ArchiveTalks & Events
Film/Video Screening

Sojung Jun: Overtone

10 Jul 2024 6.30-9pm

Tate Modern
London SE1 9TG


Jun blends reality and fiction in sonic and filmic works that transcend time and space

Sojung Jun’s newest work, Syncope, premiering in the UK, opens up a three-chapter programme. Presented alongside two mid-length video works, Treasure Island and Ghost Forest Flower, Syncope furthers Sojung Jun’s enquiry into the realm of sound. In the filmmaker’s words, “sound becomes a (metaphorical) element that illuminates unseen existences in society”. Grouped together, the three films embrace the concept of overtone. When a note is played, we at times get the sensation of hearing other frequencies (overtones) above the lowest.

Syncope traces the journey of performers who have travelled to distant places in search of sound. It follows the trajectory of sonic waves: the rattling of a wagon, the words written outside of one’s mother tongue, the plosive sounds of musical instruments beyond the score. The film operates like a travelogue where a number of different paths intersect—the pace of trains which used to cross Asia and Europe, the physical speed of bodies crossing borders, the speed of voices mumbling, of data, and the ecological speed of migrating plants. Throughout, it offers a reflection on acceleration, and the practices that may rupture it, through the movement of sound. Central to the film are nomadic identities and indigenous musical traditions. Its title metaphorically refers to the loss of one or more sounds from the middle of a word, as well as a state of fainting. In music, it is used to change the flow of rhythm, which perfectly emulates the dynamic pace of the film’s editing.

Syncoping time, the programme then jumps back a decade. Treasure Island tells the story of a Haenyeo (Korean female diver), whose work mediates between man and nature. As Korean traditional singer Kim Yulhee sings the story of Jeju grandmothers and mothers, on the background, Sojung Jun overlays footage of Haenyeos gathering seaweed and abalone.

The final work in the programme was filmed not too far from the seaweed fields in which the divers fish. Crafted on Gapado, a small island at the southern edge of South Korea, Ghost Forest Flower blends together ideas that surface in the two previous works. Developed during the pandemic, while Jun researched Korean fir, it is inspired by her practice of tending a small garden around her studio. Like the garden itself, the plantings –a mix of native plants adapted to the environment, as well as naturalized, exotic, and endangered ones– reveal traces of the historical and geopolitical tensions of Jeju Island. Citing the concept of ‘물때([mulddæ] water time’ dear to women divers following the tides caused by the moon, the work explores both the movement of energy in nature and the movement of energy created by humans through sound. Like a tapestry, its soundtrack weaves together radio frequencies, electrical noise from the island's generators, wind, waves, and blades of grass.

The screening is organised with support from Barakat Contemporary.

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