The World Behind

Hyemi Lee

Keywords: Social awareness, Cultural understanding, Sense of sight

“Go back to your home, Corona!!”

I experienced racism at the beginning of the pandemic. The Netherlands is very international, and I had no experience with racism. I was shocked. from this experience, I found out that there has been racism all the time, even though I didn’t know that. I realized that I only have seen what I want to see in the world.

This relates to Michel Foucault’s concept of heterotopia. He said that the world in the mirror exists, but does not exist, since it is the reflection of reality. Adding to his idea, I thought that we only see the things that come into our sight when we see the mirror because it bothers our vision. The world that I saw before Covid was the world in the mirror. The world that I saw existed, but it did not exist. Before the pandemic, I only saw what I wanted to see. My experience brought me to the real world.

From this realization, I have questioned the difference between the world we see and the reality. I researched this, using materials like mirror, glass, and ceramics. They are all fragile and reflective, representing my theme and my emotion. At first glance, people will be confused, and they may not trust what they see when they engage with my works. Through this experience, they can understand that they would have slip over something important, while they lay their eyes on what they want to see.

1)    Behind the mirror

In the mirror, you can see yourself with your surroundings. When you look at yourself in this mirror, you also see the candle light. However, you cannot find the candle on ‘your’ side of the mirror. Is the candle real? Are you really looking at the candle light? Behind the mirror indicates that the image what we see may not be real. It could be different from the real world. There might be something behind the image that we see. 

2)    Broken face

You will see the person at on opposite side of you. You and the counterpart will keep 1.5 meters distance since the kaleidoscope is between you two. You look at the other’s face, but you cannot find the real face. Are they the reflection? Or are they real face? “Broken face” started from my sight right after the experience with racism at the beginning of pandemic. I couldn’t trust the signals from others on the street. All the faces looked like the broken faces. This will allow you to face the counterpart, while you cannot find which one is the real one, because it is fragmented. 

3)    Universe (The lives we have)

You can see the broken glass pieces but attached again. Are they broken? Or attached? It still has cracks, but the small pieces associate to each other. “Universe” shows how we live after we experienced a breakage in society. Each piece is broken but attached. It’s strong, but still fragile as we live with others in society.