Frequencies of Tradition

First show: June 15

Curated by Hyunjin Kim

KADIST San Francisco

Public Programs

This film series is in conjunction with the exhibition Frequencies of Tradition at KADIST San Francisco, on
view from April 1 to July 16, 2022. Frequencies of Tradition – both the exhibition and the film series –
centers on tradition as a space of contestation. Tradition is a significant part of daily lives in Asia,
connecting generations and reverberating as a living archive of cultures across time. Tradition also
retains and upholds patriarchy, authoritarianism, and obsolete customs. Through collective memories,
spirituality, archival imagination, technological engagements, and alternative modes of empowerment, the
works in the exhibition–predominantly video installations and photography–upend conventional notions of
tradition and examine how regional modernization entangles with the emergence of tradition and where
the violence of social conventions, nationalism, and the impact of such histories on the everyday
manifest. Together, the works allow for a critical reflection on modernization in East Asia and where an
expansion of our understanding of the regional modern takes place.

Frequencies of Tradition monthly film screenings
Date: Wednesdays, April 20–July 13, 2022
Location: Little Roxie Theatre, 3117 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

Fiona Tan, Ascent (2016), 80 mins
Wednesday, April 20, 2022, 6.45 pm (doors open 6.15 pm)*

Courtesy of the artist and Frith Street Gallery 

Ascent (2016) reflects on Mount Fuji, Japan, and its significance to the country and its people. Tan combines found images with a fictional narrative in which two protagonists climb the great mountain across geographical, temporal, and cultural divides. The breathtaking film is made entirely with heterogeneous stills;  photographs, and archival materials, revealing a unique realm in which still photography and film are joined together. The story, culminating with the ascent to the top of the mountain, unfolds across unexpected paths, alternating between narration and history, from Western imperialism to modern tourism, from the early days of photography to the present day.

Jane Jin Kaisen, Community of Parting (2019), 72 mins
Wednesday, May 18, 2022, 6.45 pm (doors open 6.15 pm)*

Community of Parting (2019) invokes the ancient Korean shamanic myth of the abandoned princess Bari and employs female Korean shamanism as a mode of ethics, aesthetics of memory, and mutual recognition. Rooted in the oral storytelling of the myth of Bari, the story is understood as one of filial piety. The film features imagery across various locations including but not limited to the DMZ, South Korea, North Korea,  Kazakhstan, Japan, China, the United States, and Germany. Combining shamanic
ritual performance, nature and cityscapes, archival material, aerial imagery, poetry, voiceover, and
soundscape, the work is configured as a multiscalar, nonlinear, and layered montage loosely framed around Bari’s multiple deaths. Both intersubjective and personal in her approach, Kaisen treats the myth of the abandoned as a gendered tale of migration, marginalization, and resilience recounted from a multi-vocal perspective.

Wang Tuo, Tungus (2021), 66mins
siren eun young jung, Deferral Theatre (2018), 35 mins

Wednesday, June 15, 2022, 6.45 pm (doors open 6.15 pm)*

Tungus (2021) is set against the historical backdrop of the Siege of Changchun, a military blockade with a suppressed history of the 1948 Kuomintang-Communist Civil War in China. In this quiet war without fire and smoke, hundreds of thousands of civilians, caught in the middle ground of beliefs and ideologies created by the military encirclement of the two armies, were killed through starvation. As two soldiers from the Korean Independent Division of the Chinese People's Liberation Army try to flee Changchun, they gradually realize that they are caught in overlapping time and space at the site of Jeju Island, where, in
the shadow of the Korean war, the Jeju Uprising has just occurred. Simultaneous to this sequence, a middle-aged scholar who refused to flee the city of Changchun returns to the May 4th Movement of 1919 in a starvation-induced hallucination. Through these forgotten historical narratives, Wang Tuo illustrates how hunger-based hallucinations informed by a shared collective experience lead to a reshaping of the power of the psyche mired in historical trauma. At the same time, the roots of contemporary geopolitical crises in Northeast Asia—buried deep in recent history—are gradually unfolded and retraced.

siren eun young jung’s Deferral Theatre (2018) intertwines the artist’s research into modes of queer resistance in South Korea, with particular attention to the Yeoseong Gukgeuk, a traditional Korean opera in which all of the roles are played by women. The radical and temporal “border-crossing” qualities of gender fluidity and the cultural lineage of queer subversion within performative spaces are animated through a critical deconstruction of Korean history, tradition, and gender norms.


Ko Sakai & Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Storyteller (2013), 120 mins
Wednesday, July 13, 2022, 6.45 pm (doors open 6.15 pm)*

Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Ko Sakai’s Storyteller (2013) is the third film of the Tohoku Trilogy, a series which came out of interviews with residents of the northern region of Tohoku, Japan, an area heavily affected by the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. Storyteller presents the rich folk tradition of storytelling by these inhabitants through victim dialogues and testimonies. Considering storytelling as an empowering process, the film documents and explores how the act of telling renders a past event into pluralities of present and future for the ravaged community. Folk storytellers Ito Masako, Sasaki Ken, and Sato Reiko gather at Kurikomayama in Miyagi Prefecture, and folklore scholar Ono Kazuko, the founder of Miyagi Minwa no Kai, plays the role of interviewer as they share a series of  fantastic and outlandish tales with the community, including a story of a girl who marries a monkey.

* Come early! Each screen is preceded by original music and a sound mix curated by Topazu (Infinite Beat – San Francisco), with Annie Chen (Teaphile, Zhuang B – Oakland), Nihar (Left Hand Path, TVOD – San Francisco), and Aaron J (Sure Thing – Boston).

KADIST believes contemporary artists make an important contribution to a progressive society, their work often addressing key issues of our time. KADIST, a non-profit organization dedicated to exhibiting the work of artists represented in its collection, encourages this engagement and affirms contemporary art’s relevance within social discourse. KADIST’S local hubs in Paris and San Francisco present exhibitions and events, and organize residencies and educational initiatives, as well as producing projects online and via social media. Concurrently, KADIST is actively establishing networks across five areas-North America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia and Latin America-inviting new artists into the collection and initiating collaborative programs, especially exhibitions with museums of each region. Together, they aim at facilitating new connections across cultures and creating vibrant conversations about contemporary ideas.

KADIST San Francisco
3295 20th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
+1 415 738 8668

Gallery Hours
Wednesday–Saturday, 12–5 pm


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Frequencies of Tradition: Upcoming Showtimes
July 136:45 PMLittle Roxie