Proposition 3: String Figure

+ Seven-channel video installations (HD, colour, sound, loop, variable dimensions), 46 photography (archival Canson Baryta Photographique, variable dimensions), indexical words, Dashes out of the Room (transcription poem, string figure inventions in drawing, videos, notations, and photography textured paper, OHP film, 8.5” X 11”), 2022-2023.
Collaborated with Miru Bahc, Donghoon Gang, Sophie Morrow, Dongyan Chen, Corinna Berndt, and Yoojin Lee.

+ The entire project was made possible with extensive support by AGO X RBC Artist-in-Residence 2022, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada. 

+ Digital performance video, 7th channel of the entire 7 channel-videos. HD. Colour. Sound. Ivetta Sunyoung Kang

Proposition 3: String Figure unfolds in three parts: revisiting their pasts of playing, learning and teaching string figures (cat's cradle) in childhood; reenacting them and documenting how the friends live with their own strings in the present moment; imagining how they would revive the ephemeral conversations with Ivetta (a total of 12 conversations that went on for average 2 hours.) by inventing string figures responding to the memories. Meanwhile, Ivetta murmurs in front of their digital screen as turning the ephemerality of the conversations that dissolve into the virtuality of the digital environments into something at least reciteable, tangible, revivable, and living matters that we might be able to keep visiting even if the actual moments fade out.

One friend would finish archiving their four days spent with their string and string figures, and the materials would be passed to the next friend. Every one of them was asked to index respective surroundings of when a photo of their string was taken. It’s become an exensive list of “indexical words” (that, Ivetta hopes, can function as a sprouting point for your imaginations and empathy to feel related to their storytelling and surroundings.)

Read their indexical words written below each photo: 

+ Combined video of 6 channel-videos. Friends’ re-enactments of the stream of evolving string figures. HD. Colour. Sound. 


And, for #4 in the instruction, they were asked to invent their own string figures by any means. Their inventions were creative respondence to intersectional keywords Ivetta had shared with them prior to their four days with string figures. The keywords swirled up from intersectional moments and sharing between the conversations Ivetta had with one friend and the next friend. Each friend received intersectional sentences (which became manuscripts for a text-based work, Dashes out of the Room), that were similar yet varied.



+3D generated installation plan view by ijo. Seven-multi-channel videos, 46 photographies documented by the friends with their strings. Dimensions variable.


String figures are considered the most ancient game in human history, and ways of playing them have hugely been spreading out all over the globe. It would not be too ambitious to say that everyone in the world once heard or knew about string figures (Cat's cradle). However, details of how to call each string figure and how to play them are differed region by region and generation by generation (as Camilla Gryski once told me, ivetta, that native peoples named string figures by what were important to their lives and survival). It is here represented as an agency that could unify all of us yet signify that our delicate stories can neither be generalized nor binarized by a few societal conventions of storytelling and story-reading.

Yet, Ivetta wonders if the digital screen where she remembered and commemorated the "afterlives (as Yoojin beautifully imagined)" of the conversations with her collaborators (7th-channel video of Proposition 3: String Figure) would remain as open space that still warms us as it has been over the pandemic for everyone.

Or if it would fall into another narrowing space for us to refrain from emancipating our stories.

Or will our digital memories still be able to survive as a communicative apparatus despite its intangibility?

Above all, can we bend the linearity of time and let each end meet one another so that time that only seems moving forward can circulate back and forth, forth and back freely without restraints? What would be any lubricants that enable this desire of mine?

-> go to Dashes out of the Room, created within Proposition 3

+ Bibilographies

Averkievalu P, and Mark A Sherman. Kwakiutl String Figures. Seattle, University Of Washington Press ; New York, 1992.
Bankey, Ruth. “The Agoraphobic Condition.” Cultural Geographies, vol. 11, no. 3, 2004, pp. 347–55. JSTOR, Accessed 18 Jul. 2022.
Capps, Lisa, and Elinor Ochs. Constructing Panic : The Discourse of Agoraphobia. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, [Ca, 2017.
Fournier, L., n.d. Autotheory as feminist practice in art, writing, and criticism. The MIT Press.
Frenkel, V., Schade, S., Derieg, A., Moseley, A. and Warde, N., 2013. Vera Frenkel. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz.
Gryski, Camilla, and Tom Sankey. Many Stars & More String Games. New York, Beech Tree Books, 1992.
Gryski, C. and Sankey, T., 1996. Super string games. New York, NY: Tupelo Books.
Haddon, K., 1911. Cat's cradle from many lands. London: Longmans.
Haraway, Donna. Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Durham (N.C.) ; London, Duke University Press, 2016.
Howe, S., Quaytman, R., Ewing, B., Miller, L., Groves, B., Tomlinson, M., Cohen, C. and Castleberry, M., n.d. Tom Tit Tot. MoMA Press.
Jayne, C., 1973. String figures and how to make them: Dover Pub.
Jenness, S., 2011. Stefansson, Dr. Anderson and the Canadian Arctic Expedition, 1913-1918. [Gatineau, Québec]: Canadian Museum of Civilization.
JENNINGS, C., 2015. Susan Howe’s Facsimile Aesthetic. Contemporary Literature, 56(4), pp.660-694.
John Klacsmann, Andrew Lampert, Jason Fulford, Harry Smith, John Cohen, Terry Winters. String Figures: The Collections of Harry Smith: Catalogue Raisonne, Volume II. J&L Books and Anthology Film Archives. 2015
Rasmussen, K. and Field, E., 1976. Eskimo songs and stories. Delacorte: Seymour Lawrence.
Tuer, D., Winzen, M. and Frenkel, V., 1993. Vera Frenkel: raincoats, suitcases, palms. North York, Ont.: Art Gallery of York University.

... and more that I’ve come across and been shared by other contributors.