“The Burning and Consumption of 3 Years of Bad Luck“  

Richmond, VA, 2016

Pujok (talismans), dojang (name stamp), red ink, candle, red shoes, antique chest (handed down), cup of tea
Duration: 20 minutes
Credit: Junoh Yo (photos)

A “pujok” is a spiritual talisman, originating from rituals of Korean Shamanism and Taoism. They act as good luck amulets and to repel against evil spirits. Typically written on mulberry paper and red cinnabar ink, red was thought to deter evil. In Korean Shamanism, a shaman (typically female) was considered similar to a medicine woman, due to the idea that illness was caused by evil spirits.
My grandmother sends me a pujok every Lunar New Year from Korea, traditionally one would burn the old talisman in receiving a new one, releasing the energy of the talisman. Three years ago my grandmother prophesised I would have three years of bad luck, this year marking the end of it. Burning and drinking the talisman ashes was a cleansing ritual warding off the energies of the past, essentially symbolizing my rebirth.

In between curated stacks of words and dust
Secluded yet
Through silhouettes of paper
One can peak at the flashes of red and flesh
The smell of the burning past
3 years
Ashes and desperation dripping down my neck
Shaking violently
Consumption or possession?