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An interview with Zebadiah Arrington and Suhuu Goh with occasional interjections by Zore

Sixty Four

THE BALLAD OF ZEBADIAH ARRINGTON PART ONE CHICAGOS MOST WANTED Zeb: Out painting the whole night and wasnt planning on going home and went home anyway and I was supposed to be waking up and kept putting snooze on the alarm. The next thing I heard was bang, bang, bang, bang heard my mum walking up to the door. Who is it? Its the Chicago police looking for Zebadiah Arrington When I heard that it was like, no way. So I am in bed, in the second bunk in my room, and I hear the boots walking up to my room. Could hear the boots, thump, thump, thump thump walking up the stairs. Could hear my mom say, I dont think hes home. At that point, I thought it was a nightmare but I knew I was awake. I didnt know what to do. I couldnt run so I just pretended I was asleep. So they came in my room and said get down youre under arrest and they started looking around my bedroom, they see graffiti on the walls, and one of the graffitis said most wanted in very clear words and they said yeah, you are the most wanted you idiot. My mom was standing in front of a plate of weed in the room and they got in the car I heard them say, its ok we got him. I started seeing cars drive the wrong way down the street and slowing down to the car I was at. So, they continued to interrogate me in the car, but I didnt say anything which pissed them off, I asked to talk to a lawyer. Then they drove me, literally to downtown, the farthest police station from my home. I felt like a jerk, I could see my school, I thought God I just

want to get out of here, I have a critique today. Now I am at the police station, as theyre fingerprinting me, they continue to interrogate me, I continue to be silent and one of the cops says, this kid thinks hes got a murder! So, from there on I am pretty much waiting to get to county and sit there in county for two weeks. A bunch of my friends visit me in jail. Su: Thats when we were making fun of him in class, saying Wheres Zeb? He might be in jail but it was true. Zeb: Get a bunch of postcards in county, finally New York city came to the jail in Chicago. Royce: What kind of room was it? Zeb: It was chill. Its a big room with 40 beds, it looks like a military base or something. One of my cellmates, close to me, bed to bed, told me not to sign anything when the New York city cops come and if you do, sign with your left hand, and sure enough when NYC cops come, they ask me a ton of questions like social security number, do you know why were here now? I just say I want to speak to my lawyer. Got into the undercover car, one of the NYC cops asked me something, and I didnt respond and looked straight out the window, and he said, Aww, Zeb doesnt like me. Zeb thinks hes got it all figured out, that as long as I say nothing, theyve got nothing on us because they didnt catch us in the act. Which is exactly what I was thinking. So, we get to the airport thats when one of the cops asks more questions

THE BALLAD OF ZEBADIAH ARRINGTON and I continue to stay silent and then he asks me do you think I wanna be here? Then I finally looked him in the eye and said, well youre here. Then the nice cop was like, Hey are you hungry ? and I knew to say yes and they went and got us some McDonalds, ate that with handcuffs on my hands and then a flight attendant walked over, mentioned something to the police officer, and that was our cue to get up and walk to the plane and we got on the plane and walked directly to the back of the plane and sat in the last two seats. And then, were in the air flying and I told one of the cops I had to use the bedroom so they walk me to the bathroom and they have the door wide open and I said I had to take a shit and they were like do it and I tried but I said, hey this is too hard youre looking at me and they said come on bro and I tried but said again it was too hard so he said ok, Ill do this and he put his foot in the door and cracked it. So we get to New York, walking through LaGuardia airport and right when we get outside of it theres a black van with two federal marshals. We get in the black van and they take us to Manhattan from the queens airport. I am sitting in the cell and I am looking at the cop with a gigantic file, and hes just pulling out cd after cd after folder after folder writing paper work and then they bring me out of the cell and fingerprint me on each finger on both hands, seven times. Seventy finger prints, because each train they had to finger print me, so they had to arrest me seven times for each train I was wanted for and that was just Manhattan. Ok, so after the van they take me to

Manhattan into a subway station where the police station is for the trains. After all the finger printing about 3 to 4 hours go by and they finally put me back in the van and drive me to central booking which is a gigantic 17 story building in the middle of Chinatown which is a big jail and courthouse. We get out of the van its a pretty cold night and theres this humongous pool gate and that comes raveling up screeeecchhhh and were now between these two huge buildings and walking in. These cops had no idea what to do they walk me into one building, the security guards tell them to go to another building and eventually we go to the seventh floor and the paper work was not correct for some reason so they put me in a holding cell and the cop left and about one hour later the cop came back and gave security guards more paper work. So we spend the night in central booking waiting for the morning to go to court and in the morning theyre calling names and I hear my name get called and they hand cuff me to another inmate and they call another and handcuff him to me and we become a line of inmates walking down the hallway. And then we make it up to another floor and were in the final holding cell waiting for court. I hear my name called and I am thinking its for court, but its only to meet my lawyer so I meet with him and he says that everyone is ready to go, the DA, him, your mom is waiting. Were now just waiting for the judge to get into the courtroom. So the building had a window right in front of the cells and I could see the sun rising over the Manhattan bridge, and I


Chinatown Entrance to The Tombs in Manhattan, NYC

remember having this moment looking at the sun and thinking about my mom downstairs and how scared she might be and it was a moment when I had a few tears to think about why this situation was even going on. And shortly after I went down to court as they open the door to go into court I tuck in my t-shirt and I am walking in and I look towards the people in the courtroom and see my mum sitting in the audience I walk in front of the judge. My lawyers she supports me and she will make sure I come back to court if they release me and the prosecutor asks for a $10,000 bond because they extradited me to this

city and that I was a flight risk and that if they let me go I will not return so the judge made his decision to release me with no bond and I think it was because my mom was there. To hear the judge say I am released was amazing, they bring me into the holding cell for a few minutes and I got to walk out without handcuffs. My mum said it was the greatest hug shed ever had in her life.

THE BALLAD OF ZEBADIAH ARRINGTON PART TWO THIS KID THINKS HES GOT A MURDER Zeb: I am back in Chicago and I get a call from my lawyer and he says weve got a lot of problems. The vandals squad says theyve got warrants for me in Brooklyn, Queens and Boston and they want me to turn myself in. So I fly to Queens by myself and turn myself in, because my lawyer thinks if I turn myself in they will let me go like last time. This time, the defense attorney has a 30 minute bond hearing talking about how my mom allows me to travel the world to paint graffiti and how I wont return to court if they release me and how prolific I am painting across the States. My attorney says, my client has turned himself in today he has been completely compliant with all the cases. Zore: Its time for me to go to sleep. Zeb: The judge looks at all the photos of the trains Zore: Aww look at all the pretty graffiti Zeb: And says $10,000 bond and slams the mallet. Bang! Zore: What are you doing in my dreams goddamn graffiti kids? Zeb: And I get hauled back into the cells. So that night they take me to a boat prison. Zore: Dont romanticize graffiti. Dont believe your hype. Zeb: A federal prison thats docked at the end of the Bronx, its a barge. So I am on the boat, similar situation to Chicago. Zore: Other than pretty scared you were pretty excited right? Zeb: It was interesting to say I was at I was at Rikers

Zore: How long were you there? Zeb:Three weeks over Christmas. So eventually my mom gets enough money to bail me out. Zore: How much was it? Zeb: $10,000 plus $2000 to the bail bondsmen. Next thing I know I get another call from my lawyer who says, youre wanted in Brooklyn and I asked them what do you wanna do with my client? and they said I dont even want to deal with your client have your client turn himself in and Ill ROR (Release on recogniscene) him. So I go to Brooklyn and they start finger printing me and the guy goes, so you think youre going home tonight? and I say well look Iam here arent I and he says Oh youve got warrants in Boston, your lawyer didnt tell you? I said I guess you should tell my lawyer, look its right here so I go to the bar and look through the papers and say I guess you should tell my lawyer. Zore: Youre a lucky motherfucker. Youre lucky youre a kid with a mom. Zeb: So I go into Brooklyn court the next day, and sure enough the DA says 1 dollar bond because I have a warrant in Massachusetts, Boston. Zore: Damn that public school education is paying off. Zeb: So they hold me and I see my lawyer behind bars, but I cannot bond you out because you have a warrant in Boston, so they take me to Rikers island. Everyone asks me if it was scary and I say no because everyone one there


Manhattan Criminal Courts, NYC

THE BALLAD OF ZEBADIAH ARRINGTON would ask me where you from? And Id say Chicago. And theyd say oh man youre from Chicago. Aww sheeeeeeet boy! The only thing is you gotta be a man and watch yourself. So eventually they take me to my cell which is another big ass room of probably 50 beds, this time its not bunk beds, just normal beds. Zore: How old were you when this happened? Zeb: I was 19. I call my lawyer right when I get to Rikers and ask when are you gonna call my bail bondsman and he says a week and I say fine, ok , I can do a week. I get my mom to find a good lawyer in Boston and I go to court next Monday in Brooklyn to try and get picked up by Boston. Its just a matter of not putting new fucking trains on the fucking internet. I thought it was safe because it was only through email. This was in the newspapers, New York Post, the Daily News, CBS News, Chicago Babyfaced Chicago art student slapped. So I go to court and Boston is not there so I have to sit in the Brooklyn court house all day and wait for the Rikers island bus to take me back. Hopefully Id get there before dinner. And I get back to the RIkers island bunks and call my lawyer again and say what the fuck! and they say, I called Boston again they said they couldnt make it and they would try and make it next week. A whole week goes by and I go to court again and Boston is not here. It pisses me off because I know Christmas is coming up this week. Another week goes by and Su comes to visit me for Christmas.


Entrance to Rikers Island Bridge, Queens, NYC

Su: So Zeb told me one day I gotta go to Boston but I will be back soon so I was like ok, I really believed it and he never came back and I thought he got drunk, had fun and slept there. He was gone two days and didnt come back and his mum told me that he was extradited and she said some things I didnt understand because my English is not so good so she had to explain really simply that he got put in jail. So Christmas was coming and I was in the classroom and waiting and I couldnt do anything, I was in a coma. I told my friends I had to go to New York. I had only been to New York once when I first got there and I really hated it, the

smell, the people and I swore I would never go back to New York. I am fresh from Korea and I am thinking about going to New York by myself, but I wasnt even scared, I was really happy to go. So I buy a ticket. I think I wrote a letter to him before I went which Zebs mom took to him but she brought it back to me because she said she couldnt bring any letters it had to be a certain type of paper. She told me everything I had to do when I went to Rikers island, all the security things and I was like ok ok ok, my English was really bad at this time. She told me how to get there, take this bus and get off here. So I took a bus to

THE BALLAD OF ZEBADIAH ARRINGTON get to Rikers island, Q100, really early in the morning, take a train from New Jersey to New York and get to New York and get to queens and take a bus to Rikers Island and they have this long bridge and they have a sign which says you cannot take a photo after this. Photography past this point is prohibited. So across the river in the bus and there was this black kid sitting in front of me and I looked at him and he looked at me too. When I get there, theres this really long line waiting to get in I think I waited an hour just to get in to the building. Zebs mum told me not to bring anything , not even a phone, because you gotta put it in the lock, and I went through this security and then I waited for another hour waiting for the bus and this bus took me deeper into the jail. They treated me like a criminal because youve got friends in jail and I saw this pictures that said if you try to smuggle these horrible pictures showing the consequences of what would happen if you smuggle drugs into jail. I was so stupid, I had no idea what was going on, I just wanted to see him. It basically took me like a half day to get from New Jersey to Rikers, like 6 hours. I really remember the last door, that moved and sliding inside of the wall and one by one you get to walk in and you go through this black light and they tell you where to sit on these little chairs like kindergarten chairs and theres a table in front of you and youre right next really close to the people and Zebs mum told me you cant get too close to the people so you might not be able to get too close you cant be lovely lovely and I see the door open and I see zebs head, oik! pop

out and hes in a grey jumpsuit. Zeb: I was on the other side of the wall for about 45 mintues just waiting to see you. I remember I saw you I hugged you picked you up a little bit. Su: And I asked him why are these chairs so small and funny and he said because they dont want people to smuggle things in so you show your knees. I looked around and there was this guy behind the wall and there was this girl in a skinny dress and I asked why they cant be close and maybe it was because they were murderers. So we just held hands and talked and time was slow but when it was over it felt so short. I think it was 30 minutes but I think I got 45 because she was an interstate visitor. We walked over and asked can you give more time because shes from Chicago but he just mumbled. Su: I was really worried about some problem because you said another inmate had a problem with you. Zeb: The only problem I had was that one guy said he was gonna pay me money for these drawings and I asked him if I could get the money before I go to court. He was like I gave the money away and so I took the book off him and he ripped up the drawings I did for him. Boston comes the next week and picks me up, puts me in the back of a Boston police car, actual police car, this one cop put on the handcuffs extremely tight behind my back and I said they were extremely tight can you put them on front of me he said no but Ill loosen them. We stopped at a McDonalds and they got me a cheese-burger. We get to the police station in Boston and the police officers

Crossing the Rikers Island Bridge by Prison Bus

Entrance Sign to Rikers Island

THE BALLAD OF ZEBADIAH ARRINGTON in Boston were extremely kind. Maybe it was because I was reading the 48 laws of power and I was manipulating them or they were genuinely nice. They gave me my own cell with three blankets one for a pillow, one for a blanket and one for my feet and they gave me McDonalds in my cell for breakfast. They put me in the back of a paddy wagon and there were these tiny holes and it created a camera obscura and everything was projected reversed and upside down in the van. So I went to Boston with two pairs of pants on and underwear. When they were searching me they were like whats going on why do you have two pairs of pants on? Get to the courthouse, some shabby lawyer with gym shoes on and a suit and I say whats going on and he says no problem eveyrthings gonna be fine. He does the lawyer spiel hes a good kid hes gonna come back, the DA says were not gonna even ask for a bond and the fact that I spent $10,000 on a bond in Queens we used that as a reason for setting a bond.



Train Overpass Running through Queens Plaza South 16

THE BALLAD OF ZEBADIAH ARRINGTON Zeb: So we walk out of court and the lawyer is showing me the paperwork, it was really funny because it was first time I got to see the photos of my graffiti that they were charging me for and they had a cop standing in front of my friends graffiti piece, sort of like Guantanamo bay, they were standing in front of my piece holding their gun and posing. And the really weird thing was that it was a photo of the train in the exact same place as I had a photo of the train and it was a daytime photo and I went up and took a day time photo so they must have either came right before I came or right after I came. So Im talking to my lawyer and he says were gonna get this case dismissed you know they got nothing on you and I am like great this sounds amazing and we go to his office and my mom sent a nice card with a few bucks so I could get on a train and I remember calling my friend and he says oh just meet this guy hes gonna take care of you tonight and well see you when you get to Chicago. And so we just hung out had some burgers and got some beer and called it an early night and caught the plane the next morning to Chicago. So the next week was New Years Eve, I get to Chicago and its New Years Eve. Zeb: In New York I eventually plea out and in Queens they ask for $7500 in restitution and two years probation and 25 days of community service and then Manhattan says $5000 restitution and conditional discharge and the only condition is to pay the money so I did about 10 days of community service living in NY one summer and went to the judge and said hey Ive done this many days of

community service I have to go to school is there any we can put the next 10 days to next summer or be done with it and he said we can be done with it just pay the money and I am still not done paying that. Every morning for community service I had to be at the end of queens which is extremely far like the last stop at this one train at 7.45 am which is extremely hard if you have a night life which I did. Basically there were three vans you could get into in the morning youd sit in this park waiting for these community service vans to show up and theyd do attendance and there were three people, a woman, an old man and a young man. The young man was cool he just drove around the whole day and didnt make us get out of the van once and just go and be on the phone the entire day and gave us an extremely long lunch break and then just let us out after the lunch break and basically I always hoped to get with him. But the woman would make you work the entire time, she would drive for maybe 10 minutes and get you out on the side of the highway and make you sweep all this garbage and pick up things and just fill up three bags of garbage on the highway of tiny little things picking up, picking up, picking up with these long armed grabbers. And the other guy would make us work a little bit, but he was lazy too so we could just go around the corner and sit down then he would come back and say get back to work. But the lady was behind us honking saying go faster go faster. I really did enjoy walking along the highways, it was a restricted area where I

THE BALLAD OF ZEBADIAH ARRINGTON wouldnt get to go normally and making me wake up in the morning was just like a job, jobs are healthy, and I had good times in NY that summer and saw some gallerys and openings and some friends from Chicago came out. Zeb: From here on it was continuance after continuance and eventually I went to court in Boston and the judge was there and the cops were there and they wanted to end it the cops wanted me to get 2 years probation and restitution money of $2000 and not a conviction. Yeah that time was after my conviction I was travelling around but my probation said I was not supposed to leave the state of Massachusetts even though I am not a citizen of Massachusetts so I had to go back to and talk to the probation officer and tell him Im a citizen of Chicago and Ive been going to school ever since my court date and according to the paperwork Ive been breaking my probation and 1) I didnt know about that and 2) it doesnt make sense for me to be on this kind of probation and he agreed and walked me into court and said I am the head of probation just tell them you met with me and that you need to change it to unsupervised probation and that day was pretty intense because I didnt have a lawyer I had to go in and talk to the judge in court alone and although the DA was on my side the judge was very skeptical because at that point I hadnt paid any restitution and she said if youre not paying your restitution yet I am gonna put you on supervision for sure you cant leave the state and they told her I can pay the entire restitution by the end of the month if you allow me

to go to Chicago and make the money and Su told me she could give me $800 dollars and she said alright, thatll do the trick. She just wanted money so we paid some money. Su wanted to see the train yard , the one that I got convicted for, we walked around the train yard and showed her how I got in and I took a danger no trespassing electric current sign and I put it down my pants and it went all the way up my back because I didnt want train workers to see. Su: And we went to a hill to see the train yard and I needed to take a shit so I said dont worry no one will look so she shat right in the woods, you can see the train yard where he painted and I was sitting there pooping. It was a very cute poop pile. We got more beer that night and hung out with this cool graffiti artists who took us to this abandoned bridge over the Boston river, pretty sweet adventure. I walked to this bridge of the trains and then it was really scary to walk through because of the gaps between the wood, if you go through the gaps youre going down into the river.

Abandoned Bridge over Boston River

Excerts from the pansori opera Chunghyangga

THE BALLAD OF ZEBADIAH ARRINGTON 49. ( ) . [] , , [] , . , ? , , , ? . , , , . , , , , , , , . , , ? , . , , , , , . , , . .


THE BALLAD OF ZEBADIAH ARRINGTON 49. (LAMENTATION IN PRISON). CHUNHYANG LAMENTS IN PRISON. [Aniri] Meanwhile Chunhyangs mother, Hyangdan, and many courtesans go back home. Chunhyang is left alone in the cell and laments over her fate. [Jinyangjo] I heard a cell is a terrible place to be in. It is indeed a terrible and horrible place. There is only a straw sack instead of a fur blanket. There is only a bunch of straws instead of blankets and pillows. After the universe was created, human beings appeared. After human beings appeared, language was invented. Why invent the words, love and separation? Whoever invented these words is my eternal enemy. Sighing, she suddenly falls asleep. She dreams that she is a butterfly. She flies effortlessly. A cuckoo moves around in a bamboo grove tainted with blood. A ghost sits out. Faintly seen from a distance is a high, quiet house. Golden letters, Huangling Shrine for Faithful Queens, are clearly seen. In raptures, she roams in front of the gate. Two girls on blue clothes open a door and come out. They greet Chunhyang. Madam is calling you, so please follow me. Chunhyang says, I am a humble human being. I came here by chance. I dont even know the name of this place. How can the madam call me? You will see if you go there. Lets go quickly. She follows the young girls into the main building. There are two ladies on white clothes in a high building with large windows. They swiftly open the door and greet Chunhyang warmly. Although you are a girl, you mastered the classics. You must know the daughters of King Yao and wives of King Shun. They are us, E Huang and Nu Ying. This river is Xiaoxiang River. This grove is the bamboo grove tainted with our blood. This building is Huangling Shrine. The ladies sitting in the east and west shrines are famous virtuous girls.

Chunghyang laments in prison in a still from Shin Sang-Oks film Chunhyangjeon, 1961

THE BALLAD OF ZEBADIAH ARRINGTON , . , . . , , , , , , , . , . , , ?


THE BALLAD OF ZEBADIAH ARRINGTON You are a faithful girl. After living a happy life, you will come here. An empty seat in the west is for you. We brought you here today because your tender body is beaten too much by a cudgel. We took pity on you and wanted to cure you. If you eat these, your wounds will be cured, and you will be all right. They ask the young girls to bring three glasses of wine and some food. She sits down, drinks the wine and eats the food. The ladies also say, Your old mother is waiting for you. Leave in an instant. Chunhyang bows four times and wakes up, surprised. Huangling Shrine is gone. She lies alone in a cell. If I had known I would be in a cell, I would have stayed in Huangling Shrine. I cant believe I am in this situation.


Chunghyang is beaten by the prison officers in another still from Shin Sang-Oks film Chunhy

yangjeon, 1961

THE BALLAD OF ZEBADIAH ARRINGTON 50. () . [] . , . . . . . , , ? ? . , ? , ? , ? . , . ? , , , ? .


THE BALLAD OF ZEBADIAH ARRINGTON 50. (UNKEMPT HAIR) CHUNHYANG PINES FOR MONGRYONG AND WEEPS IN THE PRISON. [Jungmori] Chunhyang looks pathetic. Her hair is unkempt like a ghost. On the cold floor of a quiet cell, she only thinks about her love I miss him. I miss him. I miss my love in Seoul. After the parting with my sweetheart, I havent received a letter from him. Doesnt he have any free time because he served his parents and studied? Did he forget me because he married again? I wish I could shine on him like the goddess in the moon. Now that I lost contact with him, I cant receive even a letter from him. I turn and toss in my bed, so how could I have a sweet dream with my love? Should I write a letter about this situation with my bloody fingers? Should I draw a picture of my love with rotten tears from my liver? I wish I spray my tears on a pear branch wet with the spring rain. I miss him so much that at rainy night the sad sound of a horse bell breaks my intestines. When paulownia leaves fall down in an autumn rain, I think about my love. Women picking up lotus roots and mulberry leaves are also thinking about their husbands. But they are luckier than I. I cant get out of this prison. How could I pick up mulberry leaves and lotus roots? If I fail to see my love and become a spiteful spirit in this prison, I will become a tree near my tomb and long for him. I will become a statue in front of my tomb and yearn for him. Who would want to know about my grievous life before and after death? She bewails loudly.



THE BALLAD OF ZEBADIAH ARRINGTON Hi Cecilia Sorry for the delayed response! Its been utterly hectic here is Gwangju and its only now that Ive been able to sit down and respond to your email with some thought. Thanks for your interest in the work, and the exhibition youre curating sounds fascinating. It really corresponds with some of the issues Ive been dealing with in my work over the last few years. Basically, Ive been working in Gwangju since the beginning of 2011 and done several successive projects about the city directly. The work you saw in the biennale is entitled The Ballad of Zebadiah Arrington and consisted of the animation you saw and a series of performances. The work itself actually only hints at a much more complicated and convoluted narrative and series of events which I was involved in over the last few months. Please let me explain; In March of this year, I met Zebadiah Arrington and Suhuu Goh, American and Korean street artists based in Chicago who were participating in an artists residency in the Daein market in Gwangju. After getting to know them a bit, I learnt that Zebediah had spent several months in New Yorks Rikers Island prison for his graffiti activities across the country. The stories he told me about his experience being in prison were intriguing and sad to me, especially as he was only 20 years old at the time-and it was at the same time that I was researching into a traditional Korean form of folk opera called pansori. One of the stories entitled Chunhyang concerns a gisaeng (the Korean equivalent of a geisha) who marries an upper class yangban scholar from Seoul. After her husband leaves to take his exams, the local magistrate requests the young girl to become his escort, which she refuses, in response to which she is thrown in prison. The conceit of my work was to retell the experiences of Zebediah in prison and his relationship with Suhuu through the prism of the traditional pansori story. When I began making the work, Zeb and Suhuu were introducing graffiti to the citizens of Gwangju city. They began painting on a huge blue wall in the center of the city which was surrounding the construction site of the Asian Culture Complex (Gwangju, like Umea, is proposing itself as a culture city). This basically started a trend in Gwangju of young people, old people and even families with kids taking to the city with spray cans and doing graffiti on the blue wall and you can see snippets of this activity in my animation. Then two things happened. First. Some Gwangju citizens, inspired by Suhuu and


THE BALLAD OF ZEBADIAH ARRINGTON Zebs activities, took it upon themselves to graffiti all over a public sculpture which was created last year as a part of Design Biennales Gwangju Folly Project. This resulted in a crackdown by the Gwangju cultural foundation and the Gwangju police on graffiti and a warrant was issued for Suhuu and Zebs arrest in the city and the cultural foundation posted a 24 hour security guard around the site to stop people from doing graffiti in the area. Second, Suhuu and Zebs spraying in the market began to antagonize the local market sellers and artists working in the Daein market which developed into an open conflict between the artists and the market sellers who blamed them for vandalizing the market. At this point, I was between two poles, trying to produce my work about Suhuu and Zeb but also supporting the artists and market sellers in the market where I myself was working, and my work began to subtly incorporate references to the story beyond the original one which was the intended subject of my work. Then, several weeks before the opening of the biennale, the curator who selected me for the biennale, was explaining the concept and subject of my work to the director of the biennale foundation. As he was the one who was responsible for commissioning the Gwangju Folly public sculpture project, he was outraged that I was working with the graffiti artists who defaced his project and directed that I remove any reference to them defacing the sculptures from my work and even hide the title from the video. In addition to this, I was forced to cancel the original performance I had created for the project and fragment it and move it to a different site which ultimately seriously compromised the execution of the work. Anyway, ultimately the whole experience has been frustrating but also illuminating for me in working within a city and negotiating the dynamics between the role of culture within a city and its relationship to civic politics and bureaucracy and freedom of speech. Sorry for this very long email, actually, now its finally over its nice and therapeutic for me to write about the experience. Hope to hear from you soon. best Royce

*The Ballad of Zebadiah of Arrington was exhibited in the exhibition Communitas at the Bild Museum in Umea, Sweden in November 2012 curated by Cecilia Andersen.


THE BALLAD OF ZEBADIAH ARRINGTON by Royce Ng 1020x1980 HD 3D animation, 07:42 Commissioned by Samuso for the 2012 Gwangju Biennale Modeling, texturing, animation and rendering by Royce Ng June/September 2012 Created in Blender version 2.62 and iMovie 11 MUSIC Ok Jung Tan Shik , Sook Deh Moori from the Korean pansori Opera Chunghyang Jeon Sung by Kim Mi-Song With additional sound and percussion by Soichiro Mitsuya and Hyeon Il, July 2012 The Ballad of Zebadiah Arrington is an animation by Australian artist Royce Ng which recreates the experience of Chicago street artist Zebadiah Arringtons time in the US prison system on vandalism offenses in New York, Chicago and Boston. Having met Arrington during a residency in Gwangju , South Korea, Ng has reimagined the various urban environments, prisons and cities based on Arringtons descriptions to create an animated film which juxtaposes these scenes with footage from Arringtons graffiti activities in Gwangju city. The entire narrative is juxtaposed with the traditional Korean story of Chunhyangjeon, which mirrors Arringtons own experiences as a story based on a cross cultural relationship riven by imprisonment,while the accompanying soundtrack utilizes the pansori opera retelling of Chunhyangjeon to reflect the local history and context of where the work came into being. A screening of the animation during the 2012 Gwangju Biennale was accompanied by a live performance of Ok Jung Tan Shik and Sook Deh Moori from Chunhyangga sung by Park Heeyeon accompanied by Soichiro Mitsuya, Royce Ng, Suhuu Goh, and Zebadiah Arrington with an installation by Soichiro Mitsuya. A parallel performance with rapper Kim Hyunwoo and Soichiro Mitsuya and Royce Ng took also took place during the performance. Excerpts from the Jeong Eungmin Version of Chunhyangga (Sung by Seong Uhyang, Jo Sanghyeon). English translation by Park Sungbeh PHOTO CREDITS INSIDE COVER Still from the video Legalized Crime by Suhperzeb Pages 2, 3. Google Earth 415943.16 N 874146.47 W Pages 4,5. Chinatown Entrance to The Tombs in Manhattan. Photo Zebadiah Arrington Pages 6, 7. Facade of the Manhattan Criminal Courts, NYC. Photo Zebadiah Arrington Page 6 Inset. Chinatown Entrance to The Tombs in Manhattan. Photo Zebadiah Arrington Page 8. Corner of Central Avenue and Walker Street. Photo Zebadiah Arrington. Page 8 Inset. Entrance to Manhattan Criminal Courts, NYC. Photo Zebadiah Arrington Page 10. View from window of bus crossing Rikers Island bridge. Photo Suhuu Goh Page 10 Inset. Entrance to the Rikers Island Bridge, Queens, NYC. Photo Suhuu Goh Page 12, 13. Rikers Island Carpark, NYC. Photo Suhuu Goh Page 14, 15 Crossing the Rikers Island bridge by prison bus. Photo Suhuu Goh Page 16, 17. Unknown. Photo by Zebadiah Arrington Page 16 Inset. Train Overpass Running through Queens Plaza South. Photo Zebadiah Arrington Page 18. Unknown. Photo by Zebadiah Arrington Page 19. Abandoned bridge over Boston River. Photo Suhuu Goh. Page 32, 33. Still from the video Legalized Crime by Suhperzeb Page 56, 57, 58. Still from the video Legalized Crime by Suhperzeb