Timely and timeless affect

Most part of Korea town used exist to mainly cater to Koreans or Korean americans and there exists a certain kind of affect in Korea town. Perhaps it is because of the names of the venues, which almost always refers to the sense of nostalgia or homesickness (One particular restaurant is called ‘miss Korea’). Of course, this is all before Korean corporate chains began to find its way out of Korea to establish their first base camp for US expansion in New York, however. For me the most distinct sets of names for K-town venues have been this giant coffee shop/bakery that has been closed for 2 ~ 3 years now. The name of the shop was Koryodang, which refers to a dynasty Koryo that was established in 918. Koryodang was founded in 1996 by a Korean immigrant, its first store opening in Flushing, where much of Korean Americans form a community then and now. What’s fascinating for me is that the founder has referred not to Republic of Korea, the modern Korea as we know it, but went as far back as 918 to refer to Koryo, the ancient dynasty that precedes Chosun dynasty which preceded Republic of Korea.

This is not just limited to a single store either. The biggest bookstore in K-town is named Koryo books as well. One can notice, given that he or she is Korean, that most venues in K-town have very traditional names even without referring to Koryo or any other ancient Korean countries. Compared to recent new wave of Korean corporate chains and their names, Paris Baguette and Caffe Bene to name a few, the gap is even greater. One could argue that these corporate chains are not just trying to appeal to Korean customers, trying to position themselves as global as possible. And in a similar way the founders of venues that refer to ancient Korean entities must have been trying to position themselves when they chose that particular name. It seems to me that it would not have been enough for the founders of famous Korean restaurants in NYC to simply refer to modern day Korea. It was as if they had to go as far back as 918 to refer to a dynasty that nobody refers to anymore back in Korea. There must have been a special kind of affect they were going after, and I want to figure out exactly what that is and why.

From reading Brennan’s text on affect, it becomes quite clear that we are not self-contained in terms of our energies and that “individual” and the “environment” mutually transmit affects to each other. And from Bennet’s text on vibrant matter, she talks about causality which she describes as more emergent than efficient, with cause and effect alternating its positions. I believe the key to this mystery, as to the affect they were going after by referring to an ancient kingdom and why they felt the need to do so, could be found if we focus on the process as itself an actant. The process through which Korean American community in New York was formed, where distinct individuals came to form this environment, now leading to this reverse corporate invasion, should be able to provide why they had to cling so hard onto such an ancient entity.


~ by yjc298 on March 3, 2015.