Jinhan Ko is the sole member of Jin’s Banana House and a founding member of Instant Coffee; the former title describes my personal art practice, which deals with disappointment, and thus attempts to undermine one’s expectations. The latter is the name of a service-oriented artist collective, which was formed in 2000 and is based in Vancouver and Toronto –www.instantcoffee.org. Jin’s Banana House (JBH) provides cabaret style performances to unsuspecting audiences who are often unsure of its appropriate placement in particular contexts. For example; telling round about stories with no endings, presenting stale jokes, singing to a speed up child’s record player, and performing tricks that anyone could do. I would perform anywhere in theatres, bars and clubs, galleries, street festivals, house parties and family gatherings.
Entertainment and spectacle have always been a central concern for JBH and in particular the way they are used to bring people together. In many ways it seems obvious that the gathering of people is just as important as why they have gathered. Through JBH performances and video productions, I tried to tip the balance between entertainer and audience, placing the pinnacle of importance on the audience. This first developed by giving them very little (bad performances, really short videos), so that in the end they had to turn to themselves for entertainment. Eventually, I took this a step further by staging events, and asking anyone who wanted to participate to contribute an artwork under an open ended thematic. This practice lead to the development of Instant Coffee, which continues to provide the context for human interaction and in this manner uses the social as a medium or the art work.
Together with Instant Coffee, I developed a practice that culminates in bringing together large numbers of artists, designers, musicians and other cultural producers under loosely themed events. Since 2000 we have used existing spaces or have created complex architectural installations as venues for a series of organized events from formal lectures and screenings to informal gatherings and workshops.
by . The National Post, July 8, 2000.