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Hanes Visiting Artist Lecture Series: Soni Kum

September 7, 2023 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Video Projection of Soni Kum's Morning Dew on three screens.

Reception at 5:30 pm | Artist talk and screening of “Morning Dew” 6:00-7:30 pm

The Department of Art and Art History and the Carolina Asia Center of UNC-Chapel Hill are proud to welcome Soni Kum as a Hanes Visiting Artist in Fall 2023. Soni Kum is an interdisciplinary artist born and raised in Tokyo, Japan as a third-generation Korean. Please join us for a talk by the artist and a screening of “Morning Dew.”

This video work is based on Kum’s experiences with 15 former “returnees” who have defected and are living in Japan, whom she met and interviewed between July 2019 and July 2020. “The ex-returnees” refer to Zainichi Koreans who lived in Japan before emigrating to North Korea.

“The ex-returnees” have no place in the Zainichi community in today’s Japan, and they are afraid that their remaining family members in North Korea might be taken away to internment camps. In addition, they fear that they might be discriminated against if their neighbors or acquaintances knew they were North Korean defectors. Kum faced the predicament that she could not film their faces while making this video work.

During this aporia, Kum decided to create a video work composed of three screens, using footage from multiple sources, including the live-action scenes with actors, archival materials, footage donated by friends, and footage downloaded from online sources.

Kum doesn’t directly know the people who appear in archive footage. Many of them have probably already passed away. Through collaboration with people across time and space, she wove a poetic video piece, which traces the fragmentary vestiges of violence.

Soni Kum is a multimedia artist who works in film and video, installation, performance, writing, photography, and drawing. She received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and a Doctor in Fine Arts from the University of Tokyo in 2011. Her work has been featured in art spaces and film festivals around the world— Japan, Korea, Brazil, Germany, the Philippines, China, Cuba, Myanmar, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Denmark, the US, and the UK. She was an artist in residence with the Pola Foundation in the UK in 2017, and a recipient of a grant from the Kawamura Arts and Cultural Foundation for Socially Engaged art in 2019. She is currently a senior assistant professor at the School of Global Japanese Studies at Meiji University.

Learn more about the artist here:

CLE credit is available for this event.

An endowment established in 1983 through the generosity of Nancy and Robin Hanes supports the Art Department’s Visiting Artist Series. This important program brings both established and emerging artists to campus to discuss their work in public lectures and to offer individual critiques to our M.F.A. students. The Hanes Visiting Artist series greatly enriches both our academic programs and our outreach to the wider community. All lectures are free and open to the public.

Logo for the Carolina Asia Center

This event is part of the Carolina Asia Center Fall 2023 Korean Diaspora Films and New Media Series! Join us throughout the semester as we celebrate and learn from/with three critically-acclaimed artists of the Korean Diaspora. Each one employs various mediums to engage with topics such as transnational adoption, the Korean War and division, and the global diasporic experience. Learn more about the series on their website.

A weeknight or daytime permit is now required after 5:00pm on weekdays. There is no permit required from 5:00pm Friday through 7:30am Monday. A $1.00 one-night pass is available in selected lots. More information can be found at Weeknight Parking.


September 7, 2023
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


Nelson Mandela Auditorium
Fed Ex Global Education Center, 301 Pittsboro Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27599 United States
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Jim Hirschfield