- Issue 18
This paper started with my effort to find connections between Empty Hands, which was put on the stage at the Mime House in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, and Jindo Ssitgimgut. The mimist Yu Jin-gyu(58) adopted so many elements from Jindo Ssitgimgut for his performance that I felt that it was the pantomime version of Jindo Ssitgimgut. Of course, the pantomime took the form of gut based on shamanism in terms of story. Watching the pantomime, I once again saw the possibility of developing Korea's cultural archetypes into cultural contents. Helen Lannaghan, the art director of London International Mime Festival of 2005, saw his performance at the conference of Chuncheon International Mime Festival and invited it to the London International Mime Festival praising that it's full of Korean elements, minimalist, and modern at the same time. In fact, Empty Hands, which boasts great harmony among the Korean objet, Oriental thoughts, Samulnori, and Western contemporary mime, was invited to many foreign festivals including the Mimos International Mime Festival in 2000, Polish International Mime Festival in 2001, Mongol's International Mime Festival in 2002, and Belgium's International Mime Festival in 2003. In addition, it's recognized for its artistic values and had a chance to shine in another international setting at the London International Mime Festival whose reputations have been worldwide. All those achievements are the result of Yu's constant effort to reflect Korean elements through his movements. What I saw in his pantomime was the possibility that plays based on Korea's cultural archetypes such as Jindo Ssitgimgut could play an important role as a global content of performance culture. Pursuing the possibility further, I analyzed the factors that brought the worldwide recognition to Empty Hands and searched for the ways to create solid storytelling with Jindo Ssitgimgut and make a huge hit on the international stage. It should be noted once more that the pantomime Empty Hands launched Korea's unique performance culture to the world stage by making great use of the traditional Korean cultural contents.