'Shamanism + Cyberspace' looks at the separation of magic and science in the postmodern era
Posted 12.08.09 by MICA Media Relations
MICA faculty member Mina Cheon '99 has released her first book, Shamanism + Cyberspace (Atropos Press). The book--adapted from her dissertation, The Shæman in Cyberspace: Dilemmas of Reproduction, which was completed for her doctoral degree in Philosophy of Media and Communications at the European Graduate School, Switzerland--explores the separation of magic and science in the postmodern era.
In the book, Cheon "shows that cyberspace, a scientific discourse and a reproductive technology, invokes the shaman as part of its claim to be a utopian space of new relationships," reads the book's description. "But in fact the shaman reveals that cyberspace is an extension of Western-centric imperialism, marked by nationalism, traditional gender roles, racism, and cultural othering. Cheon looks at the highly contested spaces of actual shamanism, both in South Korean everyday life and in rituals performed by the Korean female shaman Kum-hwa Kim, a superstar within anthropological and theater circles. These spaces reveal the South Korean thrust toward modernity as the residue of being a postcolonial state."
As the online world expands each day and imperialistic values are dispersed, this book responds with critiques and questions of origin theory and authentic experiences of cultures. It looks at how cultures are formed through power and knowledge systems that are still predominantly Western. "Shamanism collides with contemporary media art worlds, collapsing time and space, upending gender and racial categories, and confounding the boundaries between East and West."
Cheon, a Korean-American, received one of her two M.F.A.'s from the Hoffberger School of Painting. She divides her time between Baltimore, New York and Seoul, and she has shown her artwork internationally, with solo exhibitions including the Lance Fung Gallery in New York; Insa Art Space, Arts Council, Seoul; and C. Grimaldis Gallery in Baltimore. Her artwork--including installation, performance art, video and interactive media--deals with themes of media, borders and conflicts between nations, namely the relationship between South Korea, North Korea and the United States.
Faculty member Mina Cheon PhD, MFA '99 will be reading from her newly published book Shamanism + Cyberspace (Atropos Press) at the HP Garcia Gallery (580 Eighth Ave., New York) on Wednesday, May 19 at 6:30 p.m. Her book combines postcolonial, deconstructionist and performance theory, offering exciting interpretations of new media and shamanism itself, specifically in South Korea. There will be a book signing directly after the reading.