Mom: How are you?

Woohee: Just, exhausted.

M: Exhausted?

W: Yeah.

W: I want to practice a song and

film you advising me.

M: Huh, I can’t advise on singing.

W: Why? You’ve been in a choir for a long

time, and was told many times that you should’ve been a professional singer.

M: No way. What is the song you’re

singing? I’ll just enjoy watching my son singing.

W: Okay, just watch me then.

M: Okay.

W: It’ll start without a prelude.

M: Yeah, okay.

(Woohee sings Lascia Chi’o Pianga)

M: Wow, you sang very well. But why did

you choose a song this high pitched?

W: (laughs) I just wanted to sing this song.

M: Are you going to present this to other

people?

W: Yes, I want to present this as

an artwork. What do you think?

M: Like a video?

W: No, I’m just gonna perform in front of

people.

M: Next to your artwork? Is that

the artwork?

W: I’m gonna sing while playing the video

of you coaching me. What do you think? 

M: Great, that’s a very great idea. Well, the

note is so high, isn’t it? You chose this with an apparent reason though, right?

W: Yeah, I just want to sing this song.

M: Okay, then you might want to listen

to the original song many times. You should make this song yours. Once you understand the meaning of the lyrics, and when it touches your heart, then sing. When we sing a hymn, we are told to get the grace of faith first. Don’t get too emotional though.

W: Okay then, do you think it’s okay for me

to sing this song? Like this?

M: Yeah, I like the way you sing, but I think

you should make the song yours.

W: This song is originally made for female.

Is that okay? Should I still sing it?

M: That’s fine.

W: I am using falsetto unlike other people.

Is that okay?

M: Well, that’s also okay. You’re not a

professional singer, but a visual artist showing this along with your work.

W:  No, singing itself is my work.

M: Oh, singing itself? Okay, that’s cool.

Nice. You know, that’s a performance art. You don’t necessarily sing very well.

W: The intention of work is that I sing with

this voice.

M: Yes, actually I felt that a little bit when

you started. I feel that. I could tell what you tried to express. Just do it. Trust yourself.

W: Do you think it’s okay?

M: Yeah, just believe in yourself because

it’s your work that you intended.

W: Okay.

M: Yes, trust yourself. Be yourself with

confidence. It’s okay. It’s okay if you make a mistake. Just go for it. When you first opened your mouth, I felt it, like why you're trying to sing this. So it was already delivered.

W: Why do you think I do this?

M: Well, you know, you want to show your

world even if you can’t. It's not your territory but you can't help it. Not in my area, but... and I felt like you wanted to challenge it, like that.

M: Be confident. You have to trust yourself.

That’s the art, you get caught up in there first and take pride in it. You should think you’re doing something awesome, and then you should be grown up. Once you get to there, I think the audience would get your sincerity. Yeah, go for it. You’re great. Do it. Great, great. I love your intention. My son is amazing. You got this.

M: Be yourself. Okay, I love you. 

Woohee in LA 

“I love you.” 

08/26/18

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Mother in Seoul

“I love you.” 

08/31/18

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00:00 / 02:39

Lascia Chi’o Pianga

by Frederic G. Handel

From the movie Farinelli, 1994

 

(Italian) Lascia ch'io pianga mia cruda sorte (English) Let me weep over my cruel fate

 

E che sospiri la liberta

and let me sigh for liberty 

 

E che sospiri

and let me sigh

 

E che sospiri la liberta

and let me sigh for liberty

 

Lascia ch'io pianga mia cruda sorte

Let me weep over my cruel fate 

 

E che sospiri la liberta

and let me sigh for liberty 

 

Il duolo infranga queste ritorte

May sorrow shatter these chains

 

De’ miei martiri sol per pieta

for my torments just out of pity 

 

De’ miei martiri sol per pieta

for my torments just out of pity 

 

Lascia ch'io pianga mia cruda sorte

Let me weep over my cruel fate

 

E che sospiri la libertà

and let me sigh for liberty

April 30th, 2018.

We had another fight. Mom said that I wasn’t born gay, and that she knows me best. It was not the first time she said this. She has been back and forth. So I decided to record the conversation.

 

She said I should hide my gayness in the United States. I was upset and shocked, because that’s exactly the opposite from what I want. I chose to go to the United States to find liberty. I think I expressed some anger toward her as well. She ended up saying she wouldn’t have given birth to me if she had known that I would be sin against God. The sin against God. It hurts me so bad. I couldn’t continue the conversation so I went back to my room. After this, I didn’t say a single word to her for a few weeks. I kind of forced her to apologize to me, which she did. However, even though she apologized to me as I wanted, the words still reside in me and hurt badly. It’s never disappeared. I tried to listen to this recording several times, but never succeeded.

Woohee Cho (born in 1989 Seoul, Korea) is an LA-based interdisciplinary artist working with video installation and performance. The key theme of his work is self-identity. He is a gay who grew up in a religious, conservative middle-class Korean family. His identities and living environment merged and clashed with each other, which give him inspiration and a deeper understanding of self-identification. The aim of his work which stems from his personal experiences is to expose and queer the structural irony of patriarchal, heterosexual norms. While facing the discomfort and traumatic experiences, his body is functioned as the active agent, material, medium of his artwork, and the playground/battleground of discourse. Cho received a BFA from Seoul National University, and is currently expecting to receive an MFA from California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles in 2020.

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