YK’s 365 Release: Day 43

It seems foolish, at times, when I go through the unsympathetic process of letting go of different objects, such as the 20-year old cell phone (Day 7) or an ashtray when I don’t even smoke anymore (Day 19). But something I have begun to comprehend about myself, is that I have everything I have for very unequivocal reasons. There was intention in my keeping things, as well as intention now, in me letting them go. This means everything I have held onto has also been mindful, even if the reasons are irrational and foolish.

How can I extend this practice of letting go of objects to a practice of letting go of non-tangibles? What I have been learning over the past few years, is that there is no difference between the two. A book is something I mentally prepare myself to let go of. An emotion, such as sadness, is also something I mentally prepare myself to let of.  Why should there be a distinction between letting go of something you can touch, and something you cannot? Particularly when we are all one with everything around us.

Objects are usually just objects. We attach value, emotion, and quality to them. So what was once a simple thing becomes a thing with history, memories and attachment.

When I stayed in Germany for a while, I was living in Köln and Bonn with a friend. While I was there, I made her take me to every single museum there and the surrounding cities. Europe has way more museums than the US. I had a notebook with me wherever I went, and wrote down everything I saw in each museum. This was when my German was still fresh, so many of the notes were in German. I’m so impressed by my notetaking.

When I go to museums now I don’t usually take notes, nor do I visit the shop to buy souvenirs. I tend to try to absorb what I am seeing in that moment, to enjoy it while I am in front of the piece. Now I like to go and just feel awe. But, when I was going to the museums in Germany, not only did I take pages of notes, but I also bought a poster at every single museum.

I’ve carried them for 15 years, rolled up in a tube. One of my favorites is a poster of Marlene Dietrich as there was a special exhibit at one of the museums focusing entirely on her. She seemed more of an artist than an actress to me, a performer of gender bending, with exquisite features and an attitude. And she wore a tux and top hat with perfection. This was right around when I was able to openly explore my own gender expression and sexuality since I had left Korea. How could I not love her?

As I look at the posters, I realize what a pivotal role art has had in my life. It is only recently that I have started exhibiting my own work. Yet since I was a baby, I have been going to museums all over the world. There was even a point I considered studying art history because the amount of information behind every piece of art is stupefying. You miss so much without learning about the background of each piece. There is a reason some rooms of museums have only a solo piece hanging in them. Sometimes the amount of information embossed in that piece is so epic, it would be overwhelming to mix it with anything else. But if you don’t pay attention, you can miss all of this.

So, these posters are just images of the actual pieces of art, mass-produced on shiny poster paper. Their worth to me includes a global history of museum exploring, of discovering my own independent passion for art, and once you have something for over 3 or 4 years you start to just carry it around for the heck of it. Silliness.

In addition, while I was unfurling all of the art posters I had, I found all of the protest posters I collected from different actions, protests and events I was involved with while living in California. Some of the posters are actually quite stunning pieces of work that could one day be framed. (And here you get more insight into my process of letting go each day. There have been times I have taken objects out to release, and after contemplation, I reconsider and find something else I would rather let go of. Everything will have its moment to be released when it is ready.) The protest posters are over 10 years old. I have yet to frame and mount them.

So on Day 43 of my 365 Release, I am letting go to my neighborhood art gallery, pieces of paper to which I have attached value. And by letting go of these posters, I will also understand that with each object I release, I am learning non-attachment indeed.

[Note: you can click on photos to see close-ups.]


[I created the 365 Release Project to practice non-attachment, letting go and change by giving away 1 thing a day for 1 year. The background, vision and guidelines to the 365 RELEASE project are here. The running list of everything I have released is here.]

One response to “YK’s 365 Release: Day 43”

  1. […] Day 43 (10/20/10): posters [forgetfulness] […]

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