Project Description

Young Joo Lee

Portrait of Young Joo Lee

FSC-Harvard Fellow 2020-21, 2021-22, 2022-23

Young Joo Lee is a multidisciplinary artist from South Korea, currently living in Cambridge and Los Angeles, USA. In her recent moving image works, Lee’s personal narratives as an immigrant, South Korean, and a woman interweave with the current and historical narratives to investigate the issues of alienation, discrimination, and mental illness in late capitalist society.

Lee’s works have been exhibited and screened at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art- Seoul, Seoul National University Museum of Art, the Drawing Center, Curitiba Biennial, GLAS animation festival, Tricky Women/Tricky Realities festival, Cairo Video Festival, and others. Lee was the Harvard College Fellow in Media Practice (2018-20), MacDowell Fellow (2021), Fulbright Scholar in Sculpture & Digital Media (2015-18), and a recipient of DAAD scholarship (2010-12). She is a Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies at Harvard University and an artist-in-residence at the Boston Center for the Arts. Lee holds an MFA in Sculpture at Yale University and an MFA in Film at the Academy of Fine Arts Städelschule Frankfurt.

Project Title: The women who returned from the land of the dead
The women who returned from the land of the dead is a short 2-D animation based on the Korean mythology, Baridegi (The Abandoned Princess Bari). The story is about the discrimination of a woman and her eventual survival and achievement in a patriarchal society. Baridegi’s story will interweave with the stories of the comfort women survivors to reveal the societal conditions in which these women were forced into sexual slavery in a colonized, patriarchal Korean society. Their survival and continued effort to bring justice to the historical crime against women are paralleled with the position of Baridegi, who became the goddess of the shamans.

FSC Works

Film Still from Spirit’s Chart

Spirit’s Chart

Young Joo Lee

Spirit’s Chart is a short, animated documentary film and an interactive web XR experience about the lives of the remaining survivors of the South Korean comfort women. The film investigates the complexities of the social, economic, and personal circumstances the survivors were in, before and after their captivity as comfort women through the lens of magical realism.


Young Joo Lee

The lives of a young woman and a young man are intertwined and forever changed by their work at a regenerative human limb corporation. This project is intended to be a synchronized three-screen short film installation. 

The setting of the film is in the near future when cell- regeneration technology is used to produce human body parts for sale. A corporation employs individuals to grow their limbs for living, similar to how a (axolotl) lizard regenerates its limb after an amputation. The film shows the parallel lives of two people working in two different production stages in the limb regeneration factory; the body part production unit and the body part disposal facility. 

The left screen tells the story of Shelby, a factory worker who regenerates her limbs to be later amputated and sold as a product. Such workers are called Lizardians.

The middle screen reveals the corporation/factory.

The right screen tells the story of Caleb, another factory worker who uses defective regenerated limbs to create fine art sculptures.

Their lives change as Shelby suffers from a phantom pain from regenerating her limbs, while Caleb becomes the corporation-sponsored artist. 

The three screens will be installed next to each other, immersing the viewers in the three different realities at the same time.