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Korean Diaspora Films and New Media Series: Artist Talk with Soni Kum

September 7, 2023 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

The Carolina Asia Center and the Art and Art History Department of UNC-Chapel Hill are proud to welcome Soni Kum as Hanes Visiting Artist in Fall 2023. Soni Kum is an interdisciplinary artist born and raised in Tokyo, Japan as a third-generation Korean. Please join us for a talk by the artist and a screening of “Morning Dew.” The film screening and talk will begin at 6PM.


This video work is based on Kum’s experiences with 15 former “returnees” who have defected and are living in Japan, whom she met and interviewed between July 2019 and July 2020. “The ex-returnees” refer to Zainichi Koreans who lived in Japan before emigrating to North Korea.

“The ex-returnees” have no place in the Zainichi community in today’s Japan, and they are afraid that their remaining family members in North Korea might be taken away to internment camps. In addition, they fear that they might be discriminated against if their neighbors or acquaintances knew they were North Korean defectors. Kum faced the predicament that she could not film their faces while making this video work.

In the midst of this aporia, Kum decided to create a video work composed of three screens, using footage from multiple sources, including the live-action scenes with actors, archival materials, footage donated by friends, and footage downloaded from online sources.

Kum doesn’t directly know the people who appear in archive footage. Many of them have probably already passed away. Through collaboration with people across time and space, she wove a poetic video piece, which traces the fragmentary vestiges of violence.

Soni Kum is a multimedia artist who works in film and video, installation, performance, writing, photography, and drawing. She received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and a Doctor in Fine Arts from the University of Tokyo in 2011. Her work has been featured in art spaces and film festivals around the world— Japan, Korea, Brazil, Germany, the Philippines, China, Cuba, Myanmar, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Denmark, the US, and the UK. She was an artist in residence with the Pola Foundation in the UK in 2017, and a recipient of a grant from the Kawamura Arts and Cultural Foundation for Socially Engaged art in 2019. She is currently a senior assistant professor at the School of Global Japanese Studies at Meiji University.

Learn more about the artist here:


Soni Kum will discuss her project “Morning Dew” and decisions relating to its development, specifically the use of archival footage and its effects/adverse effects.


This event was made possible by the following sponsors: Korea Foundation, UNC Department of Art and Art History, UNC Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, UNC Film Studies


September 7, 2023
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
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FedEx Global Education Center, Nelson Mandela Auditorium
301 Pittsboro St.
Chapel Hill, NC 27599 United States
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The Carolina Asia Center supports diverse Asia-related events. However, CAC co-sponsorship of any talk, seminar, documentary screening, film screening, performance or celebration does not constitute endorsement of or agreement with the views presented therein. As an academic institution, we value diverse perspectives that promote dialogue and understanding.

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