Minouk Lim

Minouk Lim, The Weight of Hands (video still), 2010.

Minouk Lim, The Weight of Hands (video still), 2010.

In Minouk Lim (b.1968, Korea)’s previous video works, New Town Ghost (2005) and S.O.S. – Adoptive Dissensus (2009), she compares ‘before and after’ images of specific sites within the development-crazed city of Seoul. She invents indirect strategies and symbols to discuss these fundamental and often sensitive issues – the first using movement (that of a flatbed truck moving throughout the city), the second light (that of a cruise ship spotlight on a river bank). While video is Minouk Lim’s main format, her work is heavily performance-based, constructing poetic yet contentious scenarios that hijack the city. In her new piece created for Touched, the artist relied on temperature as a strategy.

In a combination of live art documentation, performance work and road trip movie, the video tracked the journey of a strange tourist group in a place of ‘restricted access’. The project started as an attempt to use an infrared camera to pick up heat to penetrate the private, restricted sites of new developments that are carried out for public purposes. This heat-sensitive camera was usually used for surveillance or police operations: in this way, the video hijacked the instruments of surveillance.

In the video’s narrative, a tour bus arrives at a development which the public cannot enter. The tour bus is denied access. In response, a woman starts a performance inside the bus as a gesture of resistance. Climbing up on the seats and singing, these special tourists hold their hands up towards the woman to elevate her. Here and throughout the film, hands are shown by infrared as tangible and tactile heat: while often deployed to block the camera lens by authorities who do not wish to be filmed, hands also become a metaphor for resistance, empowerment and recollection. As the woman’s body flows around the bus, the places of ‘restricted access’ outside of the window – construction sites and ghost apartments – are also sensed by heat. The result is a video that played extensively with light and colour.

Set against the backdrop of a tourism-led development project in Korea – the Four Major Rivers Project, to which public authorities violently restricted access by groups and individuals opposed to it – the video is critical as well as experimental.

Minouk Lim at Liverpool Biennial 2010

The Weight of Hands
, 2010
HD video and sound, single-channel projection, 10 min
Commissioned by and exhibited at FACT

Supported by

Arts Council Korea