Goseong Choi was born in Sungnam, South Korea, 1984. He currently lives and works in New York. He received M.F.A. in Photography from Pratt Institute. Choi received national and international awards and he has taken a part in various exhibitions in USA , Czech Republic, South Korea and Malaysia, and international photo festivals in France and Guatemala. Today we feature his series titled, Woods the walls and wells.
Woods the Walls and Wells
One day, I heard a scratching noise coming from the closet. It seemed that a mouse hadfallen in somehow, and was trapped inside the walls. After a few days, the desperate scratching that made me so nervous had stopped. Time passed and I forgot all about the scratching, but then I began to smell something putrid. The mouse must have died, trapped inside the walls. The stench grew thicker and thicker for a week or two before suddenly dissipating. All the noise and stink that had invaded my personal space had subsided, finally. I found it interesting that I did not perceive its absence initially. When I realized the smell was gone, it somehow made me feel a little strange that there was no substantial evidence left, even though the intruder had been invisible and intangible from the beginning. In spite of that, I could sense that the spark of life had been extinguished after all the sounds of struggling, and death left its trace in the form of an unmistakable stench. The fact that even this fragment of evidence was gone soon after made me feel something deeper than simple acknowledgement of the absence of what was once present. Did any of this really happen?
Everything happened behind the wall. It was an unknown space outside the boundary of my everyday life. In a way, it was a fictional territory; the wall was a border separating reality from illusion. All I could do was make assumptions about the unseen happenings beyond that border. I guessed it was the presence of a mouse by the sharp scratching noise, and I presumed its death when I encountered the rotten smell. The evidence that drew me into this event has vanished entirely by now. The absence of those sensory clues turned that space into a confusing realm of the unknown. I started to question my confidence in the memories of that experience. I felt trapped in my own uncertainty.
I began this project with the process of doubting sensory experiences, and by examining the confusion in between the borders of the physical space and the psychological realm. I perceived and then questioned both the presence of what was now absent, and the absence of what was once present. During my journeys, I searched for blind spots in consciousness, and from those points I tried to become aware of the substantialization of warp and slip. This examination led me to quite surreal experiences. I was curious about the correlation of the inner-self and the outside world; nature provided visualization to these questions.
Once I was lost in the middle of trail on a mountain. There was intermittent damage left over from a flood, and the trail was washed out. No one else was there and I couldn’t get any phone reception. I kept walking on, but it seemed like I was circling around the same spot. Great beads of sweat stood on my forehead. I thought I had stepped into a labyrinth. The idea that there was no escape put weights on my feet and narrowed my sight. I experienced a swirl in the flow of time, and a sudden disruption in the logic of geographic space. All my surroundings grew to become the subject of confusion and doubt. My sense of reality was completely obliterated. I felt as though I had separated from my original self, abandoning it somewhere in the beginning. “I have to get back,” I was compelled to say.
“…But go past a certain point and you’ll lose the path out. It’s a labyrinth. Do you know where the idea of a labyrinth first came from?”
I shake my head.
“It was the ancient Mesopotamians. They pulled out animal intestines-sometimes human intestines, I expect-and used the shape to predict the future. They admired the complex shape of intestines. So the prototype for labyrinths is, in a word, guts. Which means that the principle for the labyrinth is inside you. And that correlates to the labyrinth outside.”
“Another metaphor,” I comment.
“That’s right. A reciprocal metaphor. Things outside you are projections of what’s inside you, and what’s inside you is a projection of what’s outside. So when you step into the labyrinth outside you, at the same time you’re stepping into labyrinth inside. Most definitely a risky business.” ”
– Haruki Murakami
To view more of Goseong’s work please visit his website.