Grey Belt


Grey Belt is a work in progress (2009)- collaborative project, based on a story by Taeyoon Choi, with kinetic sculptures by Cheon pyo Lee. Choi performs various roles during the piece, utilizes the sculpture and engages audience through voluntary participation. The performance is staged on the gallery floor with two fixed flood light and two controlled spot lights. Audio feed from a wireless lavalier microphone is amplified. Video projection, which shows drawings is turned off, and the audience are asked to stand in a circle, before the performance starts.




First performance in March 6th
Performance begins with Choi, a pilot trying to take off an airplane. He jumps to fly, as Lee pulls him by a pulley, unsuccessfully hangs in the mid air for a slice of second. He then becomes a frustrated soldier who steps on a land mine while masturbating during his duty to observe the enemy line. He starts conversation with a turtle, a zoomorphic version of the mine, which tells that it has been waiting him for a long time. The microphone amplify vibrating sound of the mine. He escapes by activating a machine that resembles a train or tank, which the wheels made of 16mm film reels. All the machines are hanging in the ceiling, then pulled down by Lee controlling the pulleys. Choi makes loud noise with the machine, which is mixed with a sound of train horns. He is now an engineer of a train, and invites audience to come along the journey. They march around the performance area few times. At the end, the audience are invited to launch a missile, a piñata with red, blue, and silver sparkles inside. He continues to fails the tasks, and only able to launch it with help of the audience participation. Performance ends.



Second performance in March 7th
The performance begins with Choi’s brief explanation of what happened in the first day. He then puts his head in the launched missile, which is hanging from the ceiling, and asks for hug from the audience. He gets out of the missile head, and becomes the pilot. He puts on the jet pack and pretends to fly around the performance area, slowly making a circle. The pilot tries to connect with the control tower, not receiving any feed back. He steps on the land mine, and performs the turtle sequence. He then becomes the train engineer, and makes noise with the machine, this time doing it violently for a longer duration. Performance finishes without a specific ending sequence, as the audience begins to leave.


This work is partly influenced by the current situation between South and North Korea, and rest of the world. Although the work does not make an explicit comment on a specific issue, we intend to express our understanding of the origin and complexity of the situation. Some elements of the performance makes subtle reference to actual events in history, such as KAL 757 terrorism in 1987, plans for North Korean satellite or rocket launch in the spring of 2009, and etc…

If you were to ask ‘What is the story of Grey Belt about?’, I will say “it is not about the plaza, or the chamber, nor the alley way, but a story of a waste land.” Someone next to me says “No. no. no. It’s the story of the secret jungle.” Another person will say without a moment of pause “Hey! you all got it wrong. This is a story of a funny green house, one which the climate is controlled and the soils are fertilized, but full of plastic tree.” …


Another group of folks started whispering. “I will tell you why gravity disappeared from the Grey Belt.” So, this is the zero-gravity place, where people fly around? Another person said with a touch of sarcasm “No, they are actually projectiles that do not know its destination and purpose of their travel.’ Another person, who have been looking at the other two rather pathetically said ‘The falling things do not have wings to fly back up.’…

Fixing her makeup while looking at a small mirror, she said “I got my skin peeled off, It still looks burned.” I was thinking, ‘She is slowly stuffing herself into taxidermy. Is she mummifying herself to stay beautiful forever?’ Is your skin, flesh, body desiring the same dream? Are they dreaming the same desire? The one who wishes eternal beauty dives into a pool of formalin. Her surgery left large scars on the face. You wrapped put medicine and bandage on the scar many times until you forget about it. Is it fixed now? …


The turtle said “Waiting is a painful torture. He forgot about our appointment. Or did he know, but erased the memory in purpose?” Another person is waiting at the promised location. For the land mine that was never activated, It’s time is still ticking.

In the grey belt, the place where gravity disappeared, can one see more clearly into the distance? Or is the view perplexed?

Images courtesy of Christine A. Butler and EYEBEAM.Text and drawings by Taeyoon Choi