Epilogue: A Trip to New Zealand
Translated by Shyun J. Ahn
It was Wednesday. I heard my father talking to my mother by chance. “Get Ready. We will be off to New Zealand on Saturday.” So I prepared for it. I rummaged through the books about New Zealand at the school library and read them. And Saturday came. Nothing happened. No one talked about New Zealand. Neither tomorrow nor the day after tomorrow.
When Max Ernst was in New York, he didn’t plan to meet anyone. What if I make plans and then suddenly meet somebody else? What if I don’t want to show up? Every day, he sat on his hand at the same coffee shop, imagining who he would meet. He met with the same people he’d always met.
Yi Sangmin, an acquaintance of mine who studied arts in university, said he will hold a private exhibition for retirement soon. He has never held an exhibition, nor has he shown his works to other people. He told me he prefers thinking something to doing something and asked why he must create art and show it in an exhibition. “Then why would you do it for your retirement?” I asked. He said he feels good when he thinks about holding an exhibition for his retirement.
Meister Eckhart said what perfects us is not what has been accomplished but what has happened to us. I consider Analrealism to be what has happened to us, so it is hard to answer when someone asks us what “Analrealism” is. It all happened by coincidence. Not one of us had imagined we would continue this ism—ism that is named “anal,” which is of no use and would only bring forth criticism—and publish a book on it. Analrealism started as a joke, and the joke became no joke. Meanwhile, some wrote novels, some got married, some published their books, and some fell into self-reproach (actually, most did).
One day, Keum Jungyun showed me a line from Roland Barthe’s Last Lecture: “There is no need to hope in order to proceed.” I didn’t understand the sentence. How can you proceed without hoping for something? I’ve been putting forth a great effort to have hope and proceed, and how dare Roland Barthes drain my energy. But now that I am thinking about it, he was right. Analrealism does not have hope. There is no hope that Analirealism will develop into a movement like surrealism or make us serious money. There is no hope we will get anything gravy. Yet, Anal has continued for more than three years and gathered people. How did this happen? I love people from the past century, and they were all hope freaks. Naturalists, Futurists, Structuralists, Surrealists, Situationists, and so on. Pessimistic or optimistic, they were all deluded, excepted that they didn’t know that they were. Now, no one is deluded. We lost the right to be deluded. We have witnessed so much failure, frustration, and treachery. So we do not make assertions, or treat assertions with contempt, or make false assertions. Yi SangWoo watched Godard’s Our Music and said to me. Shot and reverse shot. Is history dialectic in the end? Shot and reverse shot. I do not know the answer, but I like shot and reverse shot. Shot and reverse shot. Realism and Modernism. Modernism and Post-modernism. Changbi and Moonji Publishers. Kyunghyang and JoongAng newspapers. South Korea and North Korea. USA and China. Visceral realism and Analrealism. Hong Sang-soo and Kim Ki-duk. Jung Sung-il and Yoo Un-seong. Yi In-seong and Jung Young-moon. Shin Kyung-sook and Bae Suah. Paik Minseok (before he quit writing) and Paik Minseok (after he quit writing). Shin Hyoung-cheol and Keum Jungyun. Kwon Hee-chul and Kang Dong Ho. Bak Hulyo and Kim Jun-eon. Bak Solmay and Yi SangWoo. Jeong Jidon and Oh Han Ki. Hwang Ye-in and Hong Sanghee. Or the opposite of them. Or a new combination of them.
Several days ago, Bak Solmay, Yi SangWoo, Hong Sanghee, and I made a plan to watch the last screening of Godard’s Goodbye to Language at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. I arrived a little early and waited for the rest. Even when the film started, no one showed up. The seats were sold out and we couldn’t watch the movie. I still haven’t managed to watch it. Is this what Analrealism is? Oh Han Ki and Yi SangWoo met in Sinsa-dong and ate hamburgers. I met Keum Jungyun in Sangsu-dong and talked about China. Keum Jungyun’s and Jung Young-moon’s homes are geographically close. I ran into Jung Sung-il and Yoo Un-seong at a theatre. But this is not that important. Shot and reverse shot.
Again, Godard’s film. There’s a line in Film Socialisme. “Ideology divides us, and a dream unites us.” What I am best at is quoting. Literature is to quote the world. I learned how to quote from Keum Jungyun. Shot and reverse shot. Analrealism is to quote literature. Therefore, Analrealism is to quote the quotation of the world.
Jeong Jidon. Born in 1983. He is the winner of the 2013 Munhakgwa Sahoe [Literature and Society] New Writer’s Award, the 2015 Munhakdongne Young Writers’ Award, and the 2016 Moonji Literature Award. He also represented the Korean Pavillion in the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale as a writer. He has published numerous works, including Like I’m Fighting, A Little Coward’s New Cowardly Party, The Joy of Literature (co-published), and We Will Live In the Memory of Others.