Stephen Rothenburg
Zanele Mashinini
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Love, sex and intimate relationships

19 february 2006


jeen meeran    
Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2006 17:14:40 +0200
Subject: Too much

Howzit, this is Jean Meeran, filmmaker and photographer... So what affects my relationships in daily life is rampant desire like a raging bushfire. So when I have someone and they have me, and even if we love each other madly, i still want everyone else thats coming around the corner. And being one of the third world aristocrats, tropical playboy, I can get IT. So how to negotiate having what I want and not driving myself crazy and those that get involved with me, and still being able to work. i mean I could make the negotiation of desire my full time job, but I need to be productive too. The solution could be to find someone that wants all that too.

Sun, 19 Feb 2006 07:44:45 -0800 (PST)
From: "Cinthia Marcelle"  
Subject: Day to day  

A daily experience can be different from day to day. Even in routine, life is always changing and this was never a new thing. At the same time we live in a fast world where information comes easy creating an illusion that we can have anything that we want. And we are always having to reconsider the options.

For sure I am talking from the side of the global middle class; the way that they live, and how it affects desire. Desire makes changes (this is the condition of daily life that I propose to talk about here).

I don't know if the relationships are able to deal with these changes as fast as they come. We live in transitory times, but at the same time we are presented with the potential responsibility to negotiate the living out of our desires in society.



sung hwan kim"
Subject: sunghwankim:first,father  
Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2006 21:02:46 -0000  

Chung Yoon-Hee was very famous, she was an actress, and she lived in the Hyundai apartment complex in Seoul, where my family settled along with about hundreds of other family units. I was very little when my mother was in her 30's. There had been curfews, and if my father did not return by mid-night, then it meant that he would not come until the morning. Nights were very dark for there were no cars, people, nor shops open. Hyundai apartment complex was a well to do neighborhood, but we had many black outs: sometimes, once a week, and other times, two days in a row (this is all from memory). My mom learned from my aunt from the same neighborhood about the tale around the mysterious and frustrating blackouts. President Park, an infamous dictator of the time (60s' and 70 s'), paid regular visits to Chung Yoon-Hee's house at night with his secret agents after cutting off the electricity of the whole complex. The electricity would come back in a few hours. One day, our doorbell was rung by two men in sunglasses, who asked my mother from whom she heard this rumor and to whom she told this rumor. The rumor turned out to be true.

As I was - and I, by no means, am trying to glamorize my seemingly scarred childhood - , if you grew up in a country under a dictatorship where gossiping about your president's love life between your friends could end up having his secret agents knocking on your door, if your mother never told you her usual genuine pleasantries such as " I want you to be happy," but instead always told you "you cannot get everything you want", when your father kicked you in the face while you were giving him a foot massage for something that you have said (such as "no I will keep my new glasses because I like them"), if you casually witnessed your teacher in elementary school, fifth grade, telling a child to clench his teeth to avoid bleeding when his cheek was punched for making noises in the class, if what you do, such as so called "contemporary art", has an obvious break from the rest of your country's history before 20th century, if your native politician such as a president had been in charge of 200-2000 civilian massacre under US approval, (and the numbers still being inaccurate and the history mystified), if you grew up in an apartment building that is to be customarily demolished and totally renovated because the notion of preservation of "home" had been out of the nation's mind after the war that took place 50 years ago, and if you lived in a city where almost everything is new, and its old stuff is in other countries' national museums or remain as dust under asphalt, you are not in Amsterdam alienated solely by its language and skin differences.  

First time I came to Amsterdam, walking around the small alleys, seeing all the objects in the museum, I said, "they kept it all," or with less exaggeration, "they kept the most", or at least, " they kept more": cornices, pilasters, bricks, antique books, so many museums that are dedicated to keeping these objects and stories around them. The astonishment is not only siding with admiration, but also with jealousy mixed with deplore-ment over what was lost and being lost on the other side of the globe in the meanwhile. Amsterdam was not recently bombed.

Growing up, I often had to kneel down next to my drunken or sober father who would discipline me by insulting me in various ways although he probably did not mean to. His mind shaping teen to young adult years were the 60-70's, when president Park, ex-communist, ex-militant, took over the country after the coup with its militant mind glamorizing the totalitarian state to go participate in Vietnam, which would absolve him of his communist past and get approval from the US. Revolts were taken as menace to the society, so they either voluntarily or by force, disappeared from it. Naturally my father of this generation is heavily influenced by this militant propaganda, fused with a traditional hierarchical social system, so "love" was not a familiar word for him nor myself: he recently told me with a frown on his face, " you could say that I loved you." He had this frown when he talks, even asking for water, every since he practiced imitating James Dean's eyebrows in his teens. Kneeling down next to him, I was not allowed to talk back unless I agreed, and I was given the opportunity to speak, in which I unwisely spoke genuinely only to be disciplined more. What formed in my mind in these sessions is how to be silent. I did not say no, but I also did not say yes. I began to understand how he makes his facial expression, finger prints on his glasses, how much thinner his hair is than mine, how sporadic his pubic hair grew on his calves, how I was able to do calculus in my mind during his talks, what kind of topics repeat themselves, how he thinks, what he is sensitive to or not, and what it is like to be me, silent and knelt down, stimulated by the varying blood circulation in my feet. He disciplined me, after all, to listen to ideas that I am not only uninterested in, but also opposed to. The more I listened to him, the more I was able to see the phenomena of speech without listening to the content of his speech. Consequently, I was respectful of his rigor and stubborn integrity. He said, "Don't try to change me." My father proved himself to be unchanging, calculating, self-protective, powerful and, ironically, a giving institution of fatherhood.

I am 30, and I am economically, thus psychologically, dependent on my parents; I think normally people aren't. Although parents are composed of father and mother, and my mother is a very important factor in our family's income, my patriarchal upbringing forces me to think that I am dependent on my father. As my astute sister, who mostly grew up in the US, away from our kneeling sessions, tells me, "If you don't want to listen to your father, you should not receive money from him." My sister got married very early on, and has secured her high paying salary as a lawyer. According to her, I am a hypocrite. And I am.  

Here in Amsterdam, one day, my house was broken in, vandalized, and all my machinery for filmmaking was stolen. My father offered me the total sum of what I lost so that I can buy my working tools again. I immediately looked into his face, wondering what is the meaning of the gesture. I wondered if I was supposed to take it. I wondered if it is better to work alone with what I do not have. Three seconds after his proposal, there was a bang on the table from my his side, "and you don't even say thank you!" My father feels loyalty to his son; he wants to help his son do what he does; his son, I, in the meanwhile, am often wondering, always wandering about in the foreign lands despite his aging body, not so quick in response, never asking for money, but always receiving, not loving him back more for what I get from him. I turned out to be a defiant, if not doubtful, individual too feeble and too untrustworthy to make an alliance to form an institution of my own. Who would join me?

I live in an apartment in the red light district. It is a big attic space that looks like the interior of the overturned ship. When it rains, the drops make a great acoustic event inside, making me feel protected. It is on the fourth floor, with many windows to all sides, letting in much light, which is very rare for Amsterdam. There is a mattress in white that is used for sitting, but also for napping. All the electronics are painted in white, which look picturesque against the burnt sienna beams. I hear the bells four times an hour from three different churches. Amsterdam is a perfect set that I do not have to explore. My day begins with cooking, slicing garlic and carrots into a certain shape. At the corner, there are several books that I am reading at the same time covered in white paper, upon which I have type-written titles and authors. My jackets are over other jackets on a tripod that works as a coat rack. Underneath the jacket I wore yesterday is the jacket I wore the day before. Yesterday, I wore a violet sweater, green jacket, pale green pants, and a scarf, another kind of green. I feel complete when I am in here. The son might have escaped. Now two things manifest themselves: I appear to be a hypocrite, and I seem to have turned to escapism. I am at peace.

Sung Hwan Kim, 1975, born in Korea, artist/writer currently liviing in Amsterdam. hello