I watch a dim blue light hit the Union Ballroom stage. As the blue light shapes the darkness, Suji Lee runs on to the stage, wearing a green hanbok (조선옷); her face red. The girl runs over to the shaman, shrouded in a black cloak.
The shaman looked away as Suji ran over to her. Suji approaches her partially out of breath.
Suji says, “Please Wul Hwa you can’t do this to me! None of you can do this to me! That was my true fate and becoming you isn’t! Please, I just want to be happy!”
Wul Hwa smiles in response and turns to her. She says sarcastically, “Suji, what a nice surprise.” Just as she finishes that statement she turns away, beginning to exit the stage. Wul Hwa had nothing more to say to the doomed girl.
Suji cries out, “No please, don’t go!” Wul Hwa turns around one last time and looks at Suji. Then exits the stage into the backstage corridor. As the shaman exits, Suji falls to her knees and cries.
Another girl, Hebin, walks on to the stage, a red ribbon in her hand. The red thread of fate…
Hebin approaches; she was wearing a pink hanbok. Hebin reaches Suji Lee and starts tying the ribbon around her arm. Suji stops crying and goes to grab the red ribbon, but Hebin does not let go. Suji looks over Hebin and then lifts up her head.
“Hebin! It’s you! It’s always been you!” Suji exclaims. Hebin and Suji meet eye-to-eye before embracing each other in a loving hug.
The lights dim into darkness and the crowd erupts into cheers and screaming. Me and the others in the back smile and hold back laughter as the crowd roared in enjoyment.
At SUNY Geneseo, I am creating spaces of creativity and innovation for myself because without them the school would be twice as difficult. In part, the most exhilarating part is how I create a space for my own comfortability. That is especially useful considering how Geneseo is and can be a very lonely space for students. These spaces, both physical like with club organizations like ACE (Alliance for Community Enrichment) or GAGG (Geneseo Area Gaming Group) and imagined like with DND group are important parts to my growth as a student. What makes those spaces even more special are the connections that I have with others.
Last week I discussed extensively on how I cope with the harshness of the world through the perspective of being a SUNY Geneseo student. However, I never discussed the connections that keep me at SUNY Geneseo. This conversation was ignited by KASA’s (Korean American Student Association) Cultural Dinner: Red Ties which happened this past Saturday. Red Ties is an allusion to the “red thread of fate” myth which says that lovers, often romantic, are destined to be together.
I was part of their backstage crew. That meant making sure actors were on and off stage when needed, dancers had their props, and making sure the other backstage crew members were not overwhelmed with their own individual responsibilities. In fact, these experiences were not my first experience being part of backstage with my involvement in both the Japanese Culture Club and the Chinese Culture Club’s individual cultural dinners. Each individual event was exhausting especially when a student has to juggle their academics, social, and professional life all in one. However, taking a look back on my involvement within these organizations and Steve Prince’s visit, I can say that I am deeply entangled within the “red thread of fate” myth.
In Fall of 2017, Steve Prince visited briefly to discuss his steam print piece. In particular, he said that “Beauty is amplified by the collective. If this were my class, I’d say that this central image is lines and circles and shapes, which only together forms the whole.” Steve Prince is correct in his assessment on beauty when we work as a collective, there is beauty in either the experience or the output. When Garth Freeman came to visit our class, it specifically brought me and the other students closer together.
These experiences are related to the myth because I was creating new experiences and connections with people and likewise Steve Prince was doing the same. Steve Prince, with every paint stroke and penmark, brought together the Geneseo community and vice-versa Garth Freeman did too with our individual class. That at the heart, is what brought me to participate in Steve Prince’s Urban Garden, be on Pride Alliance’s E-Board, or participate in K-Night. What brought me were my connections to others and the beauty that was amplified by our collective experience.
While a physical “red thread” does not connect me nor most people I know, the concept of the red thread matters. I cannot say whether I, Steve Prince, my classmates, or anyone are destined to meet. I can say that the bonds we created are meaningful and matter a great deal to people’s interests and work. For Steve Prince, that means his art, family, and the people he meets on his travel impact his art and work. His bonds, the connections he has with others, is what matters to him. For me, that is captured within the frames of a group photo.