Jeffrey Yoo Warren

Together Shovel

In 2023, I looked in the stereograph collections of the Library of Congress as part of my residency, and suddenly found a photograph that I recognized – of a group of Korean people shoveling together with a single shovel – at Together Shovel. It was a much clearer image than what I’d seen in the past! And dated to 1904, to the construction of a post office.

The left pane of a stereogram showing a group of white-clad people gathered on a riverbank, around a single shovel, holding ropes tied to it, with grasslands and wooden buildings being constructed in the distance.

A shovel with ropes tied to its blade, coiled on the grass, leaning against a large stone, A photo of a group of people dressed in white gather around a shovel, on a riverbank. Around the photo is a 3D scene extending the photo into a speculative virtual space with fields of grass, mountains, and a shallow river.

I had started researching what I’ve been calling the Together Shovel over a year ago, building a replica from a series of old photos I’d found, and learning to collectively shovel with others at @movementeducationoutdoors. Today I installed the reconstructed Together Shovel in the window of the Bburi Roots group show, along with two other pieces which offer a glimpse into ancestral moments through virtual reconstructions.

This new photograph included amazing moments like someone eating lunch in a partially completed hanok - offering a detailed glimpse into another deep interest of mine: traditional Korean joinery. And the delighted expression of the kid watching the shoveling is joyful to see.

The lead image again but as an animated gif switching between left and right sides of the stereograph, giving a 3D feeling.

This work is part of three different projects I’m part of - first, a RISCA Make Art grant for Ancestral Memory Enclaves, second, as part of the BBuri Roots collective book and show at the AS220 Aborn Gallery, and as part of my 2023 residency at the Library of Congress.

The stereogram can be found at:


Jeffrey Yoo Warren is an artist, community scientist, illustrator, and researcher in Providence, Rhode Island.