Korean-American composer, vocalist, and sound artist Bora Yoon creates immersive audiovisual soundscapes using digital devices, voice and found objects and instruments from a variety of cultures and historical centuries – evoking memory and association, to formulate a cinematic storytelling through sound design. A TED fellow, Yoon’s pioneering works have been presented by Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Nam June Paik Museum (Korea), Singapore Arts Festival, MADE Festival (Sweden), Festival of World Cultures (Poland), Park Avenue Armory, and Walker Art Center, among others.
My Definition Of Success | Success means living a satisfied life, in which one can pursue the art of creation, cultivating self-knowledge, community and enlightenment both inwards and outwards.
I Am Driven By | Transformation, purpose and progress, creating something that wasn’t there before. Defying people’s perceptions and ideas of what could or should be, and illuminating things anew in enlightening ways.
My Life And Career Highlights | Creating a role for the “Wind Up Bird Chronicle” and seeing an all-Asian production take the world stage, in a way that honored every one’s contribution instead of exotifying Asians, or perpetuating ridiculous stereotypes.
The Difference Between good And Great | Perseverance, practice, a just and balanced sense of community, good intuition and navigation skills.
A Key Characteristic That Has Led To My Success | My ability to twist and turn circumstances and conflicts in my head, to serve as agents of wind, and progress forward. Even setbacks, when you shift your perspective, can be seen as agents of change to keep you going, if you can learn to see it the right way, in a way that works FOR you, not against you.
Habits Of Success | Sticktoitveness, daily routine, moving meditation (biking, walking, driving), and frequent thinking horizontally and vertically, still and in motion — to continue to grow and move alongside an idea, instead of remaining static.
Principles I Live By | To be honest, aware, thoughtful of others, discerning energy and learning how to cultivate and create synergy, instead of interference.
Critical Skills I Use | Mediating communications, delegation, and interpersonal skills, knitting community of one’s disparate cultural and musical identity.
How I Use My Mind | I think of my mind as a house, as architecture. I have a “waiting room” and a “weighing room” for decisions. I have a “kitchen” where actionable sequences take place. I have a “dining room” and “living room” for presentation and entertaining, and the “study” and “library” for my intellect, the “bedroom” for sanctuary and sleep, and the cupola / balcony, for perspective, and overview. Now and again, I go down into the basement, to make sure things are running smoothly, and check in with the deep veins of things, to make sure things are not clogged, and thrumming along properly, as it is of course, the foundation of the house.
Lessons I’ve Learnt | All of Life is a transformational process. All of its challenges, its struggles, its gifts and it’s boons. Every relationship, event, and environment shapes who we are, and we must allow ourselves to be formed by these processes.
Advice On Achievement | Achievement means nothing if there is no one to share it with in the end. Achievement must be larger than yourself, and one must get there WITH others, in order for it to truly matter to the world, and find universal resonance.
Dealing With Doubt | I deal with self-doubt, fear, and negativity through prayer, meditation, and movement — moving meditation often times on my bicycle. I tell myself to always “K.I.M” ‘Keep It Moving” — that even if one walks in a circle — it is in the movement, one finds answers. It is the traversing, and act of participating in life, that brings the agents of change necessary to get out of a negative mindset, shift your perspective, allow you to build the momentum needed to graduate from a cycle, a quandry, or a tailspin.
To Perform At Your Peak | Treat yourself like an Olympian athlete, and get good sleep, take good care of yourself, check in with your coach (even if it’s your greater self), motivating yourself, setting goals, keep things positive, moving, and nimble.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | Power of Now by Eckhardt Tolle and The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield,
My Future Dreams | My life goals include: creating sound spas, spas which feature the healing properties of music and sound — as well as sound gardens. In addition, I’d like to create a musical architectural structure / instrument called ‘The Music Box’ in which all components of the structure are musical, and can be an installation for the public to prove that music is present in our daily actions, mundane gestures, and every moment of our lives — as well as a performance venue for interdisciplinary artists and organizations.
I Would Love To | Travel to Korea and conduct a side by side research study comparing the sound of Korean traditional music ‘pansori’ performed in South Korea today, next to ‘pansori’ performed in North Korea today — to see, hear, and illuminate what 60 years of cultural and aesthetic brainwashing has done to people, and the form. To see how music of the same origin and root, can be affected, which illuminates how music is a medium in which our aesthetic, values, and views are held, and represented, in an artistic, but palpable form.
The Meaning Of Life | Transformation. Circulation. Progress of humanity. Finding the threads that connect our individuality to the universal.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | It’s not about what degree / asset / achievement you get. It’s about HOW you use it, that matters.
It don’t matter what song you sing — so long as you sing the song that’s in the room. — Helga Davis
K.I.M. “Keep It Moving” — Ronnell Bey
Advice On Building Wealth | Money is merely a tool. It is not an end goal. Money is a tool which helps you change the world. Which leads you to the LARGER and MORE IMPORTANT question: “how would you like to change the world, for the betterment of humanity?” the interesting thing about power, and money, is that it is a paradox. if you are lucky enough to achieve a position of power — you realize upon taking that leadership role, that you are actually now a civil servant to the people. It is now your civic duty to provide that opportunity to others who do not have it. Money and power is not to be held on to. One must circulate it otherwise it will rot you. It is not meant to be held. It is meant to be used, and circulated, meaningfully. It is a power to be used wisely, and responsibly.
My Inspirations And Role Models Include | Laurie Anderson, Bjork, DJ Krush, Ann Hamilton, Kristy Edmunds, Sekou Sundiata, Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Bishop, Haruki Murakami, and my mother, who has taught me everything I know, and that I can do anything I put my mind and spirit to.
I Would Like To Leave The Legacy Of | Inspiration, critical thinking, equality, originality and authenticity, changing the norm perception of Asian women, from subservience, and conformity, to one of power, strength, and timeless wisdom. I’d like to leave a legacy of gender equality and the judiciousness of power. A legacy of transformation.