WASHINGTON – Where is home?
Home can be just the building where you sleep at night, or it can be the place where you feel loved and secure. Artist Do Ho Suh tries to express the feelings of home in his new exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
The highlight of this exhibit, called “Almost Home,” is three connected structures, called hubs, that visitors can walk through. They are hand-sewn, brightly colored fabric re-creations of homes Suh has lived in. The hub representing his childhood home in Seoul, South Korea, is blue. The hub representing a New York apartment is pink, and one for Berlin, Germany, is green. Suh doesn’t explain the color choices, but in other installations, he has said that blue symbolized the sadness he felt when living in Seoul.
The hubs are created using traditional Korean sewing techniques along with computer modeling. Suh calls them “suitcase homes” because they are lightweight and designed to be moved from museum to museum.
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She’s usually described as the most powerful woman in Brussels as she is trying to hold Silicon Valley’s tech giants to account. Denmark’s Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s top anti-trust regulator is our guest on Global Conversation. What has changed since you ordered that Amazon and Apple should repay huge amounts of money in back taxes to Ireland or Luxembourg? Have you seen any change in their tax policies? I don’t think that you see change that fast. What’s happening is that they are having good progress in collecting the Amazon unpaid taxes and with the Irish we’ve had to ask the European Court to look into it, because the Irish should collect the unpaid taxes as well because now it’s already done in the Netherlands, in Belgium, in Luxembourg, and I think that’s a good thing. But if we see the recent scandals such as the Paradise Papers, isn’t this proof that the EU is quite powerless against the tax avoidance structures widely used by multinationals and also by some member states? The fact that we have these leaks and now we have many, luxleaks, the Swiss leaks, the Panama Papers, the Paradise Papers, I think it shows that things are changing, that the secrets are coming out. It’s leaked everywhere. And this allows us to do something about it. I can do my bit, but member states can change legislation and implement legislation so that it stops. Tomorrow EU countries will agree on the first common EU list of tax havens. Stay tuned for more information on the #EUList tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/HENmxdwtl7— EU Tax & Customs (@EU_Taxud) December 4, 2017 Recently in an interview the prime minister of Luxembourg said “is it in Europe’s interest that companies should pay more taxes in Europe than in the U.S. or Asia”? For me it’s very simple. Where you make your profits, where you have your customers and you do your business, you should also contribute to the society. Because you can do no business if there are no roads, no digital infrastructure, skilled people, customers, all the things that make a decent society. And of course you should contribute there as well as anyone else. “it makes no difference whether that subsidy is a handout in cash, or special tax treatment that means a company pays less tax than its rivals. Consumers lose out on lower prices, wider choice, more innovative products” vestager</a> <a href=”https://t.co/6JLxBj55cJ”>https://t.co/6JLxBj55cJ</a></p>— EU Competition (EU_Competition) November 28, 2017 Apart from that, you have some big cases against Google. If I’m not wrong, you have three cases. What’s the latest? The first one we have concluded, and ordered Google to pay a 2.4 billion euro fine. That is being taken care of, Google are in the process of implementing what they had to do. We have taken no decision yet, we are monitoring it but we don’t know yet if it works as it should, that remains to be seen. And then of course we continue to investigate the two other cases about how Google has been using the operating system Android to stay dominant in search also when we all go mobile. The last case is about AdSense which is about advertising because basically Google is an advertising company. So, of course it is important to see how they use their “muscle”, do they allow for others to do what they themselves did, compete, innovate, be present in the market and present products to customers? Recently many national authorities opened investigations into how these companies collect and use information and I quote the President of the Italian authority who said that “big data is a resource for our economy but it could be a problem especially when big data creates a big market power that can be used to foreclose competition”. Do you share his view? We use to think about money as an asset, but data can be the same asset. Because this is the new kind of currency when we pay, when we use a search machine or another service, another digital service, we pay by giving up our data for them to use to make our profiles, to sell t
“[With this] I could carry my home with me wherever I go, like a snail that carries a shell – its house – wherever it goes,” Suh said in a talk on the exhibition’s opening night.
The details in the homes are striking. Flowerlike patterns wrap around the radiator of the hallway in his New York apartment. Doorknobs and locks are re-created to include cosmetic flaws.
Surrounding the central hubs are sketches that inspired his works and three-dimensional objects from his homes, such as a fabric fire extinguisher whose stitching reproduces the fine print on the label word for word.
One reason the Smithsonian wanted to showcase Suh’s art is that people are talking about what home means for immigrants.
“As we all move around from one country to another, from one city to another and from one space to another, we are always crossing boundaries of all sorts,” Suh said in his public remarks. “And with this constant passing through spaces, I wonder how much of one’s own space one carries along with oneself.”
Suh uses art to express how immigration and moving homes has affected him. The inspiration for his series of homes came from when he moved to New York after college, and the sounds of the city made it difficult for him to sleep. Wanting to remember the last home in which he had a good night’s sleep, he thought back to his childhood home in Seoul.
“I’m interested in the space through which I feel good, protected, comfortable and liberated,” Suh said. “And I’m interested in the space which is imposed on me and therefore oppresses, confines and alienates me.”
You may have lived in only one home so far, but Suh’s exhibit may spark kids and adults to consider the small textures or imperfections in their house and to think about how they live with them. Sometimes your memories of these details can be a home worth visiting.
IF YOU GO
What: “Do Ho Suh: Almost Home.”
Where: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Eighth and F streets NW, Washington, D.C.
When: Now to August 5. On May 12, the museum will host a family day celebrating Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with art, regional performances, crafts and a scavenger hunt. 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
How much: Free.
For ages: 8 and older.
For more information: wapo.st/suhsaam.