Rusty Odyssey:
The colonial trajectory of copper across the Atlantic 


Research Paper / 2019


Copper, the first metal processed by Neolithic humans has accompanied the history of humankind for approximately 10,000 years, disguised in various forms of tools, ornaments, sculptures, currency, weapons, and conductors of electricity. In the idea of New Materialism, the atomic number 29 assigned material has been an animate object for a transversal human agency that has conveyed the propagation of colonial ideologies between two formal imperialists, the Netherlands and Japan.

Former imperialists on the opposite coast of the Pacific enriched their territories which led the rise of colonialism, exchanging commodities and progressive ideas through the trade of copper. The mined raw copper was smelted in different forms that embodied the physical and spiritual desire of the imperialists, exploiting their colonies. The colonial era declined, but the post-colonial specters made of copper have been bequeathed as historical heritages and imperial hegemonies, leaving wounds in the contemporary age.

Along with the transformation of copper on the colonial trajectory, Rusty Odyssey takes multidisciplinary roles of a researcher and artist, provoking historian-disciplined statements interpreted in the artistic voice to the ignorance of colonialism inherited over centuries and regions. This article also examines conflicts in the contemporary era over copper to lay the foundation of the experimental documentary “Rusty Odyssey” through the perspective of a Korean artist residing in the Netherlands.


Related Link: 
(Project) Rusty Odyssey - I ︎
(Website) Webversion of the paper ︎



Text/Research/Graphic Design/Web Development: Yeon Sung
Proofreading/Translation of Korean Sources: JaeEun "Jane" Lee
Thesis Tutoring: Füsun Türetken
Typography Tutoring: Matthias Kreutzer

The paper is presented at: 
The second PIN (Postcolonial Studies Initiative) Network Conference
"Intellectuals Across Borders: Writers, Artists, Activists" / Münster, Germany / 5 September 2019

* A full-version of paper is available upon request.