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I will participate from Mills6 / Hong Kong

31. 08. 2017 – 28. 01. 2018

ACC (Asia Culture Center)   /  ACC Creation Space 2,   Gwangju, South Korea

VISIT

Hours
Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 6pm Wednesday, Saturday 10am – 7pm Closed on Mondays

ADMISSION

ACC Creation Exhibition Package
General 7,000KRW
College Students (aged 19-24) 4,900KRW Teens (aged 13-18) 3,500KRW
Children (aged 6-12) 1,000KRW

 

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A Thousand Sceneries, A Thousand Lives

Seungki Cho Mite-Ugro

The Daein Market, where Mite-Ugro used to be located, is now surrounded with construction sites, and even though we stand on tiptoes, we cannot look inside because of large barricades around them. Daein-dong used to have a public bus terminal which was the center of a local business area, but the terminal was torn down for a department store while Gwangju became a metropolis, which made the shops in the area change themselves to survive. The department store has its own closed economy system “inside” the store, and it can satisfy almost all of consumers’ needs making it hard for the shops around it to be involved in the closed economy. Therefore, extensive redevelopment around Daein-dong has its reasons.

The first shops that disappeared were brothels around the terminal. Where had the women gone? The land has been redeveloped, but the lives on the land have not been redeveloped but abandoned or become trash (Wasted Lives: Modernity and its Outcasts, Zygmunt Bauman). Maybe “scaffoldings” for redevelopment and “barricades” that block our sights are the strategies to conceal the people inside who barely get by. While the so-called “terminal economy” became the redevelopment economy, the women’s lives did not get better but their hardships were thoroughly hidden or erased.

However, the women, who are treated unfairly by economy and gender, are not the only ones who go through this situation. Small scale businessmen, traders in the Daein Market, and people living in single-story houses who have trouble paying the rents cannot avoid the fate to wander from place to place by a gust of redevelopment. I wonder if “Jangan Dumplings and Kimbab” which does not seem to have customers and “Elise Shoes” which has a shabby sign could survive. I also wonder if I could see the old ladies who sell vegetables and fruit in front of “Marketplace Patjuk” again. This is because huge capital and development policies from outside Daein-dong sweep away flesh and spirit to unknown places.

It is no exaggeration to say that the reality is horror itself since this catastrophe inside this drastic “redevelopment-urbanization” counts as development and profits; the history and vestige of May 18th Uprising are not conserved properly and many people hardly get by without having time to record everyday lives in the city. The reality has made Kwak Jae-gu, a South Korean poet, call Daein-dong and its terminal economy “a tragic era when tragedy is not considered tragedy,” and his bold diagnosis is still effective regardless of a new economic structure. What is worse is that not only Gwangju and South Korea are going through this tragedy;

there are the same tragedies in cities across Asia. Therefore, it is hard to judge the future and prospect of “redevelopment-urbanization” in Asia, where homes and people are lost and cast out.

In other words, since the economy was completely reconstructed, migration has been accelerated, which makes it impossible to tell emigrants from refugees, and cities in Asia has become stages of numerous tragedies. It is widespread phenomena that Asian villages and people who developed their own communities are being driven away by companies which monopolize the area. In addition, colonization and violence of nation-states produced historic refugees, and deprivation of dwelling, independence, and autonomy through raising rents produced institutionalized refugees. Everything that refugees has is being threatened by various contemporary phenomena.

In this sense, a diagnosis that “the rationality of evil (Zygmunt Bauman)” has become a daily condition explains problems of Asian cities despite their complexities and differences. Asian Urbanization pushes people to the limit of losing their daily lives and their existence itself as well. In Asia, restructuring exploits people using its rational regulations; they try to keep themselves safe by considering friends as enemies and projecting emotions like groundless hatred and aversion, and they cannot reflect on or criticize the existing system since they are too busy to follow their supreme order: survival.

The circumstances of the occasion tell us that life and survival in Asian cities are “isolated” in general. Access among people seems to be fortified due to the development of technologies, but the feeling of being isolated is being increased because specific and physical contact is disappearing and the technologies encourage superficial relationships and “contact capital” in actuality. However, demographic movements accelerated inside Asian cities can ignite entirely different “encounters” and make conditions for different places and people to be in unity. It was an unavoidable order that alternative Arts Spaces in Asia and Asian artists contact one another urgently; we can provide ourselves with opportunities to foresee or imagine the future by seeing each other’s pain, suffering, and phenomena without becoming frustrated or lethargic facing gloomy prospect.

Asian Arts Spaces are trying hard to put their artistic inspirations into practice, and Asian artists do not stop their collaborations, which belong to their own, different worlds. Nevertheless, we should be aware that those actions must not be accomplished in isolation, but be shared through encounters in order to use them to make our lives fuller and let self-reliance be possible. Suppose Asian Arts Spaces and artists actualized their artistic inspirations on-site against negative elements that infected Asian cities. If problems and questions that have not been caused here yet have been studied and answered there, we can add answers from here and there and get opportunities to overcome current threats and crisis.

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