Andeath"I don't make clothes."
Andeath is an artist based in Soeul. I was introduced to her work though the artist Greem Jellyfish who met Andeath on a trip last year to South Korea. Andeath's work seemed to be divided in two entities- Daily Codi, a diary of Andeath's wardrobe that extended to fashion shows and events, and Boochoolaamaaa, an experimental a cappella ensemble that performs Korean children's songs and dance. Both projects often overlap, and are thoroughly documented on their wholly unique sites designed by Andeath herself. On a recent trip to New York I was finally able to meet Andeath and ask her some questions.
Are you gonna make art while you're here?
No, it's impossible. It's a non-promotional residency.
So you're not allowed to make work? That's kinda strict.
Where were you born in Korea?
Mh-hmm, I was born in Masan and grew up in Seoul.
What kind of high school did you go to?
A very conservative girl's high school in a small town. Most Korean schools are more conservative than you would expect.
How did you get into art?
Get into art? Automatically. But I used to be a graphic designer.
Did you study graphic design in college?
You made money and supported yourself with that?
Yes, and I worked for a fashion company.
What fashion company?
This Korean fashion company, SSamzie. I don’t think you would know it, but the company is a very weird company in Korea. They use contemporary art for their advertisements because the owner of the company likes artists. I made the website for the company. It looks like my website.
It's your style?
Yeah, the owner liked that.
Those are the best kinds of bosses.
Yes, but now the company is closed.
How do you see your style of graphic design fitting in with other Korean graphic designers?
Some people say that it looks kitsch.
How did you get involved in fashion and making clothes?
I don't make clothes.
Then what exactly is Daily Codi?
Do you know the meaning of Codi?
Daily Codi is Konglish. Korean English. Broken English in a Korean way.
Codi is Korean for coordination. How do you define coordination?
Well if you were thinking clothing it would be matching, but coordination also relates to your body, how it’s moving.
In Korea they use the first meaning.
So Daily Codi is your “daily coordination” in terms of clothes. How did it start?
Before I used the Internet or had my website, I was wearing my clothes differently every day. The clothes were the same, but the Codi was different every day. One day I decided I wanted to record my clothes because every day they were different.
You needed to document it.
Yeah. In the morning I’d concentrate on matching the clothes. But by the end of the day it disappeared. At the beginning I was just taking the picture, and didn't upload it to any websites. Later I wanted to share my pictures with my friends.
So you made a website?
No, before the website there was a Korean mini-blog that young people used called Mini Home P. It is like Facebook. I would upload my pictures, but only my friends could see my pictures. I wanted to open my pictures for all people, not only linked friends, so I made my website. I know how to make websites because I used to be a designer.
Where do you get your clothing?
At the beginning I would just buy clothing anywhere — clothing markets, traditional markets, or even my company's brand. But as time went by I adapted to my website. I needed more clothes, more clothes... I would try to find the flea markets, second-hand markets. I started to get the clothes at these markets and slowly my closet filled with only second-hand clothes.
What kind of clothes would you get?
The throw-away clothes in Korea are clothes for women and men — not for young girls. So it's a very typical Korean, mid-80s-woman style. Then I went to Busan, the capital, and found a very big second-hand market. Busan is located near the sea, so the clothes are from Japan and Hong Kong. Seoul second-hand is only Korean second-hand. It’s limited.
When did you decide to involve other people?
I counted the number of pictures I had taken for Daily Codi. When I got up to 1,000 pictures I decided to make something. My friend asked me to make a show for an opening at a gallery.
What kind of gallery?
This alternative gallery in Seoul. They're a little serious — not just a funny gallery. Also before that I had been known for doing Boochooolaaama.
Wait what is Boochoolaamaa?
Boochoolaamaa was a musical duet with my friend. We never practiced, but she liked music and I did too, so we just tried to play something. She has some cheesy instruments from other countries. When she travels she gets them.
What kind of music would you guys play?
When we played together we didn’t have a mutual song. We just knew children’s songs.
Are they only children’s songs you both know, or do you get new ones too?
We would ask people, “Do you know any songs from when you were young?” They sing to me and we write and we collect the songs.
That reminds me of some videos on your YouTube channel: all these videos of kids playing song games that involve hand clapping.
Yes, this is a research project. I write them down. Do you know the Boochoolaamaa book I sent you before? It’s a score for Boochoolaamaa made from that research.
How did Boochoolaamaa become an a cappella group?
My friend went to study in London, so I had to choose to quit or play alone. I had no confidence to play alone but I didn't want to stop, so I arranged our songs differently to be played a cappella.
So you would bring in other people and direct them?
Yes. But because the instruments were changed I made some songs called Medley Songs Unbearable. The songs are from commercials on TV — like insurance or rent money. These companies give people anxiety that I can't bear. Even on the subway in Korea they announce too much. When they stop at one station, they speak five or four languages. First: Korean, second: English, third: Japanese, fourth: Chinese. I collected these sounds and made songs. They’re my most recent songs.
What about the dance that is sometimes involved?
The dance is from the commercial. I just follow the poses.
Is there improvising in Boochoolaamaa? Are you making the rules?
I make all the rules but don't permit improvising too much. I don't have very much confidence. I am a beginner and improvisation is for professionals I think. But I really, really like improvisation.
Where do you guys play?
Music gigs and sometimes galleries. I play in the music scene but I am not part of the indie music scene. Lately we seem to do more galleries.
So how do Daily Codi and Boochoolaamaa overlap?
They are the inspiration for each other. Sometimes they mix and sometimes they are divided. So when I make a fashion show, the same people who model might also be someone I hire to sing a song, make a performance.
Who are the people in Boochoolaamaa?
Friends, but they are younger than me. I'm now 33 but they are 25, even 21.
They're young arty people?
Yes. I like to be with them. I get a lot of inspiration from young people. When I made the Unbearable Songs they told me what songs to listen to because I don't have television, I don't have radio, so I don't know too many commercials.
How did you start doing events?
The second Daily Codi show I did, I made a workshop and had a party. The fashion show was only limited people wearing my clothes and working, but I really wanted to see more people wear these kind of clothes this way. So I made a party and the audience and attendants changed their clothes to my clothes.
You dressed everybody?
Everybody, each by each.
Did you notice a change when you dressed the people? Did they act differently?
Yeah, when the bands and DJs made music, they moved different. When they changed their clothes to my clothes they take off their spirit a little bit.
They become something else?
I think they feel they became a little bit stranger. Korean people — it's very hard to make them dance, but at the party people could very easily dance because I changed their clothes. I didn't expect that and it was very impressive to me.
Didn’t you throw a party in Argentina?
Yes, they invited me to make a show.
Did you buy clothes there?
No I brought my clothes, 100 kg.
How did they find out about you?
They are an Argentinian-Korean cultural exchange program. They are a young artist group that wants to change and wants to know about Korea. So every year they invite one young artist. Two years ago I went there. I made a show and party.
How did it go?
Their party culture is very strange from Korea because they got too drunk. The dancing style is different. Korean people dance very heart light, but Argentinian style is very dark.
Do you meet people that follow your site at your events?
Yes the party-event is very important because I always just show on my website. I really want to meet them. So, yes.
How long have you been doing Daily Codi?
It started in 2006.
Where do you see it going in the future?
I don't know. I have no plan. Sometime I want to make a fashion company. I need another way to get money for my hands, by my hands. So recently I think about, “I could make some company.”
Because you have nothing to sell now, except for events.
I just sell posters or books, but that's not a real product. Now I'm thinking about an Internet shopping mall like Amazon but for second-hand clothes. Korea has no second-hand website. I want to make a website like Amazon for people to sell and buy. I imagine I can also get money cause I can sell advertisements on the website.
What about art? Do you like working in that context?
I am not very interested in art but I am in the category of art. I really want to isolate myself from that and just set up my work in my own way. Music is more similar to me. With art, I don't like the scene, the rule that they need a curator or someone to pick the artist, and they show the artist to the people like that. I don't like the organization. I just want to meet an audience with my website or some events.