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Girls With Big Ears

Keun Gui So Nyeo

Seoul 2016

Mythical creatures of the past and the cyborgs of the future share enhanced features that us ordinary humans can only dream of. Regardless of time, our humble fantasies have beamed us towards the creation of fantastical abilities that may allow us to move beyond the known: breathing under water, flight, superhuman strength, surviving in space. Even our most basic urges – like changing our silhouettes – are connected to the same desire to develop beyond what is given. It’s what makes us human.

Bodily alterations and alienations are countless, and their origins are buried deep within our sexuality, body image, concepts of beauty, cultural identity, rituals and religion. Somehow our changed silhouettes turn us into kin and encourage a kind of tribal semblance. We look at each other and based on that likeness alone, we’re able to generate common understanding.

Via hashtag treasure hunting, we discovered a bold group of South Korean girls. They all share an obsession with big ears. Ten to fifteen centimetres in diameter, their sheer size renders these girls sub- or superhuman. Thanks to social media these girls found each other quickly because of their obscure yet shared craze. It’s not some social media ploy: they say the bigger ears ameliorate the way their straight hair drapes around their necks. But what’s more is that the newfound silhouette allows them to be in tune with each other. It’s not about rebelliousness, notoriety or trend setting, it is about kinship. To seek normalcy within their mutual peculiarity, they become mythical relatives and create a new kind of authenticity that only this day and age is able to provide.

‘Our new images has grown from a desire to transgress the limits of our bodies, but not conform to the regular idea of beauty. We are moving toward a new, mythical reality.’

In early 2016, Current Obsession had the opportunity to become a ‘client’ for a group of ECAL Photography Master students, who were asked to create photographic narratives especially for the #5 Vernacular Issue. Students were guided by the talented Dutch photographer Lonneke van der Palen. During the course of applied photography, every student needed to be able to bring a personal and artistic approach to a commissioned project. We feel honoured to be able to work with such talented group and thrilled to share the results of this collaboration.


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