Game of Throwing Self Against the Wall

100 Quentin Roosevelt Blvd. Suite 205
Garden City, New York 11530


February 16, 2016

To Whom It May Concern,

This letter concerns three requests for Presbyterian EMS.

  1. Request for an apology from the institution for a violation of the patient’s rights by EMS squad’s failure to operate on an informed consent.
  2. Request for a copy of detailed explanation of the first bill of $1,315.56 and its reduction to $723.56.
  3. Request for an exemption from all the bills accrued from the EMS service on the day of November 14, 2014 due to the failure to operate on an informed consent.

As an act of resistance and expression to claim ownership over myself from the domination of economic monopoly, I was throwing my body against a wall in a privately-owned-public-space of JP Morgan Chase. It was an attempt to examine the boundaries of the ownership over my own body and cultural identity in a public space.

Growing up in South Korea, a land divided by US military, I have witnessed malformed economic growth accompanied by the high income inequality, exploited labors, material fetishism, whitewashed media, and unhealthy social and educational competition. Yet worse, the road to unification seemingly constricts.

The financial crisis of 2007-2008 appeared to be a good example of general failings in the current system. At the basis of the globalizing world, emphasis in the value of finance seems to influence imbalance in politics, media, environment, education, public health, and more. And as much as I try at being removed emotionally, my bitter sentiment not limited to but largely toward the colonial history and free-market system rewarding Western few more than others grows bigger.

I couldn’t think of a more appropriate place other than Wall Street to carry out my examination, as I saw it to be the central symbol for our globalizing dominant culture: mesmerizing view of sky-rocketing spectacular buildings huddled together in pretense of glamour. As an oxymoron, I saw the privately-owned-public-space of a financial giant as the most appropriate stage for a performance of resistance. The simple and fulfilling action I found was to record myself tackling a formidable wall of Wall Street wearing a vandalized suit, which originated from Britain.

In regard to possible medical condition, I come to question the clarity of ‘hurting oneself in public.’ As I understood, I remained in a privately-owned-public-space during the performance. I was exercising my right to free expression in a public space, all the while remaining within a private space. Furthermore, I did not need any mental or emotional assistance, which I made clear to the EMS agent by refusing to receive any treatment by saying “I’m OK”. The agent ignored my refusal nor made any attempt to operate on an informed consent. The agent simply repeated “step onto the vehicle please.” Repeated twice without a proper response to my refusal, the agent’s words came off as a demand, especially when escorted by NYPD. Afraid of possible arrest, I asked, “will I be charged for this?” The agent bluntly misinformed me by saying, “no.” When I tried to explain that my actions were an art performance and the motivation behind it, the agent ridiculed me, inducing me to compromise that I was ‘hurting myself’ by repeating words such as ‘depressed’ and ‘hurting yourself.’ Looking back later on my video recording, this procedure reminded me of tactics used in police investigation, using pressure to get suspects to admit a crime they may have not committed as seen on movies.

The incident further confirmed the absurd world we live in. It is an absurd world where resisting conformity is highly punishable by shame, 8 hours of forced mental treatment, and an original sum of $4696.63 of hospital bills, which doesn’t explain the detailed expenses. An absurd world to pursue education for over-production. An absurd world of democracy for the Western few.

But the absurdity of the world makes me question if there has ever been a point in history of existence when things weren’t absurd. To borrow Albert Camus’s thoughts, it is an absurd world to be born into just so one can live to die. It is an unreasonable world. What’s even more absurd is how these absurdities touch me emotionally when in the end nothing may even matter. I’m left in doubt as to the possibility of ever breaking away from these absurdities, but I felt the need to at least examine the boundaries in my personal account to make something of the world. It would be even sadder and more upsetting to not even be able to exercise one’s will. And yet I return to find that the perimeter to exercise my will is not as broad as I thought after being left with a sum of $753.56 bill reduced from $4696.63 on top of approximate $60,000 student debt with a minimum wage job without any benefit, all for trying to better understand the world we are born into.

I would genuinely like to ask for the institution to exempt all the bills charged by Presbyterian EMS, not only because I financially cannot afford this bill, but also because I believe this bill is a violation of promised rights.


John Lee