Jennie Guy


Boys Before Flowers

Boys Before Flowers is a collaboration between artists Jennie Guy and Sven Anderson, named after the popular Korean drama show which provides the project’s core content. Broadcast in Korea in 2009, this show is a window into Korean (and Asian) pop culture, as well as a mirror reflecting more universal issues and themes.

Boys Before Flowers activates a translation process in which 25 participants (selected artists, academics, and writers) are invited to work with a set of pre-existing subtitles as an initial structure to generate more elaborate texts that would be fed back into the original television series as experimental sub(title)texts. Each participant will translate / reinterpret the subtitles of a single episode of the 25-episode series.

The output envisaged for the project is an exhibition in which an audience can watch the shows with both original and artist-translated subtitles in a comfortable setting, along with an accompanying publication and website.
Boys Before Flowers is focused on contemporary processes of cultural transition / transmission / translation, as well as with media-recycling (working with popular media culture as a readymade), international media distribution communities, and with an incidental parallel that we see emerging between the histories and contemporary situations of Ireland and Korea.

Simultaneously, the project amplifies a personal obsession with consuming media cultures originating from the ‘Other’, hinting at a process of West-East-West voyeurism in which perceptions of fashion, iconography, beauty, sexuality, wealth, and power are forced into an internationally distributed, post-colonial feedback loop.

The Korean broadcast of Boys Before Flowers was the third adaptation of the highly successful Japanese manga series Hana Yori Dango (produced in 2003); thus this project extends a process of repetition and translation that has already taken place in Japan, Taiwan, and Korea to a Western audience in Ireland.

This project is currently in an initial research phase.

Further Reading

Official website for Boys Before Flowers (KBS – Korean Broadcasting System)

Article about the Korean television series Boys Before Flowers (Wikipedia)

Article about the Japanese manga series Hana Yori Dango (Wikipedia)

Article about the spread of Korean media culture (Wikipedia)