Sunday with the Arts 2

A weekly show of events, interviews, exploration, and discussion.

Reviews of events
This past week had Jungin, a musical at USquare, a Korean animation night at Kunsthalle, and a lecture on Roman art at GIC. Ongoing exhibits include: Keith Haring at GAM. Did you go? Let us know what your experience was.

Independent Art Exploration in Gwangju
Things to do in Gwangju this week.

The road just in back of GIC has three great places to check out some art. No this is not Art Street, but a little gil running parallel to it. The coffee shop Golden Rabbits is connected to Gallery D, and down the road (heading towards the temple) is Zoo Gallery and across from it Gwangju City Art Museum (Not GAM in Yongbongdong) Geumnamro Branch. Gallery D and Golden Rabbits are a great place to inspire and unwind. Zoo Gallery is a urban wasteland in the basement – a great backdrop and juxtaposition for exhibits and a simple space on the ground floor that is always tweaked to peak interest. On the second floor of the building across from Zoo, the GAM Geumnamro Hall offers a wonderful exhibit of identity painting using Buddhist imagery and archetypes by Lim NamJin is titled ‘boring day’, but the imagery is anything but boring. Check out these galleries as well as a host of traditional Korean restaurants (boribap or ginseng chicken soup plus more) and more coffee shops (Brown’s Cabin, drip coffee, and a new drip house down by the Kenya).

Social Discourse
이거 차요. It’s cold. Cold weather. It’s only just begun. People are eating healthy, and exercising, not just because of new year’s resolutions but also to ward off illness. Kimchi, of course, is a cure all, but ondol heating and jimjilbangs are as well. Blasting heat, whether from a portable kerosene stove, an oscillating electrical heater, or heated rugs and blankets add to the central heating and ondol heating. This winter has been the coldest winter I’ve experienced – inside. I’m surprised at how economical businesses are being with their heating practices and how little complaining their customers are making about the cold.

Things that hit us in the solar plexus and how to dissipate the disquiet they evoked.

I ask one friend about someone whom I’ve heard is an obscure Korean author, and they’ve heard of them and can tell me knew details. How is this possible? I think it is because of the common Korean cell. I owe this coining to Phil Owen and Adam Lee from when I was at Kunsan. How do people know my business without my telling them? Why do Koreans think I know all foreigners and what is going on in their lives? Koreans have a high context culture and transfer that expectation of high context to foreigners that they meet.

”Do you know Steve from California?” is not just a linguistic shortcoming, but also a cultural transfer of context by Koreans to nonKoreans. I’m from America, so of course I must know Steve. It is not a social exchange rite, as Kurt Vonnegut labeled it grandfalloon, where you try to find something in common to bond you together.  

A lot of meaning is conveyed with very few words in Korea. This puts foreigners at a distinct disadvantage in communication. A lot is lost in translation. With a few words, information about age, class, status, uniqueness, and judgmenta are shared from Korean to Korean.  People assume that the grapevine of information has reached me about meetings, gatherings, and goings-on, when they haven’t.

Korea is like one big open office. Everybody can hear each others’ business and it is fair game to share without embarrassment. Gossip happens, but is truncated somewhat because you can be easily outed if spreading malicious rumors. This responsibility which is linked to your words is a heavy social policeman to curb gossip and ill will. I think that because of this closely linked context to responsibility for your words, is why anonymous commenting is so popular in Korea. What do you think?


We would like to turn this post into a podcast with links. Would you like to get involved?
We are looking for links to reviews of the previous week’s events, live interviews with artists, organizers and participants, links for art things to do in Gwangju for the next week, as well as reflective questions and problems that we can invite the community to discuss online.


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