Let the Legend Become – 2023
Music: Samulnori (9 minutes 10 seconds)
Performed by M.I.T. Oori, during Brandeis University K-Nite 2013
Recorded by Brandeis Korean Student Association
Installation view, Once Upon a Time exhibition at The Gong Art Gallery, New Port Beach, CA.
Korean folktale ‘Dangun Shin-hwa’ narrates mythological onset of Korean lineage and the heroic founder named Dangun. According to mythologists, this story is a metaphor for founding a singular, collective identity that has embraced various ancient tribal societies under a flag. Let the Legend Become is inspired by this ethnic legend about unification. Quadraphonic sound installation becomes a spiritual and cultural prayer for the separated that are destined to be united again. Although positioned apart from each other in the space, speakers broadcast synchronized Pungmul drumming, a folk art performed during harvest festivals and shamanistic events alike in the North as in the South. What’s divided must come together.
When Hwan-Woong, the prince of Heaven, descended down on Earth, he was visited by wild animals willing to become humans. Hwan-Woong tested their patience by providing them a cave to pray and bitter herbs to eat. Successfully enduring 49 days, a bear finally evolved into a woman. She then got married to her divine patron and gave birth to Dangun, who found the first kingdom in Korean history, Chosun. Dangun has since been worshipped as the primeval ancestor-god in Korean shamanism.