Jane Jin Kaisen, b.1980, Denmark

Jane Jin Kaisen was born in Jeju Island and now lives in Copenhagen. She is a visual artist, filmmaker, and Professor of the School of Media Arts, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Spanning the mediums of video installation, experimental film, photographic installation, performance, and text, Kaisen’s artistic practice is informed by extensive interdisciplinary research and engagement with diverse communities. Engaging topics such as memory, migration, borders, and translation, she activates the field where lived experience and embodied knowledge intersect with larger political histories.

Halmang features a group of elderly women in their 70s and 80s on Jeju Island. The place is the very location where haenyeo divers start diving works, known for its connection to the wind goddess Yongdeung Halmang. These women, lifelong haenyeo sea divers, share a deep spiritual connection to the sea, wind, and island. The title, Halmang, represents both the local term for grandmother and the shamanic goddesses of Jeju. The film portrays their movements, facial expressions and gestures. It focuses on their collective use and care of “sochang,” a white cloth symbolizing life’s cycle and human-spiritual connections. The camera captures their meticulous handling of the fabric, forming a spiral around black lava rocks.

In Offering – Coil Embrace, the artist collaborates with Jeju’s female divers who have been involved in the environmental preservation of the island. Together, they craft underwater choreography inspired by Jeju’s oceanic shamanic myths and the symbolism of sochang. Filmed in slow motion, the work explores the ocean as a medium, a source of wisdom, matrilineal connection, and a space of both exile and death. (Z.Y)

Image Credit
Courtesy of the artist and Martin Asbæk Gallery.

  • Halmang

    2023, single-channel video, 12'02"

  • Offering – Coil Embrace

    2023, four-channel video, 12'00"