Seunghee Kim: Animation as a Practice of Meditation

“If my introduction to film was for the sake of self-therapy, I’ve now been thinking about how I can make films for others.”

Woojin Lim
The International Wave

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Photo Courtesy: The New York Times, “Tiger and Ox”

I first encountered Seunghee Kim’s work in her latest piece for The New York Times, Tiger and Ox, a riveting op-doc about her relationship with her mother, aptly represented by a tough-headed tiger bashing heads with an introspective ox. Coarsely penciled sketches stringed by a soft interweaving narration of two speakers talking past each other, the short film is like revisiting a time-capsule, filled with mulled secrets, now revealed to the world.

A film that was initially made only for herself as an means to uncover and burn away the past, Tiger and Ox took a life of its own, helping Seunghee rekindle her previously fraught relationship with her mother. On what appears as a series of personal anecdotes underlies a hefty social commentary on the taboos of divorce, single mom shaming, and cultural discrepancies.

In our nearly two-hour-long interview — which is almost the length of Seunghee’s recorded dialogue with her mother for her eight minute film — we shared our thoughts on the practice of animation as Buddhist repetitions and meditations, her mother’s first-time-ever reaction to Tiger and Ox, as…

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Woojin Lim
The International Wave

art & philosophy-themed columnist always in search of new conversations