Ten Thousand Spirits
In Korea, the figure of the shaman stands out as the one who bridges the mortal and spirit worlds. Shamans are entrusted with the ability to communicate with nature spirits, ancestors or a culture’s gods and goddesses — and function variously as oracle, doctor, psychotherapist and beyond. The spirit of the shaman — known in Korea as manshin — does not travel somewhere else. Instead, gods, spirits or ancestors descend into the shaman, so that the shaman becomes a god herself. Exploring the relationship between art, science and spirituality, the artist works with a Korean shaman, Bujeokchongtong, to construct a machine/ installation/ temple that produces rice wine (makgeollii). Microbiological techniques are utilised to harness bacteria from the shaman’s body and used as a starter culture to ferment rice offering from possession rituals. The end product is “human makgeollii” — custom-made rice wine inoculated by the shaman’s microbial community.
About the artist: