The Echo Chamber of Noa Baak

Dear Daniel aka Noa Baak,

What a surprise to see a box arrive from New York with your name on it.  The book inside is a treasure and a most cherished gift.

It uncovers the life and the adventures of a poet who dares to explore Paris in face of all of its clichés.   You are a comrade artist in arms, a warrior poet in search for the beautiful gesture that could be residing in a gutter of a hidden alley or in front of the most iconic tourist locations.  We see through you, the world afresh.

I will never forget our first encounter in front of Georges Pompidou when we were just throwing ourselves onto the streets as we had no idea at the time how to produce a company.  Us, three Asian foreigners and a 19 year-old French student, were driven by a passion to just continue to work together.  Still in school, we were as passionate as we were naïve.  And if it weren’t for this primal necessity to create art and to live creating, proving our freedom, we would not have met.

Your photos are more than just memories.  They reveal a vital force that transcends survival and awakens us to be more aware of our surroundings.  You have succeeded in capturing the ineffable atmosphere through the vibrations of black and white.  And the extraordinary is born out of the ordinary.

I am sorry to hear that Noa Baak is no more.  On one hand, I understand very well.  Your work, being true poetry, rests non-economic, and on the outer marges of material value.  But please remember, that is exactly why it is so rich.  The work does not care about it’s relation to the currents of contemporary art, nor to an art critique’s point of view.  It is a very intimate and heartfelt experience of seeing through you, and beyond you.   And your search for the yonder is ever so present.  I thank you for this.  Because it is a truly honest work and thus, quite rare.

I write this blog in hopes of keeping aflame the poet within.  Your work gives me courage to continue.  And when I feel that queasy sensation that no one cares, I remind myself that the world does not need my art, but rather it is myself who need it.

I want to thank you for not selling out your art and maintaining the love that keeps this book so poetically singular.  I can imagine the sacrifice that it took to create such a work and how much you had to sell yourself in other ways.  The fact that you can maintain your dignity and compassion in the face of financial ruin is a very trying ethical test.  And the proof that you have made it this far, is already inspiring.

You are a person of multiple talents, and thus can dance in between the lines of order and chaos, between paying the bills and spending it all.  And while Noa Baak might be gone, there is still the wonderful Mice Grey who is guided by a good friend Daniel Seo.

You are a true friend,



Chengji Lee

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