I am a multi-media artist based in Seoul. The stories I tell are extracted from a personal narrative of being a Korean queer non-binary person, which is contextualized into a larger framework of systemic political relations. My work is grounded through my spirituality and political identity. I believe in transformative justice, re-indigenization*, and love as ritual: a sacred and divine way of being, a daily practice of worship, and ultimately a commitment to a practice of liberation. The process of re-indigenization for me is to understand the different effects colonialism has had on my body, to re-learn the indigenous practices of my ancestors, and be in deep understanding and relationship to myself and others to vision the future. My work is rooted in Buddhist practice: the firm belief in the capacity for compassion and transformation in all living beings. These fundamental principles guide me through my life and work.
The mediums I use reflect the message I wish to convey. Recently, I have been using painting, text, video, and embroidery. My most recent work from this year and last year has been shaped by my experiences living in Korea, reconnecting to my heritage and family, learning about Korean queer history, and the deep effects of U.S. imperialism and Japanese colonialism. I have been deeply interested in understanding how beauty standards are a reflection of internalized colonialism, imperialism, and patriarchy. From this understanding of the past and present, I am also interested in uplifting the labor of trans women, femmes, lesbians, queer and cis-women who are visionaries that embody a more equitable future.
Much of my public work over the past 4 years has stemmed from my work in my
collective, BUFU: By Us For Us. I am one out of the 5 co-founders, and we are a collective of
femme and non-binary, Black and East-Asian artists and organizers. Each year since 2015, we
have created experimental models of organizing and creating, starting from our documentary
project looking at pan-Black and pan-Asian cultural and political relationships (2015); ‘BUFU
Studios’ looking at Black and Asian Futurity (2016); ‘Us’ focusing on organizing, art, healing,
and nightlife collectives in NYC (2017); ‘Eyedream’ an artist residency under the theme of
‘Solidarity is Possible, But not Inevitable’ (2018); ‘WYFY School’ a decentralized school (2019);
and ‘CLOUD9: Collective Love on Ur Desktop’ a series of online programming to support
folks during the pandemic (2020). All of our programs have been free; all led by BIPOC queer
and trans people.
최수현은 논바이너리 제3문화인인 한국인이다. 홍콩에서 태어나 한국, 필리핀, 캐나다, 미국에서 교육 받고 자라면서 다양한 문화와 사회적 환경에서 자란 덕분에 국제화, 자본주의, 식민주의, 인종차별 문제 등 국제 정치/경제의 거대 시스템이 개인의 존재 및 인간관계에 미치는 영향을 직접적으로 경험하면서 성장했다. 그러던 중 각 국경을 넘어선 연대활동에 큰 관심을 가지게 되면서, BIPOC(특히 퀴어 및 트렌스젠더)를 위한 예술활동을 시작하게 되었고 지금도 그 활동을 이어나가고 있다. 최수현이 공동 창립한 콜렉티브 BUFU(By Us ForUs)는 Village Voice, NYLON, Hyperallergic, the Fader 등 다수 매체와 인터뷰를 진행했으며, Brooklyn Museum, Queens Museum, New Women Space, the New Museum, Abrons Art Center, Schoolfor Poetic Computation 등 기관과 협업 프로젝트/프로그램을 진행했다. BUFU의 활동은 Tarana Burke, Janelle Monae, Janet Mock와 같은 활동가와 예술가들에게 수여되는 YBCA 100Honoree 상을 수상했다. 최수현은 현재 Brooklyn Community Foundation의 인큐베이터 프로젝트에 레지던시 예술가로 참여하고 있으며, 작년에는 뉴욕 Eyebeam의 레지던시 예술가였다. 최수현은 2017년 Tai Kwun Contemporary, 2018년 Art Basel 홍콩 초청 연사로 ‘노동과 특권’을 주제로 발제를 진행했으며, 2017년 Metropolitan Museum의 ‘Career Lab : 예술과 액티비즘’에도 발제자로 초청되었다.
Suhyun Choi is a Korean non-binary third-culture kid. They were born in Hong Kong from Korean parents, lived in South Korea, the Philippines, Canada, and the U.S. Growing up in different contexts has given them first-hand experiences in understanding the complexity of globalization, capitalism, colonialism, and how the macro affects the micro levels of human ontology and relationships. They are particularly interested in solidarity work amongst BIPOC (especially Queer and Trans) folks across borders. Their work in BUFU, a collective they are a co-founder of, has been covered by publications such as the Village Voice, NYLON, Hyperallergic, the Fader, and many more. For BUFU’s programming, they have worked with institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum, Queens Museum, New Women Space, the New Museum, Abrons Art Center, and School for Poetic Computation. This work has resulted in the YBCA 100 Honoree award that is given to activists and artists such as Tarana Burke, Janelle Monae, Janet Mock, and many more. They are a current artist in residence at Brooklyn Community Foundation Incubator Project and a past artist in residence at Eyebeam, New York. They have been a guest speaker at Art Basel Hong Kong 2018 for Tai Kwun Contemporary’s talk called “Labor and Privilege” as well as the Metropolitan Museum’s “Career Lab: Art and Activism” in 2017.