Wrong Question
9’59", 2 channel DVD projection, 2006

After walking through a dark, gradually ascending passageway, you will arrive in the balcony space where two projection screens are standing side by side. The video begins with a scene of driving around to find a ‘place’ to park in the ‘non-place’ of a parking area, accompanied by the voice-over of a taxi driver giving a harangue about how ardently his generation were united under the command of the former president Park Jeong Hee, in order to ‘keep alive’ and defend this country in the ruins of the Korean war. Then, the scene is followed by the images of the artist’s daily routine, whose narrative advances independently by increasing the distance from the driver’s monolog of constant scolding and nagging. This distance grows, until the camera presents some dreamlike scenes as if falling into its own dream, even while watching the driver’s back.

The generation who had to distinguish democracy from its opponent for the purpose of surviving, and who went through colonization and war, accepted binary thought as the dominating motive of their lives. The myth, or the timeless nostalgia, has been continuously manipulated by the ideology of development and growth. Wrong Question repeatedly questions about the very myth, or the so-called “Miracle of Han River.” And it is in a rather contradictory or difficult way that the film attempts to overcome the myth: do not avoid, but chew over it. Wrong Question intended to find the right answer to the wrong question not in the correspondence between image and sound, but in what is left behind in their distance. The human madness always comes from the tendency to draw a clear line between ‘us’ and ‘them’, intolerant of ambiguity, and out of the interval between image and sound springs another power, that is, imagination.

Probably, life might be a journey where you learn how to tell good from evil in a taxi you take casually and nevertheless, cannot be discharged from an obligation to stand in the endless line of choices about what is still true.

The voice of an anonymous taxi driver...

In the name of progress...
they’re only making this country poorer,
after all the efforts we made to be better off.
We should produce fruits first, and then share them with others.
But how come they only want to pull everything up by the roots ?
The country is so chaotic and people’s lives are getting worse.
But, Rhee Seung-man founded this country with democracy,
and the help of our ally America.
After establishing an independent government... he got UN approval.
If we had listened to those idealists,
who wanted to create a unified government with Kim Il-sung...
we and this country wouldn’t be here today.
Anyway, our first president Rhee Seung-man founded this country,
and President Park Jeong-hee was markedly bold and decisive.
He had a firm goal to make his country better off.
And under the flag of revolution, he did so... he was so determined
to feed his people who starved... and made such strong efforts.
He was harshly criticized for being the dictator of development...
but started the Saemaeul Movement.
Look what he did to this country.
If there had been no military revolution on May 16, 1961
this country would’ve gone nowhere.
But those worthless democrats are ruining us.
Why can’t they see the ridiculousness of North Korea’s system ?
We also went through the Korean War.
In the midst of the ashes...
we made tremendous progress and surprised the world.
Where do you think the drive came from ?
When we were so poor...
we asked for a loan from the German government.
It wasn’t that much for the Germans.
But 16 million marks was a huge amount for us.
To get the loan, we had to send our poor but skillful nurses...
and miners who were needed in Germany.
And they were soon recognized for their strong work ethics.
So the German government invited the president of
those hard-working people.
President Lubke sent his jet to President Park.
Our president didn’t even have his own plane.
What could he possibly have,
as the president of nowhere in the East ?
But President Lubke sent his jet. The miners.. and nurses....
Our president went to Germany with great anticipation to meet them.
So he took the plane... and arrived at the Bonn Airport.
Where was it ? When they heard that President Park was coming,
not only the nurses... but also the miners came with
their faces all darkened by coal.
They all came to Hamburg and burst into tears
when they saw the president.
And the president overlooked them from the platform.
We all heard about the heartbreaking story...
and read the president’s memoirs so many times.
So the president took the loan... and everybody shed tears
when he said good-bye to the miners and nurses.
They asked him, in tears, “Why don’t you take us ?”
He couldn’t even have a proper farewell with them...
and got in Lubke’s car.
He was crying all the way through the Autobahn, so Lubke told him...
“Please don’t cry, Mr. President...”
“With those young people’s diligence and
love for their country...” “you will be successful for sure”
Then he took out his handkerchief And gave it to our president.
When we heard the story... we were filled with sadness.
That’s how he set the foundation to make this country...
the 11th largest economic power in the world.
He was unfairly accused for being a dictator and so on,
and his wife was killed by Mun Se-kwang.
And then, he was also killed by... one of his men,
Kim Jae-kyu, and here we are now.
Those die-hard democrats...
what have they done after coming to power ?
Nothing.
They’ve only fed their men and piled up their wealth since the
first socialist regime took power.
What about the second socialist regime?
What has it done to the country ?
Democracy is important, but people, as well as the government, should be well-off first.
When the country is peaceful
its people can live comfortably.
But this regime only makes people’s lives miserable.
What’s the use of democracy anyway?
We need democracy after filling our stomach.
If this kind of regime takes power again...
we’ll go back to those days when we were so poor.
We shouldn’t let that happen but I’m so worried...
We need a powerful leader like President Park...
so this country can get back on the right track.

From Conversation with My Daughter...

Q: What’s your dream, sweetie?

A: Mom, dad, me and Taekwondo.

Q: What do you mean?

A: Dad taught mom Taekwondo in my dream.
And mom stayed home.

Grandfather’s voice : “You should say,
I’ll be a great painter like mom.”

Q&A: What’s a painter?~~~

Grandfather’s voice : A grandpa is a grandpa.

Q: What’s your nationality?

A: I’m Korean and French… ... and American.

Grandfather’s voice : No, tell her that you’re
half and half. Half Korean and half French.

A: I’m half and half.

Grandfather’s voice : Right. Standby.

A: Action!

어느 택시 운전기사의 모놀로그 중에서...

……진보라는 미명하에 완전히,
먹고 살게 만든 이 조국 결국은 못살게 만드는 것 밖에 더 되는 것 아니냐,
나눠 먹고 사는 식으로 만들어가지고 말이야..
뭘 열매를 따 먹고 열매를 가지고서 나눠 먹는 방향으로 가야지,
뿌리 채 뽑아먹는 식으로의 이 정책이 옳은 정책이냐는 말이지..
그런 정책으로 나라는 혼란해지고 국민생활은 점점 피폐해지고……
이승만 박사가 그래도 나라의 기틀을 그래도 자유민주주의 체제로
만들어서 우방 미국의 힘을 빌어서 독립정부를 세워서
그 바탕 위에서 민주주의 국가를 유엔 승인 하에 세웠고
그 이상주의자들 남북협상을 해가지고 김일성 하고
남북통일정부를 세우자던 그 이상론자들은 말이야,
그 사람들 얘기만 들었다면 우리, 이 오늘의 이 조국은 있을 수 없어……
어쨌던 첫째 국부인 이승만 박사가 나라를 세웠고
둘째가라면 서러운 박정희대통령의 그 과감하고 용단성있는,
국민을 어떻게 해서던 잘 살아보겠다는 기치아래
혁명의 기치를 높이 들어가지고 그야말로 참……
헐벗고 굶주린 국민들 배불리 먹여 살리겠다는 그 결심 하에
피눈물 나는 노력을 다했지……
개발독재니 무슨 독재니 모진 소리 다 들어가며
새마을 정신 새마을 운동을 펴서 나라를 어떻게 발전시켰어.
어쨌던 5.16혁명 이라는 그 역사적 일이 없었다면
오늘의 이 조국은 그 알량한 민주주의자들의 허튼 수작에 아직도 멀었어……
그 이북이라는 그 체제를 들여다 보지 못해? 거기다 6.25전쟁 겪었지.
그 비참한 잿더미 속에서 세계가 놀랄 정도의 경제발전 시켜놓고,
그 원인이 어디서부터 우러났는데 그 못살던 시절,
처음 독일정부에 차관을 신청해 놓고, 그것도 많지도 않아……
그러나 그때 그 1600만 마르크라는 돈은 대단했던 돈이지.
그 전제하에 못살던, 그러나 기술을 가진 간호원들,
거기서 필요로 한 기술을 가진 광부들,
전부 파견해가지고 거기서 근면 성실히 일하는 거 인정받아서,
그러한 국민들을 가지고 있는 한국의 대통령을 초청을 한 거지 .
직접 그때 당시 뤼브케대통령이 전용기를 보내서..
비행기나 있었나 가난한 나라의, 저 동방의 이름없는 나라의 대통령이 무슨,
뭐가 있겠어 … 뤼브케대통령이 그래도 전용기를 보내서 조국에서 파견된 형제 딸들
같은 간호원들 또 광부들 직접 가서 만나보겠다고, 그러한 기대 속에서..
보낸 비행기타고 본 국제공항에 내려서 광부들 있는 거기가 어디냐
거기로 함부르크로 향해가는 도중에 조국의 대통령 오신다니까
독일에 파견돼있던 간호원들 광부들 시커멓게 연탄에 찌든 얼굴을 하고
함부르크로 집결해서 대통령을 만나면서 반가워서 울음을 터트리는
그 많은 근로자들…… 단상에 올라가 그네들을 내려다보는 박대통령,
참 억장이 무너지는 그러한 순간을 우리는 들었어..
회고록을 읽고, 듣고, 보고……
그래서 1600만 마르크의 차관을 얻어서 간호원, 광부들하고
작별을 하면서 떠나는 광장이 온통 울음바다가 되고
우리만 두고 어찌 혼자 가십니까 하고 광부, 간호원들이 울음을 터트릴 적,
그야말로 목이 메서 작별인사도 제대로 못하고
이국의 대통령전용승용차를 타고 우리나라로 말하자면 고속도로,
아우토반에 올라서 오는 길에 눈물이 복받쳐서 눈물을 쏟고 우니까
뤼브케대통령이 ≪ 대통령 각하 눈물을 거두시오, 당신네 나라의
저 젊은이들의 그 근면성과 조국에 대한 사랑, 애국이,
저러한 국민이 있을진대 결코 당신은 성공할 것이오…… ≫
그러면서 자기 손수건을 꺼내면서 눈물을 닦으라고
위로하는 그런 내용을 들으면서 우리는 참 가슴이 복받쳤지……
그렇게 해서 오늘의 조국,
세계 11개 경제대국으로 올려놓는 원초적인 기반을 닦았지……
독재니 뭐니, 억울함을 뒤집어쓰고 결국
문세광이라는 놈의 흉탄에 쓰러져서 아내를 보냈고
그 다음에는 김재규라는 놈한테, 자기가 길러낸 충복한테
흉탄에 쓰러져서 가서, 결국 오늘에 이르렀지만……
민주주의 그렇게 좋아하던 세력들이 대권을 잡아서 한 게 뭐 있어.
아무것도 한 게 없어. 저의 졸개들 배불리 먹이고 저 치부하고
제1사회주의 정권이 들어선 이후,
그 짓을 하다가 저의 명예나 부나 이런 거나 채우고
제 2 사회주의 정권이 들어서더니, 나라 지금 어떻게 만들었어?
민주주의도 좋지만 우선 국민이 배불리 먹고 나라가 윤택해져야지만
국태민안이라는, 말 그대로 나라도 튼튼해지고 백성도 기름지게 살고 하는데
완전히 피폐해지게 만들어서 갈피를 못 잡고 있는 이 정권,
민주주의가 뭐여?
민주주의가 밥 먹여줘? 다 배부른 뒤에 민주주의도 필요한 겨! ...
또 다시 이런 정권이 앞으로도 잡는 날에는 우리는 불쌍한 시절의,
그러한 시절의 국민들로 다시 돌아갈 수 밖에 없어……
결코 용납할 수 없는 그런 정권이 들어서면 안되겠지만
지금 하는 꼴 보면 큰 야단이에요 참……

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