My primary aim is to investigate and analyze the ways in which my cultural identity as an Asian artist has been shaped, redefined, and recognized, and how my questions of cultural identities cannot be separated from the broader context of major social, philosophical, and cultural exchanges under the guise of 'Globalization.' [...] The thesis project is a continuation of my inquiries about my cultural identity and how my interpretation of others in the concepts of my art practice has been affected by the authoritative standards of art and humanities set by Western powers over the centuries. I seek to understand how the impact of the colonial exercise of power has shaped the European knowledge and opinions of non-Western cultures and laid the groundwork for a globalized cultural ideology. It is important to clarify, and indeed emphasize, that my attention for this project should not be attributed to a concern with only my antagonism of a globalized Western ideology. Nor is my work, in an attempt to elaborate, to devalue Western art history. It is a carefully considered act of negotiation in which I worked to obtain further understanding of my ambivalence between my assimilation process and resistance toward the dominant culture by examining and enriching my perspective through an analysis of the relationship between my body and others, my personal history and cultural ideology. One of the central ideas for this show was to adapt and 'play' with the concept of the colonial code and the representation of mimicry by reversing the roles between subject and object or surveyor and surveyed. In an attempt to authorize myself with power and exercise that power to control and reposition my social role as an observer of 'the Other,' rather than observed as 'the Other,' my aim was to recognize and then redefine the meaning of my cultural identity. Photography has played a significant role in the production of 'otherness' for the past century. Through the appropriation of the colonialist practice which focused on collection of visual records of colonized peoples, I utilized photography to perform this concept of discovery or observation that claims to be able to create objective, 'scientific' records, free from the bias of human imagination. I considered that my photographic sculptural approach might not be fully regarded as photography in general because I refused to take the conventional role of documentary photography. Nevertheless, i utilized one of the most important functions of photography, considering it as an objective tool for mimetic code that describes the real world due to its scientific accuracy.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Photosculpture--Themes, motives; Photosculpture--Technique; Identity (Psychology) in art; Self-portraits; East and West in art; Koreans--Ethnic identity
Department, Program, or Center
School of Photographic Arts and Sciences (CIAS)
Jang, Hong Seon, "Self-Portrait" (2008). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus