"The focus on independent research was the reason I chose to go to Goldsmiths instead of elsewhere. Although I often found this emphasis challenging during my studies, it is also what I appreciate most about the programme having graduated. There were times at the beginning when I wished for more direct guidance, some ideal frames, sample categories, or limits to rely on. However, in retrospect, I believe that because we were faced with no limits and categories, in the search for my own voice I found my own approach, trying this direction and that. I miss my time at Goldsmiths when I immersed myself fully in my research.
The first year of the course reset the way I think and communicate. With the course’s emphasis on articulating in concrete language based on solid analysis, I had to work on rebuilding my ideas from the very basics. I was forced to reconsider how I had previously spoken and written about art and theory, often in abstract language based on rather arbitrary interpretation. The group tutorial sessions and the writing seminars acutely trained me to handle language with comprehension, control, and responsibility. I appreciate this a lot now, as I understand that writing and speaking in such a manner is a critical qualification for a curator in their role as mediator.
It was during the second year of the course that I experienced the joy of researching the subject of my interest, building on the basic training I received during the first year. The process was about following clues from one artwork to another, from one artist to another, and putting the pieces together which led to an image of the world we live in. This is curating as active research, not research on my desk that is later represented in the form of an exhibition. The weekly MFA lecture where leading guest speakers talked about the contemporary world. and the monthly seminar in which we addressed issues of curating, provided leads and materials for my independent research project.
Rarely is one allowed to fully focus on one’s project once one left the campus. I miss the research-friendly environment at Goldsmiths, with its abundant resources, including the library, artists and researchers in the school’s network, exhibitions and live events in London and the surrounding neighbourhood of Deptford. Reading books, talking to people, and seeing art were all very precious experiences. One of my regrets is that I had rather limited social interaction with the wonderful people on the campus, partly due to my after-class duties as a mum. It is not easy to find a place outside university where one can meet so many people who genuinely care about the world, and talk about it with such enthusiasm. I hope students appreciate this privilege while studying at Goldsmiths.
I have been running out_sight, an art space in Seoul, which I opened with a colleague in 2016. Recently we opened our second space, named os. Some of the artists I met at Goldsmiths have shown their works in out_sight in 2018 and 2019. With Art Council Korea’s funding, we are planning more intercontinental projects in the coming year. Personally, and to bring in financial support, I have been writing exhibition reviews in art magazines, and translating art-related materials including articles and video art subtitles."
Image: Learn Where the Meat Comes From at out_sight, (2018) (Suzanne Lacy_Learn Where the Meat Comes From, Mary Maggic_Housewives Making Drugs/Estrogen Farms)