Hyperlink Press initiated an open call project titled Practice, Practice, Practice, in the fall of 2020. Through the open call, Hyperlink Press sought to work with underrepresented artists, to face the reality of marginalized communities around us, and to practice together for a more inclusive society that we envision. Underrepresented may be broadly defined based on race, gender, identity, ability, nationality, class, access to education, and/or institutional representation. With “zines” as a medium, we would like to navigate our sense of belonging, reimagine a society, and build a community together from everyday practices we can carry out as the building blocks.
Inspired by an online LGBTQ community from the early 2000s called “LB City”, the open call Practice, Practice, Practice suggests that the crux of demarginalization is in collaborative “practice” through memories and times shared together. LB City was an online forum founded by 25 lesbians including Lee Haesol as an attempt at building a virtual lesbian city to practice living for a time “when such a society actually dawns, when such a reality becomes possible.” As a collective practice to construct an alternative world where the voices and demands of queer women and minorities are heard and prioritized, LB City represents potentiality fo an inclusive co-living society. Considering that many queer neologisms can be out of reach for those outside of the community, it is worth noting the inclusiveness of LB City’s mission: the founders of LB City had provided those who were excluded from the immediate categorization “gay” with citizenship of LB City and demonstrated potential for fostering discourse centering women, sexual minorities, transgender people, and other marginalized individuals. Such an inclusive society might be reminiscent of the concept of Utopia, first described by the 15th century philosopher Thomas More. However, More’s description of Utopia, as an imaginary island state located in the Atlantic ocean off the coast of South America, epitomizes a strict western ideal of “perfect society.” The reason the concept of Utopia connotes a certain level of privilege is that it insinuates escapism by equivocating our due political responsibilities in real life. Interpreting Utopia as a mere romantic ideology erases the existence of people of color, their community-building efforts and struggles against white supremacy, colonialism, and imperialism. It is not coincidence that the works of artists participating in Practice, Practice, Practice focus mainly on the concept of zine. Historically, zines have been used as a means of communication and an outlet for artistic practices because of their accessibility and affordability. Activists and members of marginalized communities have voiced their pinions through xeroxed flyers and pamphlets, produced with relative ease compared to more conventional forms of publications. One of the many goals of creating and publishing zines is to practice introducing internal narratives go to the external world, by developing one’s identity, sharing niche technology or artworks, rather than in pursuit of profit.
A zine collective consisting of Korean diaspora artists based in the United States, Hyperlink Press was born out of inspiration from the online GBTQ+ communities of the early 2000’s, as well as other softwares and virtual communities such as the Arae-a Hangul office suite, Soribada, Freechal, Daum Cafe, AlZip, and Cyworld. It is not an exaggeration to say that we had absorbed Korean culture through the Internet as young diaspora/immigrants. The Internet, as a fluid space free of geographical boundaries, has given us opportunities to encounter different stories outside of the categorical definition of “Korean culture” imposed by the nation-state-still, we’re aware of the inevitable discrepancies that incur when the language and culture are exported and translated by anglophone diaspora to be consumed by a Western audience.
When Korean culture is delivered through translation that fetishizes and commercializes its content, the necessity for honest communication between the local people in Korea and diasporic Koreans, on top of the generation gap that further complicates the relationship, can be easily overlooked. Such communication would be difficult without mutual trust stemming from courage and love, the trust that would allow us to collectively form a sense of community and cultivate a better world. With this in mind, we aim to promote histories, experiences, and identities that have hitherto been underrepresented within the system of art galleries and the field of IT, through our intersectional online publication and curation in hopes of increasing the visibility of artists who occupy spaces in-between.
Founded in 2018, Hyperlink Press is the practice through which we hopefully, albeit critically, reconstruct the ideal, equitable world we had imagined from the Internet during our childhood in the early 2000s. Based in Seoul and the East Coast of the United States, Hyperlink Press is currently participating in the Abrons Arts Center AIRSpace residency in New York.