Avant-Wow participative multimedia vocal fracking in underpants. FIENDS feature Brat Mennan and Samin Son. Performing like good little monkeys, but always reaching out for participants. FIENDS value the human vocal apparatus as their primary technology, but use Audio-Visual technology for new examinations, and emulate machines to challenge the limits of the body.
Q&A for Samin Son.
1. It’s a long way from Korea to Wellington, what possessed you come here?
My childhood was spent in Korea but my teenage years were entirely in Hastings, from the age of thirteen, I came over as an international student. After finishing high school in the small town I felt that there were so many things to be discovered and explored in Wellington. Wellington has been a very active place. After this year I want to be exhibiting in more places with my art and FIENDS. Matt and I are thinking of applying for artist residencies all around the world.
2. You had to return to Korea for compulsory service, how has the military influenced your work?
Military service was the hardest thing I have experienced so far. There was a lot of anger and frustration in there. However I had to learn to get through what might seem like to be the most difficult situations by utilizing what might be a negative thing into a positive projection. My work will always be influenced by this experience since I felt a lot while being in there. I got to see that we were going through this thing together and I want to communicate to the world that we are not alone.
3. What words do you live by?
Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s poem Solitude, “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone”(As referenced by a Korean film Old Boy).
4. How did Fiends come into be?
Matt Brennan and I met each other at Camp A Low Hum in February this year. Matt was doing his Karaoke Dick installment and I was exhibiting my Hammer Piece. One night I went into Karaoke Dick’s truck and sang Psycho Killer. Later it turned into group-nude Karaoke. We had both vibed out that we had what it took to be FIENDS, especially since both of us were involved with extended vocal techniques and performance with our art practices. Mighty Mighty needed an act to fill at the last minute for a Friday show. We got a couple of microphones, black light and topless fluro paint aesthetic and had a great first show! We thought this is too special and crazy to let go of as a one off thing and have started properly collaborating ever since!
5. What does the NZ art scene need more off?
Definitely needs more active fiends who are keen for some sincere fun whom are keen to save the world with us.
6. Will there be nakedness?
We have always been born naked.
7. Who would you most like to work with other than Matt?
I would love to work with people that are keen to get positive with me. FIENDS and Samin Son are open for some serious smiling time. I love POSITIVE IRRATION YEAH(Fiends lyrics)≈≈ Confront negativity with SMILES and POSITIVITY.
8. Jeans or slacks?
JEANS. Definitely jeans. I have this red pair of jeans are almost as though they are uniform for my daily life.
9. What’s with you and public masti?
In 2007 before I went back to Korea to attend a compulsory military service, I had just completed 2nd year at Massey Art School. For end of the year studio presentation I did a performance where I installed security camera and monitors and masturbated. I wanted to challenge the others and myself. I have always been interested in the audience interaction and reaction.
10. Why should people come to Open City?
Because there is going to be Korean beer and an amazing great time with FIENDS and MICHELANGELO PISTOLETTO BAND coming here all the way from KOREA!
Many thanks to Karin Hofko in collaborating with us for this show providing great energy and wonderful existence in featuring in our videos. Thank you also to Stephen Parry at the 128 Radical Social Centre and the collective for providing us with an awesome time and space into making this happen. Major thanks to City Art Gallery, Aaron, Angela, Anna, Amba and Kirsty.