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Space invader: Young Sun Han pushes us together.


* Artist Young Sun Han's recent work, "24 Hour Embrace," consisted of a 24-hour marathon hug with a 62-year-old man he solicited on Craigslist. Raised in Chicago and currently based in Auckland, New Zealand, Han tests the boundaries of comfort and public space in a variety of media, ranging from photo installations of cosmically seductive Asian men to tap dancing on bubble wrap in a busy subway train to a video close-up of his own mouth as he reads 10 stories of girlhood collected from an internet confessional to the intensely personal essays published on his own website. Han is currently preparing a video component for "24 Hour Embrace," as well as developing another performance piece "using the body and endurance and also involving strangers" for Switzerland's young artist fair, Liste 09.

Was there a grand declaration behind "24 Hour Embrace"?

Initially I had envisioned someone who was actually very similar looking to me and was about my height, my age, that kind of thing, but I'm glad it turned out to be someone who was a bit older. In some ways it made it uncomfortable because he took on this strange father/ lover figure. There aren't many other men I've ever held in my life besides my father--and maybe some ex-boyfriends--so it was this really strange kind of emotional dynamic initially.


But I'm really glad that we were able to hold the embrace without a break.

Your work questions why people are strangers or actually estranged.

I think that's a result of my personal history and how I was discovering my sexuality. A lot of that came from meeting people online and getting to interact with people I wouldn't have otherwise approached in real life. When you feel like you can't fully express your identity you're always seeking out other people who you can communicate with, and doing it online is easier because you can sort of filter people out.

From reading the essays on your site, I get the sense you are an unhappy person. Is there any truth to that?

Yeah, I think I'm sort of a pessimistic optimist, if that makes sense. I have hope for society and I think people are generally good and I think there are some really amazingly beautiful things in this world. I do bring up a lot of dark stuff--things that are maybe disturbing to some people--but I do that because I have faith overall that people will be able to take control of their lives ... hopefully.

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Title Annotation:NWS PRNT
Author:Delerme, Felipe
Publication:The Fader
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:May 1, 2009
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