Critical Writing Index

Park Chan-Kyong's Asian Gothic as 'the Most Sublime Hysteria' in Its Return

by Choi Jong-chul

Third Text, 2016, v. 30, no. 5-6, pp. 456-473

Routledge, 2016

Park Chan-kyong, one of the most acclaimed media artists in Korea, recently coined the term Asian Gothic to describe the rise of grotesque ancient imageries in a contemporary media culture. As he claims, this return of gothic sentiments symbolizes a trauma resulting from the "false modernity" in colonial Asia. Park's film Manshin: Ten Thousand Spirits (2014) and the exhibition he curated, "Ghost, Spy, Grandmother" (2014), illustrate the gothic vision, clarifying its remedial and contemporary value in local contexts. But while the gothic sentiment has been embraced in Asian cultures, it remains questionable whether the Asian Gothic can be a cultural paradigm which will cure local traumas. The malaise of modern projects in Asia continues and the gothic art seems to provide not a remedy but the illusion of one. This article will explore this illusory, spectral, and thus symptomatic aspect of the Asian Gothic through Slavoj Žižek's notion of "the most sublime hysteria" that returns in fantasy.

ITEM 2016.015 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

Manshin: Ten Thousand SpiritsPark Chan-kyong

Black Box: Memory of the Cold War ImagesPark Chan-kyong

Power PassagePark Chan-kyong

The Anabasis of May and Fusako Shigenobu, Masao Adachi, and 27 years without imagesEric Baudelaire

Spelling DystopiaNina Fischer and Maroan el Sani