Min Jung Yoon performs under the Korean translation of their name “Citizen Truth”.
I dream of worlds for heightened relational emotions, permission for depth, and transformation of conflicts in relationships and society. Using intense movements and unusual postures in ritualistic experiences, I research emotions, images, and gestures of truth and possibility we need for our times, with the vulnerability of the human body, often in nature. I started with a background in political philosophy and conceptual art, then looked for ways to bring these philosophies alive in narrative theater. I went on to discover the power of what is unspoken, yet felt through the body, in what felt like the deepest experience of connection with butoh dance - a style of revolutionary art form created in WWII era that expresses aesthetics of life and death. Since discovering butoh dance, I have been working to bring together different art forms in intimate, theatrical, and psycho-somatic experiences and artistic rituals.
My need to dance and create perhaps stems from previous stories of deep suffering and relatedly, the overwhelming propensity to know and feel the pain of the world. With more heartbreaking, then thankfully, heart opening experiences, my angry fix-it punk mode has exhausted to reach toward something more aspirational, toward love, compassion, grace, ___. Years later, at the time my Philosophy professor, Hubert Dreyfus, who taught about creating meaning in a secular age, passed, I saw Atsushi Takenouchi’s butoh ritual performance and felt a gripping resonance, watching his heart beat during the performance. I was struck by what the body can transmit, beyond language and concepts. I left my life then behind to Italy for Jinen Butoh School. In reflection, I relate my deep resonance to butoh dance to its origins in and charge from conflict, as it was created by artists in Japan as a revolutionary dance in the WWII era to heal and transform death into life.
Past themes and inspirations of exploration included metaphors in natural processes as an analogy for conflict resolution, the choreography of protesting in the streets, finding our conflicts in the space of natural environments, witnessing violence and pain, history of comfort women connected to the present #metoo campaign, breaking the patriarchal feminine, addiction, mental illness, aesthetics of friendships.
They are a butoh dancer, interdisciplinary artist, and researcher of conflict resolution using the body. They have intensively studied, performed, and lived in artistic residency with master butoh teachers Atsushi Takenouchi of Jinen Butoh School in Italy, Anastazia Louise of Bad Unkl Sista, and Mizu Desierto of Water in the Desert, as well as continuous training in choreography and dance with master teachers in San Francisco and Berlin. They have also trained in the Life / Art Process at the Tamalpa Institute by Anna and Daria Halprin. They teach and facilitate communities and individuals with the artistic languages and conflict resolution as a registered somatic movement educator and therapist with ISMETA. Min’s social art works have been funded by Kultuuri Kaupilla in Finland, The City of Oakland, The Battery Club of San Francisco, and the Awesome Foundation, with further artist residencies and grants. They have also studied the art of form and experimented with creating meaning in a secular age, through analyzing film, digital media, architecture, political and existential philosophy, with a B.A. in Rhetoric from U.C. Berkeley.
“They say it’s the last song.
They don’t know us, you see.
It’s only the last song if we let it be.”
- Dancer in the Dark
image by Anna Vignet