You are invited to: Cities of Korea

You are invited to the cities of Korea!

It has been 10 years since I first started a traveling project with artists under the name “Road Show” in 2011. In the meantime, I drove down National Route 7 from Naeseong Stream, a branch of the Nakdong River, to Eulsuk Island (2011), passed Jeju Island (2012) and Baengnyeong Island (2013), went from Pohang to Goseong, where it is possible to see North Korea in person, and went to Namdo from Pohang to Yeosu. While focusing on traveling around the Korean Peninsula, I also visited northeastern India, Rwanda, Bhutan, and Malaysia where met artists and curators. I rediscovered society and history from this experience. In 2019, I visited 8 cities in China where the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea had been located to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its establishment. “Roadshow” had been scheduled to continue in 2020 to further understand history properly; however, all plans were suspended due to the onset of COVID-19. I thought I could travel whenever I wanted, but it’s been almost two years since it is not able to.

At the point where “Roadshow” stopped, I received an exciting invitation “You are invited to: Cities of Korea”. Though it is hard to go on a trip right now, I would like to share the new aspects of the city, traces of its history, and the scenery of the city I saw while traveling with artists through work. One journey began in Jeju with Minjung Kim through The Red Filter is Withdrawn, which tells the sad story of the incident in Jeju on April 3rd which is hidden behind beautiful nature. Passing through Byounglae Park Zeboriskie Point which tracks modern Korean history, centering on the small dock of Gunsan, “Zabo-Sun-Chang”, through Daejeon Station concerning the memories of Hagimoto Michiyuki who lived in a railroad employee residence in Daejeon during Japan’s occupation of Korea. This leads to Jeamin Cha’s Fog and Smoke. While other works mentioned earlier describe stories of cities related to Korean history, Fog and Smoke is close to illustrating the present stories. The video depicts an abandoned construction site in the Songdo International Business District in Incheon, which had been halted due to the global financial crisis and an economic recession in the real estate industry. This story follows the last fisherman of the new city and a tap dancer and tells the story of the other side of development. If the journey so far has been a little heavy or difficult, I recommend Suwan Park & Sunggun Jang’s Cityscope/Microscape. This collaborative work by Suwan Park, who has mainly worked on the distortion of architectural patterns through photography and video work, and Sunggun Jang, who was the bass player of the Bamseom Pirates, makes you feel like traveling through the landscape of urban buildings.

Nathalie Boseul Shin (Chief Curator of Total Museum)