07_2010 - Alzheimer Documentary
Featuring - Duke’s father side’s grandma
Directed by Duke Choi
Format - DV tape digitized 
Running time - 34:39
Year - 2010
An interview with my grandma with late stages of alzheimers. She is one the main reasons going to Korea to find her brothers and tell her that she passed away. This video is of her looking at an old photo album of hers that I kept with me. Later through my quest I found many of her relatives and have reconnected since 1960. The significance is that I found a relative who was apart of a great deal of early Korean politics from 1948-1960 including 반민트위, 3.15, 4.19, 5.16, and 5.18.

Channel 1

It begins with me filming my father’s side grandma, who has Alzheimer’s. She doesn’t recognize me so we communicate with a photo album. She moved to Los Angeles in the early 60’s and regularly sent money back to Korea. She abruptly passed away in 2010, leading me to search for a narrative of the past. I found this exiled perspective through the only family member alive, the wife of her brother. Through a personal quest in 2012 I began my journey to visit her in Korea. She shows me their wedding photo with my grandma in it. In this photo I asked about a distinct figure on the left with a mustache and cane. She tells me about this figure named Kim Sangdon. He’s my grandma’s uncle and my great-grandfathers brother.

In order to look into this archive as a documentary, I use inherited methodologies from my grandma who studied fashion and grouped images together with the garments worn by Kim Sangdon. I see tailoring, which was my great-grandfather’s profession, as a way to understand the archive as material to narrated into essay film. 

“The very existence of the archive constitutes a constant threat to the state”- Achilles Mbembe -

Political Islands: Research Methodologies

TOPIC, Geneva Switzerland

Reading Material: 
Achille Mbembe - The Power of the Archive, 
Allan Sekula - Reading an Archive, 
Ariella Azoulay - Archive, 
Arjun Appadurai - Grassroots Globalization and the Research Imagination,
Griselda Pollock - After Affects After Images 


Channel 1

DV Footage shot by Duke Choi in 2010

HD Footage shot by Duke Choi in 2012

06_2013 Political Island
Format - HD DSLR
Running time - 11:21 & 14:10
Featuring - Duke Choi
Directed by Duke Choi
Cinematographer - Jung Hoyoon (정호윤 감독님)
Exhibitions - 
2013 - The Substation, Singapore - Shedding of Culture 
curated by Park Murim (박무림 솜배님)
2014 - Sangmyung University 
invited by Curator/Dean of the Art School, Lee Ihn-Beom 이인범 
This is a video performance of Duke Choi building a tipi on an island in front of the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea. I comfort myself with the idea of home and the division of Korean society by the DMZ. The De-militarized Zone brings the the South Korean peninsula into a political island which is a manifesto for living displaced in the post-coldwar era and unresolved border tensions within country. 

Channel 2

British Pathe

MayDay Rooms

Independence Hall of Korea독립기년관 

Cultural Heritage Administration문화제청 

Tokyo Korean YMCA東京韓国YMCA                
Kim Sangdon Archives김상돈기록 

The Center for Historical Truth and Justice 

The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Charlie Dean Archives

Channel 2
Suggests that group photography in formative years is a social schema and directs a point of origin in order to resurrect one’s narrative. The earliest images I could recover of my relative, was as a student activist in Tokyo, Japan (1922-1927) and as a farmer in San Francisco (1927-1929). Both were geopolitical locations for liberation, knowledge production & labor during the annexation of Korea (1910-1945).

The Kim Sangdon Project

Hal Foster - An Archival Impulse, 
Hal Foster - Artist as Ethnographer, 
Hito Steyerl - Politics of the Archive, 
Hito Steyerl In Defense of the Poor Image,
Jacques Derrida - Archive Fever a Freudian Impression, 

04_2013 - Nonconformity Culture
Featuring - Lee Kyui Yong Wessels (Netherlands), Benjamin Bucher (Switzerland), Katrin Baumgaertner (Germany), Wan Kei Ip (Singapore), Duke Choi (California, USA), and Hounyeh K Kim (Tennessee, USA)
Format - HD Cam 
Running time - 17:48
Directed by Duke Choi
Year - 2013
Exhibition -2013 - The Substation, Singapore - Shedding of Culture curated by Park Murim (박무림 솜배님)
A collective conversation about living in Korea and the efforts of resistance, conformity, and struggle being the foreign Korean or mixed Korean identity. All very talented artists and one scientist, they talk about their private feelings with each other on the top of a Mullae-dong rooftop.

Channel 3 
Looks into Kim Sangdon’s role in de-colonization architecturally after WWII as a vice-president of a committee that trialled Koreans who collaborated with the Japanese (1948-1949). The president Rhee Syngman disbanded this law. In one fictionalized drama “Yainsidae”(2002), a scene shows police raid the committee in front of what is now the Seoul Museum of Art. Originally that building is a Japanese justice court used to persecute independence fighters.

Channel 3

National Assembly Library of Korea국회도서관  

Chosun News조선일보  

Kyunghyang Shinmun경향신문 

National Folk Museum of Korea국립민속박물관  

Found History book

Seoul Museum of Art서울시립미술관 

Rustic Period (2002)양인시대 (2002) 

National History Compilation Committee

1980_ Jürgen Hinzpeter / Westdeutscher Rundfunk

Original digitized film on Gwangju 1980. This documentary has been re-edited, fitionalized, and also to an extent censored. It's the only document of the massacre. 

Sole basis of this refernece material to be used as research questions. How to present archive from the form of history from produced material. The material used as a trigger point to research deeper into the excluded information prior to a 1960 coup. Response material such as relatives going in as medical doctors and obtaining material was seized at the Korean airport have never been recovered. Protests in Los Angeles also radiate from this event. 





Channel 4 
Reveals in a news article an assassination attempt on Kim Sangdon, as well as others assumed to be threats to the autocratic regime. Through non-
violent tactics, hunger and sit-down strikes, a controversial National Security Law was forcefully passed with the help of 300 National Guard on 12.24.1958. This would widen the regime’s control of its southern border.

Channel 4

Pacific Stars and Stripes

Democratic Party Propaganda민주당선전부김의택  

Kim Sangdon Archives김상돈기록 

Ilmin Museum of Art일민미술관 

The Korea Times한국일보 

KBS History Special KBS 역사스페셜

Jacques Derrida - Copy Archive Signature -A Conversation onp Photography,
Karl Marx - Capital a Critique of Political Economy Vol. 1,
Okwui Enwezor - Photography Between History and the Monument,
Peter Feng - Identities in Motion,
Philip Monk - Dissembling the Archive - Fiona Tan, 

02_1980/2014 - Gwangju Protests in LA_01

02_1980/2014 - Gwangju Protests in LA_02
Found footage in 2014 - Kim Sangdon’s Archives
Format - 8mm film digitized 
Running time - 9:38 & 9:44  
Raw material:
Filmed in 1980 on 8mm film, There is a Gwangju protest movement in Korea Town in Los Angeles and Los Angeles International Airport. One of Kim Sangdon's last organized protests of the dictatorship. 





Channel 5 
This sequence looks to compare narratives from an uncirculated photo book and a segment from a documentary made by KBS (Korean Broadcasting System) that used the same images. [I was never able to obtain archives from there.] On the other hand I use the graphic design from a banned photo book depicting the 4.19.1960 student movement to counter the a memorial politics of images. It also shows Kim Sangdon’s election and his role as Mayor for the eight-months he was in office. The City Hall building is now a public library. There are many photos of him released publicly as well as in his archive.

Channel 5

동방사진  Dongbang Photo News

Korea Democracy Foundation민주화운동기념사업회 

Kim Sangdon Archives김상돈기록 

Seoul Metropolitan Library서울시청도서관 

Kyunghyang Shinmun경향신문 

National Archives of Korea국가기록원  

KTV National Record Film KTV 국가기록영상관

Channel 6 
Reconstructs the process of recollection during the arrest of Kim Sangdon on the day of the coup d’état on 5.16.61. Court trials (1961-1963) consist of court documents and images found in the personal archive. After a six month trial, he was found 
innocent in charges of overthrowing the military government but blacklisted from politics. The information found was crucial to understanding his arrest during the coup because institutionally these archives were not released or still remain confidential. After his case was dismissed I look into family footage of his visit to Chicago in 1964. He hasn’t seen some of his children in 16 years since their scholarships to study in America, because the government of Korea wouldn’t let them re-enter.


Channel 6

CIA Electronic Reading Room

National Editorial Association

Movietone News

Criminal Department제일범죄형사사진과 

Presidential Archives대통령기록관 

British Pathe

National Archives of Korea국가기록원

KTV National Record Film KTV 국가기록영상관   

동아일보 Donga Ilbo

Kim Sangdon Archives김상돈기록

Exhibition Site: The Korean Resource Center

Why exhibit at a resource center? 


Marginalized history is suppressed, it becomes forcefully forgotten, fictionalized, and over time; sanitized through redaction. With a layer of Alzheimer’s; a photo becomes a piece of paper until my generation remembers. I found my voice as an artist through this forgotten figure Kim Sangdon by constructing an archive that unpacks a different glimpse of history that I can identify with, researched within, and began a process to find my own struggle as a Los Angeles native where I felt rootless and unidentifiable without a context to voice from. 

Yet the material shouldn't had never survived like many other cases facing turbulent and violent history was preserved by Kim Sangdon as he auto-archived and continually created scrapbooks while leaving vast clues to pick up on. I believe his activities were well documented as a public figure that left fragments of material scattered throughout over thirty sites from art institutions, government agencies, news outlets, whistle blower organizations, archive centers, libraries, and used bookstores. The regimes did well to control and eliminate facts about this figure to the public and the generation that recall him were silenced to speak in fear of the National Security Laws. He can be traced throughout the political discourse of modern Korean history from 1919-1980s, yet there isn’t any serious research, publications, or surveys of his activities still today. There are mentions but never spotlighted.

Ravi Arvind - Palat Beyond Orientalism - Decolonizing Asian Studies,
Suely Rolnik - Archive Mania,
Walid Raad - Excerpts From the Atlas Group Archive,
Walter Mignolo/ Geopolitics of Sensing and Knowing,

Channel 7 
The Korean Central Intelligence Agency followed Kim Sangdon from 1967-1970 and charging him with defamation and sedition charges while he attended various political rallies against a third-term president election throughout South Korea. With severe state oppression and the passing of the Yushin Constitution, Kim Sangdon self-exiles to America and stages protests with various groups to restore democracy in Korea. By using graphology I analysis the protest signs the various groups led movements to restore democracy in Korea that span from the State Department in Washington D.C, where the South Korean Embassy in Chicago used to be, and across from the United Nations building in New York.

Channel 7

Google Maps

Kim Sangdon Archives김상돈기록 

Kyunghyang Shinmun경향신문 

The Korea Times한국일보 

Associated Press

National Institute of Korean History국사편찬원희 





Channel 8 

The Korean Friendship Bell was presented to the United States during the 1976 Bicentennial Year. For that reason Chun’s officiating bell ringing ceremony has special significance for both Americans and Koreans. The digitized 8mm footage from personal archives reveals a glimpse of Kim Sangdon and activists adamantly protesting Chun Do Hwan’s visit in Los Angeles on Jan. 28th 1981. The protestors gathered at the Los Angeles International Airport, then off of Olympic & Western, and later at night mobilized in front of the ABC Entertainment Center in Century City were Chun Doo Hwan was staying. This marks one of Kim Sangdon’s last protests of his life before his death in 1986. 

Channel 8

UCLA Film & Television Archive

Kim Sangdon Archives김상돈기록

After the exhibition, 박원경 who is a 103 yr old man who knew Kim Sangdon contacted me to come visit and show him the film.