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Blogger’s online persona as fresh as ‘kimchi salad’

‘At my worst point, for about six months, there was a time I wished that the world could be a Matrix, so that I could become a signal and embed myself in the Naver server.’

July 16,2007
Earlier this year, Korea’s top portal, Naver, selected 28-year old Yoon Myung-jin as its No.1 blogger. Yoon, who goes by the name Kimchi Salad, garnered the most votes from Naver users, who visit his popular blog, kimchisalad.net. Kimchi, as he likes to be called, is a self-employed professional blogger and online-offline artist. His works always incorporate untraditional materials and subjects.

Q. Why is your name Kimchi Salad?
A. A lot of people think of kimchi with salad dressing and tell me it’s gross, but it actually means freshly-made kimchi, like salad. I want my work to be fresh and new.

Does success on the Internet connect to your real life outside the Internet?
Now that I’ve published a book, a bridge is going up between my online and offline personas, but before, it was more difficult. Online, tens of thousands of people would visit my blog every day, and dozens would leave comments on my guestbook, to each of which I would reply individually.
However, in the real world, I was nothing, especially in the eyes of my parents. There was nothing to grasp no money or product of my efforts.

How is it different now?
Now that one book has been published, I’ve been getting a lot of media attention, especially from broadcasting companies. I know that my book isn’t something that is acknowledged among art circles, but it is still receiving attention. Once, EBS (Educational Broadcasting System) did a three-month documentary on me so there were always people with cameras in my house. It used to be just me alone in my room with the computer, but now there were other people in the room.

If you longed for human interaction, why didn’t you engage in interpersonal activities in the real world?
I’m not a very social person and find it difficult to build personal relationships in real life because it takes a lot of effort. I also think that it is easier online and that people are more understanding and accessible.

How did it feel to have your online celebrity status disconnected from your offline nobody status?
At my worst point, for about six months, there was a time I wished that the world could be a Matrix, so that I could become a signal and embed myself in the Naver server. Then I would no longer be flesh or blood but just a digital existence. When people leave messages in my guestbook, I could be a kind of emoticon and actually say hi to the people within the digital environment. It was a fantasy that I had. But if I can’t be a digital signal, I may as well recreate digital signals offline.

Are you referring to artwork?
Yes. Now that I reflect on some of my projects, I realize that I was trying to transfer digital images to the offline world. wohn@joongang.co.kr


By Wohn Dong-hee Staff Writer [wohn@joongang.co.kr]



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