Beginning the Roadshow:South Korea

These research notes focus on the realm of visual culture and collective narrative regarding controversial spaces and events in South Korea in the summer of 2011.There are many information and opinion that exist in the field of civic engineering and also that of politics that provide differing perspective on the issues such as Four Major Rivers project and also on labor organization and economics to understand labor movement in Hanjin Steel.  As an artist and a visual thinker we focused on the visual culture (of changing urban and rural landscape, aesthetics of state propaganda and resistance, advertisements, mass media, popular culture and art) and Narratives (of different communities, state and corporations, citizens and foreigners and etc) It is in the interrelationship between two realm that we found most fascinating discovery. The language of technology and that of theory has been used extensively in journalism and often misused for political purpose. Also the narratives of resistance in the citizen movement and activists have exhausted the codes for participation and sympathy. Decoding politics from such visual culture and collective narrative was a difficult task that is still unresolved, and was consistently problematic during the journey and throughout making of this documentation archive. It is my goal to make the conflict more visible because it is the productive disagreement that foreshadowed a blue print for potential work in the future. The politics of translation played a large role in understanding and contextualizing the space and events in South Korea. This project was an international exchange between artists, curators and researchers. The task of translation and interpretation was never more impudent every second of the journey. ‘The task of the translator consists in finding that intended effect upon the language into which he is translating which produces in it the echo of the original. This is a feature of translation which basically differentiates it from the poet’s work, because the effort of the latter is never directed at the language as such, at its totality, but solely and immediately at specific linguistic contextual aspects. ‘ (Benjamin, Walter. Task of the translator) Decoding visual culture and collective narrative entailed decoding the specific linguistic context and translating it to the language of visual culture and narrative, a process that demands much patience and interest from the listener. At some point, the task of translation became evidently an impossible task and the participant’s will to use the language of visual culture and collective narrative as a strategy of contemporary art and a tool of investigation began in a slow and yet powerful way.

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