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Interview with Ji Sun

Updated: Dec 15, 2022


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MOLLY: Hello and Welcome to a podcast where we talk about creating experimental art and trauma-informed and sustainable ways that support artists, our communities, and the organization as a whole. I'm Molly and you're listening to Any Other Anything's. Alright Ji Sun, welcome to Any Other Anything's.


JI SUN: Hey.


MOLLY: Hello, would you like to start with a check in and just a quick introduction to you as a human and your roles within Grey Box Collective?


JI SUN: My name is Ji Sun. As a human being there are many interesting things about me. The first thing is like I've been living in Arizona for 6 years and I recently adopted a dog; her name is so Coco. Um, so I'm like a dog parent. I didn't know it's gonna be like this hard, but this is so worthy. Like, so cute. Um I am musician, uh I'm also theater artist and I think Grey Box Collectives made me, like, have more confidence in me like in terms of mover and performer, yeah.


MOLLY: Yeah, wonderful. Yeah um can we, I'll come back to that like mover thing in a moment. Um would you like to lead us through a grounding activity and or a warm-up? Whether it's your favorite or...


JI SUN: Sure.


MOLLY: Or, the one that you told from rehearsal has been in before?


JI SUN: I like breathing activity.


MOLLY: Okay.


JI SUN: Okay, so let's just sit or stand wherever you are and find your center, and feel the ground that supports you; around you all the other surfaces support you. You can close your eyes and you can open your eyes whatever you want. Now we're going to start breathing. Breathe in and breathe out, breathe in and breathe out. This is the time when you breathe out let's make some like natural sighs sound as though you are going to let everything you know every toxin from your body like go out breathe in, breathe out, one more time breathe in and breathe out. Okay, so since I'm a musician I'm gonna use this check-in this a little bit more musical.


MOLLY: Okay.


JI SUN: This time when you exhale, not only the sigh, but to pick one note. Any note you feel comfortable with. Um and make it as sustain note as possible just keep going as your breath goes and when it fades out, let it fade out. Let's do it. Inhale and let go. Mmmmmmmm...


BOTH: Mmmmm....


JI SUN: How does it feel?


MOLLY: It feels good. I felt that vibration in the middle of my chest. I never get my vibration that well. I normally feel it more in my throat.


JI SUN: That's great, that's great!


MOLLY: Yeah!


JI SUN: If you also noticed, like we kinda sinked our notes together.


MOLLY: Yeah, we did. Yeah.


JI SUN: It wasn't exactly the same note, but it was really like in the range that we did. That was really good.


MOLLY: That was cool! Thank you Ji Sun. Is that something that you use with the young people that you work with or is that something that you do personally?


JI SUN: Uh yes. Um, I use this to experiment with some kind of sound scape, so if I have 6 or 8 people, and like if they're not like professionally trained musicians, but you need to make some kind of like harmony. Um in your piece then I just ask them to find one note and just sustain it. And, your breath is like, um runned out. And, then find another note and sustain it and that's how you're gonna find that perfect harmony without knowing any kind of music knowledge.


MOLLY: Hmmm...


JI SUN: And, it's very natural way to find that sound, like without forcing some kind of like do re me fa so la ti do, like western background.


MOLLY: Yeah, very cool. Thanks for sharing that. Um would that be like your warm up in what you just explained of starting to layer it in with more individuals?


JI SUN: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.


MOLLY: Nice, very nice.


JI SUN: When there's way more individuals I'm going to ask them to find a note that can go with others notes. But, I'm asking for adjectives rather than can you make lower, can you make it higher or lower, but can you find something like happy, or can you find something gloomy and then somehow even though they don’t know major or minor chords they just find it very unique combination with that emotion, yeah.


MOLLY: Yeah that's wonderful thank you, so continue with your work with music. How has your work with music influenced your work that you've done within Grey Box?


JI SUN: Uhhh..


MOLLY: Maybe, we need to start by recapping what you've done with Grey Box?


JI SUN: Sure. Um, okay I think my first experience, not with Grey Box, but Grey Box Method, was probably April 2016. When I was a part of Women of War, um scripted by Anya Hernandez. I really liked that show and I really liked the way she directed her show with Kara. Um, because my background as an artist, theater artist, is um it's very traditional and very like meister, you know, like master and like I'm the like apprentice. Like, absorbing everything and the way my teacher treated actors was, how do I say? That it was effective, but at the same time was a very...um harmful in a way. Um, because like we did a lot of the tragedy and that I was able to witness that like she...she actively decided to neglect some of the actors, like a very hurtful journey to get to certain character, and she...she used it as a as a tool to make the real, like authentic art.


And, when I first when I just, like, you know began my career with that kind of approach I thought that I was like, that...that was it like we need to just cut our flesh like...


MOLLY: Yeah.


JI SUN: ...to bring them to your art, like to an audience like that. But, as time goes I can see how many actors were really like, felt damaged or like you know a lot of trauma and like couldn't get out of it really easily and, then what I experienced with Anya and Kara, um and with the the show Women War, we explore a lot of like a lot of trauma, but at the same time like they're really they're really like attentive to...to make all of us like feel safe.


MOLLY: Mm-hmm.


JI SUN: And, I was really impressed by it and, then I noticed I learned after that, that Anya was trained by you. Maybe, she could, like correct me, if she was not. But, like, yeah she I think she mentioned that like she learned it from like Grey Box, like Molly.


MOLLY: Ohh, okay.


JI SUN: Whose this person? I'm interested.


[BOTH LAUGH]


JI SUN: Um, and, then I had an opportunity to work with her, with you again; Out of Hiding it was November 2018.


MOLLY: Yep.


JI SUN: Yeah, and, like it was...it was really fun. And, you opened...you opened like my mind that I could move, even though I'm not a dancer. Like, all my life I always couldn't understand why you cannot get this or like why cannot you move your right arm this way or like you're not supposed to move right leg or right arm like this way. There are many rules that I cannot even follow and, like my body type is not, you know it is not appropriate to like to put stage answer those kinds of things, but with all this work that I did with you. You taught me that everybody has their own move. [inaudible] Should I go back, like somewhere?


MOLLY: Um, if you want to just recap, maybe some of the movements that you did with Anya. Um, that really helped, to um open up to...to feeling more like a mover.


JI SUN: So, I never..I never participated in any performing piece as a mover. Um and I was not even sure whether I could, I just auditioned for it; but I like the theme of the show and when they say well, hey I was like, really like, really you're you're sure? That you're not gonna regret. Uh, but she taught me how to bring my openness. Things I already have and hone it a little bit more in a dancing way and, like communicate like with through bots.


Um, and, then like after that, Out of Hiding taught me more, I will say more vocabulary. Now I can see that like um, how I'm going to, how I can organize some thoughts like with my body; which was a totally foreign. Like, you know, like for me if I for myself like four or five years ago this kind of constitutes, like totally foreign. Like, what are you talking about? If I went like meet myself, like three years ago, like what am I talking about? But, now I can understand some kind of like grammar and like vocabulary like with my body and that..that is just like mind-blowing and it's very liberating. I wish I knew or learned these things like you know when I was a teenager, like it would probably helped me like to-to appreciate my body more.


MOLLY: Mm-hmm. Thanks for sharing. Um, and like I think about the work that you just did with our first ever film that like hasn't even been released at the time of this recording. Um, and, and how I think it was in our first rehearsal you were like 'well I do sound, I do music.' Got it cool. Check that box and, then it was like, maybe the last rehearsal when we were like, okay I think we're almost done like filming, and you're like 'maybe I want to do something with-with movement'. And, the way that you approach the movement on camera I found I like, we can see your music coming into play. Um, but just the-the choices you are making, um it would not occur to me that that movement wasn't something that you um, was something that you had to have a long journey with. That make sense?


JI SUN: Yeah. I just want to say thank you Molly.


MOLLY: Awww.


JI SUN: Yeah because I, I don't think I will be, I wouldn't be able to like to do that if it was like me like four years ago. I, yeah I will feel really like embarrassed or like what, what oh what I'm gonna do like, like that. But, like the-the way you appreciate um various types of body and various types of movement and, while keeping the core value of bringing arts with body, really empower a lot of people. And, I don't know it depends on your definition of what dance is. But, in my opinion you really make dance um accessible for everybody and that's-that's one of the legacy that you are building with Grey Box Collective, I think.


MOLLY: Thank you Ji Sun. Um, I appreciate hearing that um through the screen and I don't think it's something that I'm conscious of. Uh, so, thank you for like making that pop a little bit more for me. Yeah. Um, let's talk about this most recent piece that you've been a part of. Um, maybe start with

I guess just to give listeners a bit of some context around it it was our first, one of our first digital creations courtesy of COVID.


JI SUN: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.


MOLLY: Um, and..


JI SUN: The first film.


MOLLY: Yes, first dance film. Um, and it was also the largest group that we created with. Um, maybe I don't know how much I shared. It's the largest group that we worked with this summer and, it was also, the um the group with, the most the...