Daeng’gi Kimchi Factory, is a performance/ installation piece that represents the role of women within Korean society by combining two different cultural aspects; Daeng’gi Meori braid (which reoccurs throughout my other works) and Kimchi.
Kimchi has been around since the late 1600s in Korea and is an important part of Korea's food culture. It takes about fifteen different steps to complete its process from a raw cabbage to its richly spiced fermented dish. Due to the many steps, the process of making Kimchi is almost ritualistic and methodological. Making kimchi has always been a social event in Korea. Until the late 1960s, women in the neighborhood gathered together at one’s home and made bundles of kimchi for their family to eat throughout the season. Because women were expected to solely perform domestic duties, for many generations, kimchi was only produced by women.
For this performance/ installation, instead of using cabbages to make Kimchi, chopped Daeng’gi braids wereused as an alternative. The hair was processed, pickled and fermented the same way Kimchi is made. Two female factory workers and myself processed the Daeng’gi Kimchi by salting the braid into a brine, then marinating the braid with spices and other ingredients. Each Daeng'gi Kimchi braid was placed in a glass jar during its time of fermentation, and labeled with the name of the owner of the chopped braid. The process of fermentation in this piece symbolizes the young girl’s process of changing or maturing into womanhood.