Bee Lee:

Bee Lee
Studio Art and Psychology major
My work questions and challenges singularity. I am interested in multiplicity and duality. I study seemingly simple ideas or objects with complex meanings. We live in a world that strives to simplify everything, however, in reality, every situation is layered and nothing is as superficial or literal as it may seem. In the same vein, all things-- big and small-- carry stories and meanings that are made unique by personal experiences that add value to them. Everyday objects offer insightful ways to understand how individual experiences-- such as memory or cultural differences-- can reach beyond uniformity and familiarity.
birch wood, canvas paper, brass keys
diamond-shaped pale wood key fobs with numbers laser cut into them

This project touches upon themes of anonymity and duality. Mundane objects — such as keys, letters, boxes, shoes, and many more — are often overlooked, but are heavily loaded with meaning. When we take familiar scenes and objects for granted, we fail to see the deeper meaning behind actions, and we run the risk of leading meaningless lives. In the same vein, during day-to-day social interactions people are seemingly simple. However, when anonymity becomes a choice — when people are allowed to open up or tell stories about themselves without any identifiable features — they are suddenly given the chance to be extremely vulnerable. 

On the surface, motels are seemingly simple and mundane places. They are often located in isolated areas and provide necessities for short or spontaneous stays. However, on a deeper level, motels offer a space for temporary relief and rest. For many, it is not a final destination — it is a midpoint, an incomplete journey, a temporary shelter, or a place of transit. Motel keys are universal objects that are easily recognizable across cultures. Motel keys in Seoul, South Korea look extremely similar — if not identical — to those in Los Angeles, California. They all mark the beginning of a guest’s stay and signify the start of a transitional phase. Each and every individual holding a key is at the motel for a different reason: some are escaping from home, others are running from someone, and still others are stopping by in the middle of a road trip. The guests do not know one another, their stories, or the reasons for the stay, but one thing is clear: the fact that they are all holding the key means there is indeed a reason for being there. Through this project, I question what peoples’ intimate stories mean when they have the power to hide or blur their identities. I wonder what kind of experiences people are willing to share when they are allowed to maintain anonymity and in what ways transitions or new beginnings manifest for different people.