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ASU's Kim earns grant from Arizona Commission on the Arts

March 29, 2007

Marianne Kim, an assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies in Arizona State University’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, has been awarded a $5,000 Artists Projects grant by the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

The award will be used to create a new work by Kim, “Meditations on North and South,” which will be a project involving video documentary, interactive installation for a gallery, and a multi-media performance for stage – all based on “undocumented events belonging to my mother.”

“I’m honored to be recognized by the Arizona Commission on the Arts and to be in a class of such distinguished artists,” said Kim, who joins 10 others as a 2007 grant recipient. “It is exciting to be able to get to work on a new project, and one that means so much to me personally and professionally.”

Kim’s “Meditations” is inspired by “macro” and “micro” events that relate to the border area between her native South Korea and its northern neighbor, North Korea. She will travel with a videographer this summer to record the events leading to the creation of the 38th parallel DMZ – a macro event – and to key locations where micro events took place – where her grandfather was arrested during the Korean War (he was never seen again), where the family house in the countryside burned to the ground during the war, a north-leading path taken by her mother to freedom. The project will map one woman’s journey through the war that separated the countries, exploring “the intimate and global strata of separation” through text, movement and video.

She is looking forward to the message she believes “Meditations” will send to those who experience it.

“’Meditations’ is inspired by my mother, by memory, by loss of memory, by forgotten stories,” said Kim. “It explores the relationship between North and South Korea and the subjective nature of history. It is a timely project that addresses current global issues artfully without judgment, and it is one that will foster cutting-edge performance that will touch local, national, and international art communities.

“I think it is important to listen and look beyond the headlines and the ‘buzz’ and to share what is not easily consumable or accessible,” said Kim. “It is important to offer alternatives and to find the art in the details.”

Kim’s submission to the Arizona Commission on the Arts was her first such application to the state agency created to connect artists and communities across the Grand Canyon State.

“Her work samples showed wonderful spatial sense and character, not just in dance technique, but in text and shape,” write the Commission on Arts panel that reviewed 122 applications. “What is really interesting about Kim’s works are the interactions between dancers, video and set. We feel it is important to support such original interdisciplinary work.”

Included on the Commission panel were Diane Barker, co-director and visual arts curator of Diversework Artspace in Houston, Texas; Jesse Manno, director of music for the Dance Division at the University of Colorado at Boulder; Aleida Rodriguez, award-winning poet, non-fiction writer, and editor; and Lucia Sanroman, assistant curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego. Darryl B. Dobras, a board member of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, chaired the panel.

Kim studied theater at Northwestern University and received her Master’s of Fine Arts from UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures. An ASU faculty member since 2005, Kim is a recipient of fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council and the Jacob K. Javits Foundation. Her work has earned her a number of grants from the Chicago Artists Assistance Grants, Durfee Foundation, and NEA/Dance USA to create new work. She received Chicago’s Ruth Page Award for Choreography and Performance in 1999 and was nominated for a 2002 Lester Horton Award.

The artist recently debuted a video-and-sculpture installation called “Room One” that investigates the role of the bedroom in a person’s life, “as a place of intimacy, illness and/or vulnerability.” It premiered at ASU’s West campus in March and will also tour the U.S. and abroad in 2007.