Persistant Failure: [2012]

Persistent Failure is about recalling the childhood discipline implemented by my father at the dinner table. As a Korean, I was expected to know the proper method of using chopsticks. Otherwise, I was taught that people would assume that I was from a low class family. My father, who was a very patriarchal figure in my family, scolded me at every meal when I used the chopsticks incorrectly. This was always followed by a punishment, which made the dinner table a humiliating and uncomfortable place to be with my family. I still don’t know how to use chopsticks the correct way.

In this performance, the audience was invited to join me at the dinner table. They then tried to follow a set of instructions on the proper use of chopsticks being dictated to them by an audio recording.

Accompanied by the audience, I was seated at the traditional table, eating rice with the chopsticks. With each failed attempt, I broke the set of chopsticks and set the pieces in a pile. Halfway through the performance, I began mending each chopstick and uttered a penance roughly translated as, “I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.”