Living in Half Tones

Me-K. Ahn

1993, 09:37 minutes, colour, B&W, English


When I returned to Korea in the fall of 1992, I felt a certain amount of detachment and alienation from my birthplace. It mirrored, oddly enough, my situation in the States since 1969, the year I was adopted. I half-expected that once I was back in Korea, my biological connection would be reactivated, and that I would be able to tap into the faraway reaches of my psyche to rediscover what it "really" meant to be Korean. Instead, I felt estranged and unwelcomed, like the outcast I became when I was abandoned.

Living in Half Tones is a metaphorical (re)construction of my developing Korean identity. Through recently captured visual imagery and simulated archival footage and text, it explores my experience of returning to Korea for the first time to search for bits and pieces of my past. It serves as visual linguistics for the confusion, pain and struggle that such a search entails.

After making this video I realize that part of being Korean is this search, the pain and struggle of disconnection and the surprise and joy of rediscovering Korea. There are thousands of us Korean adoptees in the U.S.. Our experiences, our search for identity and for a foundation on which to connect ourselves, is all part of being Korean.

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Critical Writing

Between two worlds
by Me-K Ando. Angles, 1995, v. 2, no. 4.