Wednesday, May 25, 2011

[Part 1] NY Times: Elite South Korean University Rattled by Suicides

A couple days ago, my friend gave me this article link from the New York Times. This article reports that four students and a popular professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, known as KAIST, had committed suicide. I heard about this news from Korea a while ago and I am so sorry to hear that they chose to commit suicide. It's a very critical moment so I wanted to share this article with all of you.

The article also talked about unhappy young South Korean students and the reality of the education system in South Korea. According to the NY Times, "The competition for a place in a leading university begins in middle school for most South Korean students. More than 80 percent of Korean young people go to college, and parents here spend more money per child on extra classes and outside tutoring — including military-style “cram schools” — than any other country in the O.E.C.D."

That description is quite true what I went through. It reminded me of what I wrote in my thesis:
Competition was a major theme that stayed with me while I was a student in Korea. The competitive nature of the school necessitated examinations in subject matters as broad as mathematics, sewing, piano performance and drawing. My society and my training demanded that I excel at all of these tests. After each exam was graded, most students would ask around for each other’s grade to see where they ranked. The majority of my peers believed that scoring high were the only way to gain recognition in society. There was not much evidence to believe otherwise.
To make things worse, these days I think the competition for a place in a leading university does not begin in middle school for most South Korean students. I would say that it starts at a very young age like 3 to 5 years old because they need to study English so hard to be able to speak English like their first language.

This image is from


The images is from

It is too big a subject to unpack here right now. So I will end this post here. In the next post, I will talk about how when I became a college student, I quickly realized that the competition was not limited to the boundaries of academics. There is so much to talk about...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

RISD Collection 2011

Last saturday, I went to see the RISD collection, which is the Apparel Design Department’s popular fashion show. My first time to see the fashion show was 3 years ago! Time flies!!! I got the ticket so late so it was not the best seat but it was worth watching!!

It was especially interesting to see some of the selected collections that were made from recycling materials like burlap, feathers, gears and tapes etc. I guess those garments were created in response to the Re- Innovative Design class where students explored the properties of recycled materials other than fabric while creating a wearable piece. The Re-Innovative Design class reminds me of the New Jewelry class that I taught last year. It's always interesting to see how the raw materials transform into unexpected and beautiful pieces.

Here are some images from the collection 2011.

My favorite pieces from the senior collection are shown below. I like the color combination of grey, red and mustard color! : )I can't remember the artist's names. Sorry about that!

Also, the green color collection was wonderful!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Interview with NORMALMAG.

I have been receiving many interview requests these days! It's sooo interesting to hear what they are curious about me and my work. : )
A couple weeks ago, I got an interview request from NORMALMAG. NORMALMAG is an alternative electronic journal offers a varied and demanding audience, themes that aim to entertain and encourage debate onthe ever-changing world of creativity.

Here is the interview transcript in English.

Q. What caught your attention to the jewelry as a concept and ability to implement all of your artistic talent?
A. Magdalena Ringels states, “What is so wonderful with jewelry is that it has a public arena beyond the white-washed gallery walls. This is something that few other art forms have.” I feel privileged to be able to create work that can become so intimately involved in the wearers’ everyday lives.

Q.The silver work was your starting point ... right?
A.That's right. In college, I fell in love with the idea of being able to make well-crafted and beautiful objects made from precious metals such as silver. I knew I had a passion for it, because despite it being such a long and difficult process, I always had the energy to follow it through to the end.

Q. Do you feel that your spirit both artisanal and your aesthetic sense are rooted in your college education?
A. Absolutely. The graduate school gave me the opportunity to take a holly different perspective on the world, which has had a profound impact on my work and my creative process.

Q. What would you say are your main reference today to carry out each of your jewelry ...
A. Culture and environment are now my greatest inspiration.

Q. How is it that nature has become the real background of your project?
A. When I was little, I was surrounded by all sorts of different rocks my dad collected from traveling to rivers and mountains. I followed him on these excavations, and you can visibly see how the aesthetics of these experiences get reflected in my work. Then in Providence, my surroundings were filled trees full of leaves in the summer, which were then left bare in the winter. You can see how these aesthetics are reflected in some of my work as well.

Q. Feel that the choice of raw materials to follow these guidelines for experimentation with natural elements that often go unnoticed ...
A. Sure. My choice of materials comes from the everyday corners of our lives. However, my finished pieces provide the wearer and the audience with an unfamiliar experience.

Q. and what sense?
A. When the wearer and the audience recognize a new and unexpected way of looking at material and form, they are given the opportunity to reevaluate the traditional and cultural notion of beauty and value in jewelry, focused on expensive metals and stones. My work introduces unconventional use of familiar artifacts into a world full of conventions. I hope an empathetic relationship between my work and the wearer can be created.

Q. Any reference that allowed you to take a step beyond your research about new technologies and applied to jewelry ...
A. In the process of searching for my basic shapes, I cut, twist, bend, roll, scatter, gather, attach, detach, connect, assemble, and accumulate. My ability to conduct this search develops and informs the structural form I am making. Similarly, in the 60s, artist Richard Serra wrote a Verb List putting the emphasis of his work on the process and the placement of materials. His method of engaging in an active process allowed me to better explore material with freedom.

Q. And during this examination, which part of the process is more relevant ...
A. Instead of putting emphasis on the final design, I have come to focus more on the process. My current working process takes a form similar to the way mankind has explored space, caves, oceans, and new terrains. Instead of thinking about inventing or creating an artifact, I have come to understand creativity as a way to search for, and to discover an insight. Perhaps it is an expansive process no smaller in scale than the evolutionary process that occurs in nature.

Q. What did you accomplish with your latest collection 2011?
A. As an artist I work with objects we encounter everyday that often go unnoticed, such as beans, straws, cable ties, and Velcro. I explore the value of such mundane objects, and discover their hidden beauty through a process of reconfiguration. By assembling, grouping, clustering, and piling, the simple elements become complex, and give rise to the unexpected. As the wearer approaches my work, the experience of perspective shifts and sudden realizations spark wonder, discovery, tension, joy and play.

Q. So far your work is experienced only as an object or a series of objects that can be used individually or viewed in a gallery. Would you like to share the process that produces them?
A. Of course! I hope to create a set of sculptural installations with this process as the concept. I wonder what the audience would feel as they experience such an installation.

Thanks for reading!

* Guys, just so you know, English is my second language, so please bear with me if my grammar is weird! :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Pawtucket Foundation Prize Exhbition

I was pleased to participate in the Pawtucket Foundation Prize Exhibition. Since the exhibition was held in Pawtucket, I was able to attend the opening yesterday. What a great pleasure! It's been a while since I have been to an opening night! I took some photos while the audiences were viewing my art work. I wished all of the art pieces were hung a bit further away from one another.
The show will run to June 24th, 2011. If you are around the area, please check it out! : )


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Featured on

I just received an email from that my art work from 2011 has been featured on their blog. is one of the most popular and influential architecture, landscape, design and art blogs in China. According to, they now get over 200,000 visits a month and traffic is doubling every season. Thank you for your post! : )