(Johanna K Becker, 2018)
Early July – the air is warm and aromatic. I suck in the fragrances. I wish I could store all the delicious scents in my memory. For a long time I have lived as if eternity was a certainty. Things have changed and my painful loneliness weighs me down since the faithful day of his passing. I wish I could go back to the happier days – this time more aware, more cautious about the precious things in life.
My maid is preparing the blanket for the picnic in the shadow of the rock-face. The cloth is old and worn out. I lower myself down, gently touching the fibers that hold so many memories. The spirals and the faces at the rock are looking down on me, as if lecturing me about past and future. My finger follows the traces of the big spiral - like my love might have done 14 years ago. Like someone might have done a thousand years ago.
My maid hands me one of the first persimmons this year. It is sweet and still firm. The rice vine makes me somewhat dizzy and in a fraction of a moment, it seems as if he is here with me, sitting next to me on our blanket.
Middle of September – I run up the steep, stony path. The sun shines through the rich, green woods and is warming my face. While making my way down the hill, I feel my muscles working in my body and the sweat running down my spine. My mobile phone sits firmly encased in my hand – neatly measuring time and distance.
I pass the stream that is making its way through the mountains. I pause at the base of the stairs. For the first time since I have been here, the river gives way to the small bridge to the other side. I am curious and follow the trail, which leads me to a smaller rock-face. Other tourists have already gathered at a protective fence, admiring the almost faded petroglyphs. An overly ripe persimmon has fallen down a tree. I pick it up, greedily sucking the juicy pulp while my eyes follow the big spiral at the rock.
At night - all lights are in order. The system is working perfectly. I put on all devices and type in the destination: Cheonjeon-ri, Ulju. I hear the faint noises of the system uploading and the program starts. I feel a breeze and then the scant sunlight of an early spring day. The air smells of blossoms and earth. The persimmon trees are budding. I zoom into the spirals. Flashing images of past visitors appear before my eyes: Tourists taking selfies, scientists measuring the rock, a shepherd resting in the shadow, a woman sunk into reflection drying her tears, a man and a woman having a picnic while someone is working at the stone. Then – a women with a sharp tool, carefully carving a face next to the spiral. She looks at me, smiles. I smile back at her and press EXIT.
"A king a frog and a snake", exhibition at MOHA Artist Residency Ulsan/Korea, 2018