14th DMZ Docs(2022)
I AM DOCU
“The ex-returnees" in this project refer to Zainichi Koreans who migrated to North Korea through the so-called ”homecoming“ project (1959-1984) and recently defected from North Korea. “The ex-returnees" have no place in the Zainichi community in today's Japan. In addition, they are also afraid that their remaining family members in North Korea might be taken away to internment camps. In the midst of the predicament that I could not film their faces while making this video works, I decided to create a video work composed of three screens, using footages from multiple sources.
Soni Kum Soni's latest work, Morning Dew The Stigama of being “Brainwashed”(Morning Dew), is part of the Project Morning Dew funded by the Kawamura Arts and Culture Foundation. It looks at the 'Repatriation Project' of returning Zainichi Koreans to North Korea conducted under the pretext of humanitarianism from 1959 to 1984. About 90,000 Zainichi Koreans, mostly from the southern part of the Korean Peninsula, left for their 'homeland' they had never been to in order to escape from the discrimination in Japan. Many Zainichi Koreans who sent their families and relatives to the North lived like hostages between the two countries, South and North Korea, and this history was portrayed as an important theme in the films of several Zainichi Korean directors including Yang Young-hi. Morning Dew reflects on the lives of Zainichi Koreans who had escaped to North Korea through the 'Repatriation Project' and returned to Japan from various angles through three-channel video installation. The artist tells a story through the weft and warp of a history of violence, both contradictory and conflicting. The work provides a valuable opportunity to look back on our history from the lens of the past and present of Zainichi Koreans who survived the whirlpool of colonialism, the Cold War, and the division of Korea.
Soni Kum is a multimedia artist who works in film and video, installation, performance. Her work has been featured in art spaces and film festivals around the world such as Japan, Korea, Brazil, Germany and UK.