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  • An episode of the TV series West Wing centers on a young North Korean pianist who is to perform for the President at the White House.

    Quietly, he lets the President know that he wants to defect. But it turns out not to be possible.

    Toward the end of the episode, as the North Korean returns home, the President relays to CJ Craig, the White House Press Secretary, what he has learned from the musician about a Korean concept called ‘Han.’


    Han is a state of mind, of soul, really.
    It is a sadness so deep that no tears will come.
    And yet still there’s hope.



    The timing was extraordinary for me. We were watching this episode during a time when I was exploring the overwhelming magnitude and implications of photographer and artist Chris Jordan’s powerful work. His Running The Numbers collections are genius, hauntingly beautiful, disturbing and captivating. (Zoom in, zoom out, and read the captions.)


    Han.

    .

    .

    [Photo by Barbara, Theo Wirth Lake, Minneapolis, March 2016]
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