Washing machine in Ppal-let-ter (Wash place)


LG Tromm washing machine is in Hong Do Kim’s Wash place (late 18th century), 2015

image from <http://www.newswire.co.kr/newsRead.php?no=282581>

Ajummas and plastic surgery

I’m not sure whether I can write about the topic of ‘plastic surgery’ in this blog or not. But I think plastic surgery could be categorised as a part of ‘beauty’ or ‘beauty industry’ in Korea (and many other countries) so I can concern about this issue in this blog. Well, plastic surgery is a very common thing for most Koreans (not every Koreans I have to say) in these days. There are various types of plastic surgery that help people to be satisfied with their appearances and sometimes inner sides,too. As they change or (I can say) upgrade their appliances through plastic surgery, people are able to have more confidences than before (especially, people who are not happy with their appearances). Of course there is side effect of plastic surgery but one thing we surely know that plastic surgery is a sort of popular culture in Korea now.

Before I wrote this blog entry today, I did research how ajummas concern about plastic surgery in Korea. Well, I still need to do a lot more and deeper research about the relationship between ajummas and plastic surgery, but one thing I found that many of ajummas are interested in doing plastic surgery and many of them also already experienced of having plastic surgery as well. And (I need to do more research about this but at this stage but) I found that the purposes of doing plastic surgery and preferred body part (or face part) are quite different according to different age group. For example,  married middle aged women (it didn’t specify the actual age range in its report) wanted to do liposuction surgery (especially for reducing abdominal fat) the most according to the report. (http://bntnews.hankyung.com/apps/news?popup=0&nid=05&c1=05&c2=05&c3=00&nkey=201103291205063&mode=sub_view)

In addition, there are apps for plastic surgery as well. I just found some of them and need to research more about this ‘beauty app’ asap. Here is an example of plastic surgery app that is called, ‘App Miin’. App is for application and Miin means a beauty in Korean. So it means application beauty. Users are able to try virtual plastic surgery through using this app and they can make estimate for the plastic surgery in the future as well.

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 7.28.03 PM.png

(click the image above, it goes to the website of App Miin, https://itunes.apple.com/kr/app/aebmiin)

I take a profound interest  in the things that are related to beauty industry, women and digital media. Thus I keep thinking about the research that I will do for the next. (another research idea is in my mind, too)

Ajummas are in Live Photo

Music credit: Peppertones, ‘For all dancers’ (less than 5 seconds, looping)

I just played with the keynote to create a live photo video for this blog. All the videos are made with (include Digital Ppal-let-ter project) photos and keynote. This looping live photo video reminds me a rhizome movie (by Adrian Miles) that we’ve learnt at RMIT almost 10 years ago. I’m thinking to create short video clips (like this) through using keynote, live photo and maybe photo collage.


Grandparenting (2)

Grandparenting is not an easy thing at all. But it is unavoidable to both parents and their married sons and daughters because of the poor childcare system for working parents in Korea. There are public and private childcare system that people can get in Korea, but they’re still insufficient to support those working parents. Besides, the reason why those working parents ask their parents to raise their children is because most of them believe that being raised by grandparents is more truthworthy in many ways than a babysitter from the list. I mean, grandparents are more reliable to place their children than babysitters for them. (Of course there are many wonderful babysitters!) Because of many reasons (I can’t write every single reason why people ask their parents to raise their children), grandparenting is becoming a very common thing in Korea and many of my neighbours are actually spend the most of the day time with their grandchildren, I can see. These grandparents are professional at childrearing or babysitting because they’ve already done before for their children. They are experienced parents so they should be better than first time parents (their son and daughter) in childrearing. However, there is a saying, ‘Ten years is an epoch’, various things were disappeared and newly created again and again. Childrearing is not an exception of being affected by the development of technology.

The fundamentals of childrearing is still the same, but the ways of childrearing and the tools for childrearing are evolved rapidly. In other words, grandparents are now making use of the new tools to get new ways of childrearing for their grandchildren. For example, they  do mobile shopping to order baby goods, show mobile audio-visual programs for kids and to have mobile chat with their son and daughter about grandchild through using their smart devices (i.e. smartphones) It is called ‘Smart Parenting’. The photo below shows that a grandmother enjoy watching animation on Smart TV with her grandson. People can get various contents especially for their grandchild through Smart TV.

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 11.30.58 AM.png

(Click the image then it goes direct to the webpage about Smart TV and grandparenting, image from http://vip.mk.co.kr/news/view/21/20/1397293.html)

According to the report of mobile shopping site, Tmon (http://tmon.co.kr), the analysis of the sales of babygoods by age group showed that customers who are aged over 50s are increased significantly  compared with other age groups. The number 1 item they purchased is Podaegi (baby carrier), http://www.ticketmonster.co.kr.  (click the link if you want to see that actual product they purchased)


(This is a podaegi in Korea, image from http://namyangi.com (click the image to see the original webpage))

Besides, the mobile shopping for grandchildren is not only limited to Korea. If you read this article on ‘grandparents.about.com‘ it tells you about ‘6 ways your smartphone can help you shop for grandchildren’. I will continue to talk more about ‘grandparenting’ and digital media in the next post.

아줌마-셀카, 이인청 2008


Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 10.49.48 AM

(위 그림을 클릭하면 이인청,아줌마-셀카에 대한 자세한 정보가 나와있는 네오룩 홈페이지로 이동합니다)

이인청 작가의 아줌마-셀카 라는 작품을 우연히 보게되었다. 관련자료가 충분하지는 않지만 이 전시를 다녀온 분들의 개인적인 글, 뉴스기사 그리고 작품해설에 실려있는 작가의 의도등을 읽어보면서 내가 이 아줌마 연구를 하고 있는 이유와 이 작품들이 몇몇 닮아있음이 보였다. 아줌마에 대한 위대하고 심오한 담론을 끌어내기 위함도 중요하지만, 나는 스마트아줌마 그리고 디지털빨래터라는 프로젝트를 통해서 우리의 지금 현시대를 살아가는 아줌마들의 모습을 유쾌하게 풀어내어서 보여주고 싶었다. (물론 아직도 지금도 아니 이후에도 아줌마를 단순히(그들의 시각에서) 유쾌하게 풀어내는 것에 대한 논쟁은 계속 될지도 모르지만)

이인청 작가의 아줌마-셀카는, 고되고 같은일이 반복되는 지루한 아줌마의 일상을 ‘목각으로 만든 아줌마’를 이용하여 보여주고 있다. 사진속의 아줌마의 모습이 곧 우리 아줌마들의 모습을 보여주는 아줌마-셀카인 것이다.


A trot song is for ajummas?

I’ve already posted this video of Digital Ppal-let-ter project that is a part of my research project. For this video, I used two trot songs as a background music. When I chose these trot songs as bg music, I thought that using this kind of songs for my video should enhance people to get inspired for better understanding about Korean culture. Well, we have K-Pop (idols, girl groups, etc.) but for me, these songs are inadequate to support my video project that is about Ajummas who are women in Korea. I consider choosing songs and I finally found one song that is about ajummas. The song called, Ajumma by Jinah Tae has very simple lyrics but it encourages ajummas to keep enjoying their lives as ajummas in Korea. Also, there’re not enough (maybe this song is the only song about Ajummas with positive lyrics as far as I know) songs about ajummas. I’ve changed songs for the video several times and I discussed carefully about choosing music with my supervisors all the time. Finally, I put that song for my video and I believed and still believe that the song supports the story (or research) of the video. Moreover, it enhances people (audiences) to somewhat better understand Korean ajummas’ culture. But, some people criticised the usage of this song for the video about ajummas. They thought this song (trot songs) is cheesy and it could remind audiences about stereotypes of ajummas. In other words, the trot songs are cheesy and not classy songs. So the purpose of choosing the cheesy trot song for the video is because ‘I (a researcher)’ look down upon Ajummas.

Okay, I accept those feedback or criticism from others. But, let me talk about this again. The problem is not about a song in this video, I think. The problem is ourselves. I know how women in Korea were persecuted under patriarchal society for ages so Korean women had to receive unfair treatment only because we were women. One of Korean female group, ajummas, they were also treated, showed, described and accepted negatively. For many reasons, being ajummas and calling as ajummas is not pleasant. But, in my experiences, we (women) disdain ajummas, being ajummas and living as ajummas so many times and cases. In the case of using that trot song for the video, I never assume that trot songs are for ajummas and ajummas have no interest of listening pop songs, hiphop or electronic music. My mum loves listening to classical music and one of my friend enjoys listening to trot musics. I don’t generalise any thing between different generations. Of course, there are preferences of something between different generations, but I always think I shouldn’t generalise people only because their age differences.

If they (people who criticised me of using trot songs for this video) think the usage of trot songs for this video is because I have a prejudice against ajummas, then I want to say them to break your biased perspective about ajummas first. It will take time to change but I want to keep writing that calling as ajummas and being ajummas are not that unpleasant thing what some people detest to be ajummas.

Happy Buddha’s birthday!

Wish stone tower 소원 돌탑
Wind-bell 풍경
Bongeunsa Temple 봉은사

I mentioned before, there are so many special days in May in Korea. Yes, you can tell what I’m talking about when you read my posts in May. They are all about special days!

Today is Buddha’s Birthday so my family went to the Bongeunsa Temple near my house. My family is catholic but we go to the temple on special day like today. I saw so many ajummas to wish and pray for their family.

I will write more ajumma-related blog post next week. Enjoy Buddha’s birthday!

전에도 말했다시피, 한국의 5월은 날씨도 너무 아름답지만 특별한 날들이 참 많다. 어린이날 어버이날 부처님오신날 스승의 날 등등! 오늘은 바로 부처님 오신날! 그래서 부모님과 함께 집근처 봉은사에 갔었다. 우리집은 가톨릭 신자지만 이런 날에는 절에 가서 구경도 하고 한다. 종교가 다르다고 남의 종교가 틀린건 아니니까, 그리고 모든 종교는 다 연결되어 있다고 생각도 든다. 결국 착하게 남을 도우며 성실하게 잘 살기위해 종교를 갖는것 아니겠는가? (종교적인 부분은 매우 예민하니까 이쯤에서 그만)

오늘도 봉은사에서 많은 아줌마들을 봤다. 기도를 드리고 돌탑을 쌓아두고 등을달고 초에 불을 붙이고…이는 모두 그들의 가족들의 안녕을 위한 것이리라 생각이 든다. 우리의 모든 어머니들 즉 우리의 모든 아줌마들이 그렇게 가족을 위해 또 오늘도 살아간다.

아줌마들 모두 화이팅! 그리고 다음주에는 아줌마에 대한 포스팅을 곧 올리겠다! 즐거운 연휴 보내시길!