This is a work for Adaptation project. The alchemist is a novel written by Paulo Cohello. Santiago, the main character is a shepherd in Andalusia, South Spain and he travel to Pyramid, Egypt to find his treasure that he saw in his dream. During the journey, he met lots of people, met his love and faced with crisis but he continue his journey, kept an advice from the old king and the alchemist’s advice, Believe your destiny and the whole universe will help you. Finally he found his treasure. Not in the Pyramid, but in front of a church in Andalusia where he is from.
I adapted this story to my journey of life as a hybrid being of different cultures, different backgrounds and different spaces. From the people and experiences, I am being formed in the process of purifying, digesting and struggling like the alchemists did. The novel telling that Finding one’s identity is the most important thing is one’s life. Very though very hard process. Carl Jung reeveluated and symbolised the alchemy as a process of individuation process in his book, Psychology and Alchemy. “The work of alchemy represents a change of mind, not a change of matter.” Right now, I feel myself in a middle of the process still finding and struggling with my identity.
I started this project when I traveled to Sahara desert in Morocco. The desert, camel, the environment for me was very impressive and exotic. I almost felt like I am in the other universe in terms of the view but felt calm and stable. I started to think of myself in London which is very different same as the desert but feel very uncomfortable and unstable in this city. What about the South Korea where I am from? feel safe, stable, but everything is too familiar to be “an individual”… I think of myself in London again, I felt this is the place I can grow up with lots of times screaming, struggling, spitting. I collected my “traces” or “Factors” from Korea – London – the other places like desert.
I have lots of diaries and memos from South Korea. I dig the ground and collected soil by the thames river and the back yard of my flat. I got some sand from Sahara desert. I rinse them, filter them, mix them, dry them to make a clay like the alchemists. The identity of myself, this is what I was looking for. And decided to express myself with mould my portrait like many artists have done before such as Marc Quinn.
I casted my face with plaster and mould with the clay that I made. I also took a video from the desert and edited it with the sounds of clay making process. It could be a metaphor of my whole journey to find my dreams, identity and myself like the Santiago in The Alchemist.