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I had a series of strange dreams several months back.

In the dream that I had,
there was a saying that appeared in my head,
almost as if it was already a well-known fact.

It felt like a memory that I had of something I heard long ago,
but I couldn’t place when and where I had heard this.

It was that the face you have can go back to 7 generations -
and I made a statement half-jokingly to someone,

“Then who gave me my face from 7 generations ago?” 

It’s interesting that the dream had introduced that statement as a fact.
Because in a way I do believe in it.

Much like how trauma and
the memories of people back
in your family bloodline can travel down generations.
There was actually a book that I had found
in my grandparent’s house,
which was part of a series of books
on the top shelf of the bookcase.

I discovered that it was actually my family’s Jokbo,
which is a Korean genealogy book
that traced back to the first person
carrying the last name on my father’s side.

Much like how the dream stated
that I inherited someone’s face from my family 7 generations back,
here was a book that had the names
of my ancestors printed out on the page.

Each name appeared row by row,
with the most recent descendant found towards the end of the book.

You can imagine how many pages there are.
It’s like a perfect formation of a tree with roots,
with each name
branching into
the next.

You’ll find small accounts of what that person
had done in their life in small text by their names.
But it doesn’t completely capture my family
as it comes from a male-dominant narrative.

Men traditionally carry their last names and pass onto their children,
which is shown throughout the book.


Lina Chang’s ‘When a trace becomes a line’ is the first project within Kleió’s residency programme. To send an artist residency application, please email us at