Bona Kim
Hanna Kang-Brown


A multimedia installation and performance piece exploring the confluence of the sacred and profane, object significance to memory, and grieving in historic and contemporary meaningful ways.

Project Development Studio (Marina Zurkow),Spatial Media

Jesa is a Korean cultural ritual commonly practiced to remember ancestors and the recently dead. Jesa is usually held on the anniversary of the ancestor’s death and is an intimate family ritual that is held in a private home with no public participation. Though it is a centuries-old practice, jesa continues to be practiced and modified to meet modern cultures and practices.

Jesa involves a ritual of food, wine, and candles laid out on the table, symbolic gestures such as bowing, and a decorative folding screen (that often has landscape paintings or Buddhist writings). One of the traditional ideas is that the spirit of the dead comes to eat the food that the family lays out.The content of this piece will involve video and still images that are engaged and brought to life through the movements of the par- tipant and interactions with objects laid on the table.

A multimedia installation and performance piece meant to be performed within the context of a home. Using RFID sensors, video and image processing, the piece seeks to explore the confluence of the sacred and profane, object significance to memory, and grieving in historic and contemporary meaningful ways within a multi-cultural, multi-religious context.

The content is informed by my paternal grandfather's death. After surviving the Korean War, he ended up managing the commissary on American military bases in Vietnam and then immigrating to Los Angeles, California where he started out as a contract worker for Los Angeles City Hall, and then went on to own a string of liquor stores and grocery stores. At one of those stores, he was shot several times mistakenly by undercover LAPD and suffered major health ailments throughout his life. The video content is of his former places of residence and work.

Research on the jesa ceremony and history was also done to inform our decisions. Jesa is a private home ceremony that is practiced both traditionally and superstitiously as well as in modified, contemporary ways to fit the modern family.

Anyone interested in ritual, culture, multi-religious, multi-cultural explorations.

User Scenario
We will have a video of myself performing a scenario of the user experience playing in front of the installation, such as a wall just outside the installation space. This will give users a sense for what could occur in the space and set the tone. Users are then invited to move tagged objects from a small table to a bigger table set up with ceremonial vessels in which they can place the object and see a corresponding video projected on to the folding screen.

Folding Screen (foam board, muslin, hinges)

floor mat

2 Korean traditional tables

Clay/Acrylic ceremonial vessels and candlesticks

RFID readers and tags


We hope to develop sound during Thesis week for this project.

The ideal space for this project is a small room, such as a faculty office. The privacy and intimacy that that kind of space could afford is perfect for this piece to carry its weight.

I learned a lot about creating a concept from scratch, developing it over a 14 week period, enlisting help and finding a partner who was as passionate about it as I. I also learned to work with RFID readers, tags, and movies in Processing, as well as learning to follow my instincts, flying to Los Angeles to get footage, and working with limited resources on the floor. I learned to think through user experience and see the value of performance when a piece can't possibly just be an intuitive user experience.