The Cracked Share by Hangjun Lee & Chulki Hong

The Cracked Share

To begin with, as we understand from a remote place like Seoul, there have been two different conceptions of materiality in the Western experimental film history: materiality of cinema and of film. The former has been represented by the practitioners of the so-called the “Expanded Cinema” and the latter by the tradition of the “Hand-made” film. Whereas for the Expanded Cinema, the materiality or the “medium-specificity” includes not only the film material but also the entire condition and environment in which the cinematic experience is situated (i.e.: screen, projector, audience and theatre); for the Hand-made film, it is the whole filmic process prior to the screening in front of the audience (i.e.: hand-processing and optical-printing). The two practices share in the materialist turn that opens up the radical possibilities of aesthetic (and even political) interventions into a process previously considered seamless and transparent. What can be called to attention through the materialist turn includes the aesthetic-institutional process in the projection-spectator relation and the (non-) representational process in film-making. Moreover, these interventions bring their own temporalities back to those processes, and this returning emancipates the temporalities from their subordination to the cinema-as-commodity.

Hangjun Lee is a film-based artist whose practice is concerned with Hand-made Film and Experimental Cinema. Given these interests, Lee questions the linkage between materiality and temporality. This was his preoccupation around 2006, the time at which he started to collaborate with Chulki Hong, the noise improviser. The improvisational nature of their audio-visual performances opened means of detouring from the conventional editing techniques. Their collaboration also afforded critical investigations into the performativity of the practices in both the darkroom and the screening room, as well as in the private recording/practicing studio, and public performance spaces for the improvising musician. In fact, it was a kind of common interest shared by both us from the outset. In our collaboration, we avoid sacrificing/ concealing/minimizing one form of performativity (the performative nature and temporality of compositional process) for the sake of the other (i.e. those in improvisational and executional process). In the field of experimental music and sound, this kind of approach has been comprehensively called “cracking” or “hacking”. The concepts are finely formulated in the coinage of “Cracked Everyday Electronics” (by Voice Crack) or more generally “Handmade Electronic Music” (by Nicolas Collins).1 And this was a pure but perhaps necessary coincidence. the original title of the work of our collaboration and, retrospectively, of the set of our working principles at the same time, “The Cracked Share” was named by Lee after Georges Bataille’s masterwork, The Accursed Share, with the substitution of the adjective with “Cracked” as a synonym for ‘reticulated’ in the photographic image.