Published on April 7th, 2014 | by Chris Campbell


You Don’t Have To Look A Certain Way To Be In Love

“I wanted to humanize everyday objects that we do not think much of and leave them on the streets. When people lose their favorite lip balm, it really annoys them but it does not ruin their life. If you change the perspective, falling out of someone’s pocket and being left useless on the street is life-changing,” Yoonjin ‘Zoonzin’ Lee told Atlantic Cities regarding her Little Lost Project.

lighter_window_wsAll images are by Zoonzin unless noted otherwise.

CC: The ‘Little Lost Project’ chronicles the emotions of inanimate objects. Your intrigue with this idea began in childhood. Your mother told you the dryer ate socks. Upon hearing this you raced toward the hamper, saving socks from that awful fate. Can you tell us more about your childhood? In what ways did your imagination sprout?

AZL: I liked to draw and make Christmas cards. I liked to sing, choreograph, and make my friends dance with me. I loved to play ‘library’ with my friends; we made library cards, books, and then forced other friends to come over and check them out. I also liked to imitate those read-along tapes where you listen to a cassette tape of someone reading a picture book and singing some songs in between. My friend and I recorded tons of tapes with our terrible voice acting and strange songs.

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CC: Now that we’ve heard about the zany, wonderfully unique playground of your kid-brain, what kind of old person do you think you’ll be?

YZL: I think I would be a silly old grandma who likes funny looking stuffed animals and tells difficult jokes to young folks to annoy them.

CC: Your ‘ABC’s in the Trash Cans’ project…the goal was to create a cohesive alphabetical set out of your everyday surroundings. You found the ABCs in waste receptacles. Any good stories from your trashcan scouting? Were you tempted to cheat, and place your own Q or Z-shaped trash on top? Oh, and the ending to the video was perfect!

YZL: At first, I just had photos of these letters I’d found in trashcans. Some of it was very hard to recognize, and maybe even a little forced, so my professor and classmates told me I needed to figure out a better way to do this.

Then, I thought it would be great to make an alphabet video. That way, it would solve the readability problem and also add another layer to this idea. Now the focus is not to see how I found perfectly shaped letters in my hundreds of trashcan photos, but the story of how this set of letters, and all the work I put in to find them, are in the end just trash.


CC: Can you talk about your sense of humor? What cracks you up?

YZL: The different ways of how dogs walk down the streets of NYC crack me up. All dogs have different attitudes and I can almost hear them sing their own theme song as they walk with their owners.

Image by Ron Kane.

CC: What do you most fear?

YZL: I fear that people will hate me or my work. Being judged by someone is a scary thought, but we do it all the time so it’s something I am working to live with.

CC: You adopted your moniker, Zoonzin, a decade ago. It was a cold winter afternoon some time in the year 2000. You were walking through the woods with your two best friends carrying sticks while all the other second graders were at the playground. You were in the bushes behind the soccer field where nobody could see acting as if you were cavemen. Your trio created a language, and you decided to create names for everyone. Presto! Zoonzin! You seem to have maintained a marvelous zest into adulthood. How did you preserve your sense of fun? And what advice can you give my readers to stoke their own playfulness?

YZL: I’ve always been a nostalgic person. Reminiscing different times in my life helped me to remember very specific moments and never forget how great it was to be 8 years old or 2 months younger than I am now. I try to relive those moments simply by listening to the music I listened to back then, watch cartoons, or drink a cup of hot chocolate instead of coffee. It’s okay to miss the past and cherish those moments – just don’t forget that the current moment will soon also become a past and a memory to cherish in the future.

Image by Katey Rissi/The Society of National Industry.

CC: What is the evil version of you like?

YZL: The evil me is when I don’t talk and have a straight face. People say I look very scary when I have a straight face and they hesitate to ask me what’s wrong. Yikes.

CC: Can you tell us about a project you’re currently working on? And perhaps one that is just starting to faintly take shape in your mind?

YZL: I am creating a music video for a song that I like. The brief was to be entertaining and smart about it because it is only a three-week project. One of my ideas was to create a sweet, simple, hand-drawn music video for Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘Let’s Do It’. I wanted to show that even if you are labeled as a certain ethnicity, girl, boy, rich, or an oyster, you don’t have to look a certain way to be in love.

Image by Argyle Plaids.


CC: What do you envision the world will be like in 2060?

YZL: I think people will be hard as steel and stiff like robots because of too much plastic surgery done on top of the old plastic surgery on top of older plastic surgery.

CC: And lastly, to steal one from the great James Lipton…if heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

YZL: “Ayyy!”

You Don’t Have To Look A Certain Way To Be In Love

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About the Author

I live on an island floating in the Puget Sound, a stone's throw from downtown Seattle. I am keenly interested in nature, mysticism, the cosmos, futurism, existentialism, nihilism, kitsch, satire, and miscellaneous whimsy.

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