Disharmony in Flushing

Ecologies, synonymous with ‘environments’, are the complex interaction between the bodies that both act in, and create the environment as a whole. Then, when we talk about such bodies how should they be examined or observed? Should they be viewed in a “objective” way, such that we talk about what we soley “see”? Well, here I am standing in the middle of Flushing (Crocheron Ave to be exact). I look around. What do I see? Well, I see a road. I see trees. I see some cars that has been parked. Nothing special. Surely such objects are nothing unlikely you would expect to find in any road in NYC. But then there’s THAT. I look up, and I see it. Well, to be exact, I see waves of them continuing on for blocks after blocks. I see Korean. Korean written for the name of the stores. Korean written for advertisements. I see Korean written for the menu. The road signs and the location displayed on my Google maps ensures that I am indeed in NYC, United States of America, and yet I seem to see more Korean than English.

And this strange phenomena makes me think… and most importantly, ‘feel’. I feel a sense of disharmony, to see so much of my home country language in a foreign country I came to study. I feel like I’m back in Korea, seeing the familiar characters, hearing the familiar language. And yet at the same time I feel like I’m at a completely different place. Why so? I ask myself. And I trace back my thoughts, as it feels as I have arrived at the conclusion of “feeling something off” but is not quite understanding how I got there. This probably happened instantaneously – so fast, and intuitively that I did not even realize it. So I trace back the process. What is making me feel this weird…. Uncomfortness?

I look around me again. I observe the environment, the ecology I stand in. And I realize. Ah. It was this. No, it’s not the particular name “Jeju Island” (the name of a korean restaurant I happened to see), nor was it the barely visible remains of what once surely had spelled “bank” scrapped off to reveal “은행”. No. It was all of it. From the sky to the trees to the street to the car to the people to their conversation to the Korean characters to the asphalt road to the advertisement on the floor. THIS. Everything I was looking at was radiating a form of… something like a message, creating an atmosphere. Some “thing” that made me FEEL. These bodies surely have more to them then just what I see. They have… power. A presence. A… hmm an affect. On me. I’m sure.


Works Cited

Jane Bennett, Preface, Chapters 1 & 2 in Vibrant Matter, 2010
Matthew Fuller, Introduction to Media Ecologies: Materialist Energies in Art and Technoculture, pp.1-5


~ by Sung Jin Kim on February 21, 2018.