Bona Park gets inspiration from those she collaborates with


Beyond the sea 2018 continues South Korean artist Bona Park’s exploration of themes of extinction and redundancy brought about by human activity, technological development and economic imperatives. Its three channels each focus on an individual working behind the scenes in Korea’s film and television industry — a voice actor, a lighting operator and a stunt performer – whose roles have become precarious with shifts in cinematic fashion and financing.

Bona Park discusses her work

Bona Park, South Korea b.1977 / Beyond the sea 2018 / Three-channel FHD video: 16:58 minutes, colour, sound Director and Editor: Bona Park / Camera: Daegyeon Kim; Light: Woohyung Lee; Voice: Sohee Kim; Stunt: Young Yoon Hwang; Text excerpted from Marguerite Duras The Atlantic Man 1981 and Jean-Luc Godard Alphaville 1965 / Commissioned for APT9. Purchased 2018. Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Bona Park

The work’s central monologue, read by the voice actor, is drawn from French playwright Marguerite Duras’s experimental 1981 film The Atlantic Man — an ode to a departed lover. The ‘you’ addressed by the central monologue is directed toward film and television workers, and the profession of voice acting in particular. Once popular for dubbing foreign films, many voice actors were made redundant after the global financial crisis of 2008, their function replaced by subtitling.

Abstracted from their workaday context and framed by Bona Park’s videography, the actions of all three professionals take on a poetic resonance. Deeper readings are also possible — both of the oblique cinematic references inherent in each action, and of the broader conditions of labour in jobs that are vulnerable to obsolescence, the workforce equivalents of endangered species in the natural world.

Bona Park’s Beyond the sea (still) 2018

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First exhibited in ‘The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art’ (APT9) from 24 November 2018 – 28 April 2019

APT9 has been assisted by our Founding Supporter Queensland Government and Principal Partner the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.
Bona Park is supported by Arts Council Korea

Featured image detail: Bona Park’s Beyond the sea (still) 2018