February 23, 2021
3am–5am CET / 11am–1pm KST

Please click here to watch the recording of the session.

“Spirits Rising: Anti-Systemic Kinship in Korea” investigates somatic practices, ritual systems, and formations of collective care as they relate to shamanism across the divided Korean peninsula and its transgressive potential. Laurel Kendall, anthropologist and curator, discusses the work of Korean shamans as a living and vital social practice that addresses the changing needs and anxieties of living people. She describes how painted images work with the shaman as seats for the mansin’s personal gods. Yang Jong-sung, director of The Museum of Shamanism, introduces the ceremonial forms and relics on display in the Biennale exhibition, including amulets, rare Kut manuals, and paintings and details their engagement with grievances at the root of communal bonds through gods, as well as social inequality and collective trauma. Yoon Yeolsu, director of the Gahoe Minhwa Museum, presents a selection of folk paintings and religious amulets to propose the timeliness of examining practices of countryside rituals and oral storytelling. Academic Seong Nae Kim discusses the ways in which the legacies of the Jeju 4.3 are transmitted across generations and ritually reenacted in post-memory practices through spirit possessions, ancestral familial rites, and public shamanic commemorations to revive social trust and allow for pathways into of anti-systemic kinship across class and ethnic divides.