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TUESDAY NOVEMBER 24, 2009
Expat Living is a section dedicated to the daily
living of expatriates. It is printed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. To share stories about your life abroad, send stories or story ideas to Matthew Lamers at
Art, life in Wonju
Art community buds for Koreans, expats
Submissions may be edited for length or clarity.
Deadline nears to register for next town hall meeting
By Shannon Heit
The registration deadline for this year’s Seoul Town Meeting is approaching. The annual meeting will be held on Friday, Dec. 11, but the deadline for signing up is Nov. 27. Originally planned for Nov. 11, the meeting was postponed until December to provide maximum opportunity for nonKoreans and public officials to participate. The Seoul Town meetings, which started in 2000, give expats living in Seoul an opportunity to voice their opinions and questions about topics regarding life in Seoul directly to city officials. The forums began as a way for government officials to hear from international residents about concerns on various topics, including education, healthcare, visa legislation, etc. and it has been reflected in the creation of municipal policies and initiative to support international residents. This year’s Seoul Town Meeting topics will focus on the current housing situation and leisure facilities. In the past, Seoul Town meetings have drawn upward of 150 participants. International residents who have participated in the past stated that the event gave them a chance to be “active and productive members of the Seoul community.” The mayor of Seoul, Oh SeHoon, and other senior officials from the respective government branches will be in attendance. Mayor Oh will give the welcoming remarks and and Mr. Alan Timblick, Director of the Seoul
Global Center, will give a Town Meeting progress report to brief participants on the current status of projects that have stemmed from past meetings. Presentations on housing and leisure will be given by both a specialist in the field and a foreign representative. A Q&A session will follow each presentation. In addition, an update on current Seoul policies and a free discussion for inquiries about issues other than the main topics are included in the agenda. The official program will finish at 12 p.m. but will be followed by an optional Seoul Cultural Experience program, which is free to all participants. The Seoul Cultural Experience program will include Hansik dining in Insadong, tours of Gyeongbokgung and the National Folk Museum, and a free matinee viewing of “Jump,” a popular non-verbal martial arts comedy show. For those who plan to participate in the Seoul Cultural Experience portion of the program, all activities will conclude by 5:30 p.m. Foreign residents who are interested in participating in this year’s Seoul Town Meeting should register by filling out an application form. To receive an application form, please e-mail Jang Youhwa at yhjang@sba. seoul.kr or call (02) 2075-4116. The program will be held at Seoul City Hall Seosomun Annex, which is accessible by City Hall Station (Line 1, Exit 1 or Line 2, exit 11 or 12). (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Acozza contact info
Website: www.acozza.co.kr Telephone: (033) 766 8992 E-mail: email@example.com
Works from three artists on display at Acozza, a gallery-cafe in Wonju.
Photo by Caroline Barsellotti
By Darren Bean
WONJU, Gangwon Province — Su Jeoung sits across from me, arms resting on the table, beret nicely in place, and smiles calmly. “My life is with pizza, coffee, and art,” she says. An interesting comparison, to say the least. Su said she has received a lot of inspiration from travelling. “I had many good experiences traveling. There is one purpose — to see art, to enjoy art — the United States, Paris, Norway, Italy, Germany — those created good feelings for my future business.” Su lives in Korea’s least populated province — Gangwondo. Despite, or perhaps because of that, she’s a member of FIAC, the Parisian creative consortium, and regularly attends their events. Art is a cornerstone, but not her entire existence. To my surprise, it’s the third thing she mentions. She was a franchisee for 10 years with a large pizza company, but she found the terms unfair. Well-traveled and successful, she followed the wellworn path of creating her own business, but gave it a twist of gourmet and fringe. “My dream was to be a businesswoman and an artist,” she says. Other things can be more easily numbered: Her gallerycafe, Acozza, opened in January this year. Since then, eight exhibitions featuring about 30 artists have passed through. The artists are mostly Korean and female, but expats and men are not excluded. More than one creator has had their work grace walls in Paris, London or Chicago, but others have only a show or two to
Su Jeoung, owner of Acozza Suq H. Won’s “Salome,” (2005) Interior of Acozza with art from Kim Ji-young in the background
Photo by Caroline Barsellotti
their name. To our left is the work of Kim Ji-young. From this distance, 15 meters, the cute girly faces and bright colors belong to cartoons, and the bandage on the eye makes one think, “poor thing.” It’s only after a few steps back that one notices the earring is a chain tethered to another character and the title reads “Domestic Violence.” Other pieces, in similar style, draw inspiration from Nayoung and the many similar stories that aren’t quite as gruesome or public. Acozza’s M.O., however, isn’t gloom-and-doom, it’s balance; turning back to the wall behind Su, there are colorful and gentle pastels into which it would be difficult for even the most macabre mind to inject subliminal sorrow. A month prior, computer monitors or screens were placed where paper sits now. “Mix and Media,” the first exhibition of its kind in Wonju, featured audio, visual, and still art side-by-side. One false doc-
umentary detailed the international clashes that occurred after a bridge was built connecting Europe and Africa, a MacBook contained electronic symphonies, and the heavily saturated, subtly sardonic, work of art coordinator and barista Hanna draped the opposite wall. My clearest memory of that exhibit, however, was sitting at another table with two friends, enjoying the balsamic reduction sauce on the Pizza alla Ortolana with a Chilean red, and watching Barbie get a feel on the back wall. Another doll carried her up a volcanic hillside and their plastic lips touched. A molded hand slowly slid downward. I tried to make the craning of my neck less than overt but failed; I’d chosen the wrong side of the table at which to sit. “It’s my take on the little mermaid,” explained Suq H. Won, “A girl gives up something of herself and discovers sexual pleasure. But it’s not so much about the story as the
framing and editing.” In a way, it’s hardly about anything but coincidence; consider how welcome comments on female sexuality are in Confucian societies. Had the artist scheduled to fill that space come through, this piece wouldn’t have been shown. The work that was scheduled to (and did) feature included a brief video in which she both lovingly and savagely mined fruit from a fresh pineapple. The exhibition brochure made references to John the Baptist, but she was willing to further explain in a more universal language: She had found a small pineapple on the edge of a farm while staying in Hawaii. It was too small to eat — “probably leftover from someone stealing something” — but she took it home and hydroponically “planted” it in a jar of water. A month later, she couldn’t take it back to Korea, but she couldn’t leave it either. Consumption was her conclusion. Maternal and murderous
instinct conflicted, and one, the tastier, if less nurturing, won out. Or it’s “cannibalism as an act of loving,” as her brochure explains. She harbors as much affection for her hometown as she did about the fruit. “Wonju is 10 or 20 years behind. If it becomes a media art center, it’ll be after I die. I’m only hoping to lay the base, the background.” Her attitude is pragmatic. However, there is a second column of thought to consider when accounting for the growth of an art industry: The business-creative model has been proven successful by others. T.S. Eliot was a banker and publisher in his later years, and Charles Ives sold insurance when he wasn’t composing or lying naked on his piano. Of their ilk, but not lying naked on a pizza, Su sits waiting to trade several pieces of real property to fund a further vision, instead of a golden parachute. By summer 2010, Acozza Gallery, a second space, will have opened. Su’s excitement is clear; artists have already agreed to exhibit, and the contemporary metal shell of the building-to-be has already been erected. There’s a new 10-page exhibition program under my arm, as there usually is when I leave. The question of how many sisters it first meets in my desk drawer, as well as the question of whether this seed will germinate in our lifetimes, has yet to be answered. “Changing thought, changing future,” reads Acozza’s slogan. Thought clearly has already changed; the issue that remains is how soon the future will follow suit. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In focus: shapes and lines
The Photo Challenge is sponsored by Hyosung Camera (English: 010-7203-9599) and Babo Shirts (www.baboshirts. com). Winners of the weekly competition receive a 50,000 won store credit at Hyosung Camera and a Babo Shirt. To take part in the competition, simply upload your photo at www.flickr.com/groups/seoulp hotoclub — Ed.
By Aaron Raisey
Last week we talked about photography without the camera — when we are out and about, camera at home, we can still keep a practiced eye by looking for and taking note of those things that contribute towards a good image such as shapes, color and light. This
week we will bring into focus those shapes and lines we touched upon last time. Shapes and lines are everywhere of course, but it is how we bring them together in an image that can make the difference. The triangle is a particularly strong shape and though I mentioned the obvious example last week of readily available triangles such as those in a construction crane, probably more powerful visually are triangles that you construct via composition. A simple example would be the triangle that perspective creates when looking up at a tall build-
ing, or less obvious, in a portrait of three people each head will provide the point on an implied triangle. Squares and rectangles tend to be a little more obvious, especially in an urban setting, but perhaps a bit more difficult to employ effectively. One way these regular shapes can be used in a photograph is to divide the image into parts or to isolate a subject using framing. Taking a portrait? Position the subject front and center of a rectangle such as a traditional Korean door or under an archway — put them in a frame within the picture frame itself. Something to keep in mind here is perspective distortion. Angling the camera up, down or to either side will distort your regular shape. Dramatic distor-
tion could be intentional, but slight distortion often looks like careless photography and might need straightening in post-processing. Shapes are of course constructed of lines, and the line by itself — be it horizontal, vertical, diagonal or a curve — can be effectively used to create interest in a photograph. Lines parallel to the edge of the frame are strong and help stabilize or reinforce an image. The horizon in a landscape, or palace columns in a vertically oriented photograph, for example. Diagonals add a more dynamic feel. An impression of traffic flow will be enhanced in a shot of a busy street if it cuts diagonally across the frame. Curves are harder to find and use effectively, but like the diagonal can
impart dynamism to your picture. Classic curves in Korea are the rooflines in traditional architecture, or the country roads you can see from the bus as you travel along highways between major cities. As with shapes, lines can be implied by judicious arrangement of elements within the frame and help draw attention by leading the eye to your subject. However, don’t just shoot lines and shapes for their own sake — try to employ these things in ways that will add interest or enhance the vision you have for a scene or subject. Head over to the Seoul Photo Club on Flickr, post a few pics, ask a few questions and get some useful feedback on the images you are putting together. (email@example.com)
PHOTO CHALLENGE — weekly winner — Last weekend a cosplayer dresses as Ulquiorra Cifer from the Bleach anime series.
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