108 Bows, 2013
Single-channel video (color, sound)
Starring Yujin Lee and Emi Hariyama
Videography by Hee-seong Han
The ‘bowing down’ (절 ‘Jeul’, in Korean) in Buddhism is a meditative device, requiring to lower oneself to the lowest physically possible position. Even if one bows down in a temple to an icon, the icon only symbolizes the realization of the highest human potential (the sublime human qualities). A man once asked his devoted Buddhist wife, why she bows to the statue of Buddha, which in reality simply is a piece of nicely carved stone. The wife replied, “Being able to bow yourself down to that useless thing of a stone is the crux of Buddhism.” Ballet is a form of art that strives for the perfect form. It is one of the most technically strenuous dance genre that must seem completely effortless. Ballet dancers often say how physically painful the training is, but once they get on the stage, all the pain disappears. Combining these two forms of training (training of the mind and training of the body), the video guides the audience to meditate on the idea of the limits and the possibilities of the human self, and the sublime beauty of the process of such activities.