In 2015, I received a residency through the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program [Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD]. I used this time to develop an operatic theater piece commissioned by the Asia Culture Center, Gwangju.
피나는 노력으로 한 [A Woman Whose Head Came Out Before Her Name] was my largest performance project up to that point, in which I worked with the subject of national borders, international co-productions, and intergenerational conflict with over thirty staff members of multinational or biracial origins. I drew inspirations from disparate fields’ production lines, which ridged above the two antipodes: labor and joy. Stories behind formative years of Schaubühne in Berlin (Peter Stein), a traditional form in the margin (Kabuki), an atrophied conglomerate from the 1970s-1980s in South Korea’s “developing" period (Daewoo), a politicized composer in asylum (Yun Yisang), all interested me; but instead of adapting these stories or eliciting any of the characters from them, I wondered if the tropes themselves could be presented as shapes within a singular performance. This piece is composed of elements, in which the labor that holds the aesthetics on stage, and the drama that intrigues the audience end up paving one trajectory without one particular meaning attached to it.
At first I wrote my half of (an unrequited) duet to Roberto Bolaño’s prose poem, Prosa del otoño en gerona [Prose From Autumn in Genoa], inspired by his kaleidoscopic arrangement of time in space. Then I visualized each paragraph after which I arranged the movements required in the visualization (climbing, rising, lighting, dimming, setting, rotating, following, posing, crossing, falling, turning, and hiding) into a script, which conducted the beats and measures of all technical and performative labor involved in this piece. Although others on stage strummed in, David Michael DiGregorio was the singer, who sang and played this operatic piece from beginning to end.
Production in part is a process of distributing budget in a timeline [Godard]. The title, or ownership over that space of labor, elongates the glorious justification for every production, compensating for those who might otherwise feel disentitled after the distribution process. 피나는 노력으로 한 [A Woman Whose Head Came Out Before Her Name] is continuous labor that brings about being without earning title.
Choi, Binna, “FRUITS OF EFFORT,” Asia Culture Center Theater 2015 Opening Festival Review,
Asia Culture Center [최빛나, "노력의 대가," 국립아시아문화전당 예술극장 2015 개관 페스티벌 리뷰, 국립아시아문화전당], 2016, p92-97
Aschenbrenner, Max-Philip, “An interview with Sung Hwan Kim & David Michael DiGregorio,” Asian Arts Theatre Webwhale, Jul. 2015
아센브렌너, 막스-필립, “김성환/데이빗 마이클 디그레고리오 인터뷰,” 아시아예술극장 웹고래, 2015년 7월