Wun Ting Wendy Tai
21 Days of History.
Performance. Executed at Ewha Womans University from June 30 to July 20, 2010
Ewha University Archive, set up in the oldest building on campus, is devoted to documenting the history of Ewha Womans University. Housed within is a Letter Room, a room to record personal memoirs about Ewha or the Archives. As the Archive brochure states, "These letters will later become precious material, in themselves a page in the history of Ewha". The intention is to store submitted letters for a hundred years, though what will become of them is still undecided.
Finding the idea of inserting oneself into the University's history (and by extension the history of women in Korea) fascinating, I began to write one letter per day in the Letter Room. This act became a quasi-religious routine. The hilly landscape of Ewha's campus resembles the upward climb towards the space of quiet meditation for Buddhists or Shamanists in Korean culture, a poetic allegory for my habitual visits to the Archive. Moreover, issues regarding the gendering of space inevitably came to mind - if the interior is commonly considered a 'feminine' space, then what does it mean to be within the within, especially in the context of an all-female university?
In this day and age of the rigorous recording of everything, down to saving the most mundane of 'tweets' in the Library of Congress, 21 Days of History not only addresses femininity within strictly structured Confucian values, but also the struggle between temporality and permanence, and the human endeavour for documentation as validation of one's existence.