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Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee: A Marathon Reading 



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To enter the USC campus, all guests age 12 and older must show proof of full vaccination (either a physical CDC-issued vaccine card or a digital copy available from the State of California here). As an alternative, guests may show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of accessing campus. Photo ID required. All persons accessing must also complete Trojan Check, USC’s daily wellness assessment, on the day of their visit. We encourage all attendees to wear masks for their own protection and the protection of others. Unvaccinated individuals must wear a mask whenever they cannot maintain a 6’ physical distance from those outside of their households.

In 1982, multimedia artist and writer Theresa Hak Kyung Cha published Dictee, a radical blend of experimental novel, poetry, autobiography, and cultural critique. Shortly after its publication, she was tragically raped and murdered—her life unjustly ended at the peak of her artistic output and during her ascent as a respected and admired artist. Four decades after her passing, Cha’s legacy as a groundbreaking and influential artist continues to grow.

Commemorating the 70th anniversary of her birth, Deaf and Hearing volunteers, including USC students, will read her magnum opus in its entirety simultaneously in spoken language and in ASL. The reading will be accompanied by projected images of the pages of Dictee, Cha’s artwork, and introductory remarks by her brother and biographer John H. Cha and scholars Laura Hyun Yi Kang (UC Irvine) and Lawrence Rinder (UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive).

1–1:20 p.m.: Presentation of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Artwork, courtesy of her archive at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
1:20–1:30 p.m.: Welcome and Introductions: Yong Soon Min, Ellie Lee, Annette M. Kim, Holly Willis
1:30–2 p.m.: Apropos of Theresa: John H. Cha, Laura Hyun Yi Kang, Lawrence Rinder
2–5:30 p.m.: Marathon Reading
5:30–6 p.m.: Reception

John H. Cha
has written several biographies about Korean and American leaders and is an award-winning translator of Korean literature into English. His titles include Willow Tree Shade: The Susan Ahn Cuddy Story and The Do or Die Entrepreneur: A Korean American Businessman’s Journey. He is currently working on Dear Theresa, a book about his sister Theresa Cha.

Laura Hyun Yi Kang is a professor and former Chair of Gender & Sexuality Studies at UC Irvine. She is the author of Traffic in Asian Women (2020) and Compositional Subjects: Enfiguring Asian/American Women (2002). With Elaine H. Kim, Kang co-edited the anthology Echoes Upon Echoes: New Korean American Writings (2002). She is currently at work on Sallim, a book about women's labor and social reproduction in the Korean diaspora.

Lawrence Rinder directed the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive from 2008 to 2020. He came to the University of California from the California College of the Arts, where he was Dean of the College and Dean of Graduate Studies. Previously, he was the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator of Contemporary Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where he organized exhibitions including the 2002 Biennial.

Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative. Organized by GYOPO, Annette M. Kim (Public Policy), Holly Willis (Cinematic Arts), and Yong Soon Min (Professor Emeritus, UC Irvine).

GYOPO is a collective of diasporic Korean cultural producers and arts professionals generating and sharing progressive, critical, intersectional, and intergenerational discourses, community alliances, and free educational programs in Los Angeles and beyond.

Photo: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha: Surplus Novel, 1980. Photograph by Benjamin Blackwell.

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