project: www.intimatedistances.info | intimatedistances@gmail.com

“Intimate Distances” project is an ongoing participatory performance, in which two people close their eyes in 3 minutes and keep the closest distance by not trying to touch each other, and it has been developed in different locations such as South Korea, Hungary, Winston-Salem, NC and Santa Fe, NM. This project aims to capture the psychological ‘intimate moments’ from the closest physical distance and to emphasize that intimate human relationships have a power of transformation to define who we are by using a mirror reflection as a visual strategy.

By growing up with a big Korean family and strong Asian family bonding, I have played different roles of family and struggled between independence and dependence, and between personal decision and family involvement. Intimate relationships start from family, so I started to ask questions about what intimate relationships are, how to define roles in family, and how the intimate relationships of family affect who we are. When I visited my family in Korea in summer of 2014, I asked my family including myself to close their eyes in 3 minutes and to keep the closest distance by not trying to touch each other. Intimate Distance I in South Korea emphasizes on family dynamics by playing multiple roles of the family by juxtaposing these two different roles of the family at the same time. Intimate Distance III in Winston-Salem is about Donald Sawyer’s family, African American, in Thanksgiving dinner. When they were participating intimate distance performance with the physically closest distance, they were not comfortable to be physically so close and started to talk each other by avoiding awkwardness even in the relaxed holiday atmosphere. Intimate Distance IV in Santa Fe expands this project to any human relationship by asking how to define relationships. While most family relationships are determined socially by marriage or biologically by blood, other human relationships are defined by agreement between two people. I installed a video booth in the exhibition space of Currents: New Media Festival in Santa Fe invited people for participation and recorded over 70 videos with various relationships such as any family relationship, friend-friend, boyfriend- girlfriend, partner-partner, lover-lover and even stranger-stranger.