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Art Contracts & Artist's Rights

We constantly, in this part of the world, complain that there is no [art]market. I think that's good because when it comes it won't be exactly what we have imagined.
Dan & Lia Perjovschi

Art Contracts & Artist's Rights - Discussion

As a photographer speaking in terms of photography - these days, it is kind of funny having this conversation because ...


Gentrification & Public Art

By the very structure of [museums] existence, it is a political institution. (…) The question of private or public funding of the institution does not affect this axiom. (…) In principle, the decisions of museum oficials, ideologically highly determined or receptive to the deviations of the norm, follow the boundaries set by their employers. These boundaries need not to be expressly stated in order to be operative.

Park Chaneung Interview

But I don't want Seoksu to be a popular place. I don't want Seoksu to be gentrified. I want it to develop slowly, step by step, and mix the past and the future. I don't invite artists to make it more expensive. My dream is to convert the central space of the market into a place where the citizens can come and enjoy arts, and to make a harmonious relationship between citizens and artists. I thought that, if the government gives me the chance, I could make my dream come true.

Woon-Gi Min Interview

I think artists' activities should be aimed toward these matters, like the New Town Plan, which are threatening people and their lives. But art is now mostly used to advertise the city's policy more than solving citizens' real problems.

Invitation to the discussion

We would like to ask the speakers we have invited to the forum to talk about the their involvement in Korean alternative spaces and their position towards those who finance them, as well as towards the community they work with and within. Peik Kiyoung, who works at the Geonggido Museum of Art in Ansan, and Ansan community space Litmus, is here with us. Park Chaneung, the director of Stone & Water gallery and SAP 2009 ARIA residency program, is with us as well. We have researched several topics regarding the subject we have presented on our first and second forum and we have had two interviews with the directors of two alternative spaces. One from Space Beam located in Incheon and the other Stone & Water from Anyang. Our research originated with the topics we have been dealing with prior to our arrival to Korea and rest of it came out of the experience we acquired here, but we were not especially concentrated on the specific situation here, because we don't think we are in a position to do that.

Gentrification & Public Art - Discussion

Kiyoung Peik: Today we've been discussing public art and the public art system. We are coming up with ways in addressing the social and the public problems with regard to the alternative public spaces, and I feel that there are maybe many here, in the audience, who do not really know about the core of this problem, so I would like to discuss it and have a debate - discussion. In the late 90s alternative spaces first appeared. There were museums, galleries etc. but the galleries asked artists to pay for exhibiting which many artists could not afford. This was the initial reason for the alternative spaces to appear, because of this inevitable system. The alternative spaces were first created at places like Hongik University, for example, where there were a lot of emerging artists who were ready to experiment in new fields of art, including public art, and through time it developed into what it is today. A lot of good artists have emerged after the late 90s with the help of alternative spaces. Some gained international fame, and these artists, who are more prominent on the international scene, have also contributed to the creation of commercial galleries, so at this moment they are kind of at the point of moving either to the private or public sector of art, because they became active as public artists, but also since they gained fame, they can also be more active in the commercial areas. The reason why they were able to reach international fame so quickly was the locality of their field and their contemporary context, in which they worked. In places like Incheon, Busan, Litmus in Ansan, open alternative spaces were created near outdoor markets, not art institutions. Since they are situated around areas where the redevelopment is taking place the artists have actually questioned about what forms of art they can create in these alternative spaces. But the side issue of these alternative spaces is that a lot of art related institutions are concentrated in Seoul, heavily in Seoul, and these alternative spaces situated in peripheral areas lack the public with interest and knowledge of contemporary art. I guess these are the problems alternative spaces are facing. After 2004, being aware of this problem, the government also took action in terms of being more interested in public art, and became involved in the development of the educational system with regard to culture and art in Korea, so educational programs and governmental efforts increased the development of public art. Stone & Water, for example, have also become involved in this government project, and as a part of this they have created this residency programs. With the increase of government interest and the development of public art, more galleries and art institutions started dealing with this kind of art which increased art diversity. But as a side effect alternative spaces cannot be independent because they heavily depend upon state funds or the cultural governmental funds. This issue has become a local issue, but then it is yet to develop into a political one because of the lack of influence and power these alternative institutions have regarding these issues, and so I feel that it is very important that we have gathered here today to discuss about this topic, because I feel that the artists today have to accumulate and create more awareness of the cultural democracy, and the artists' rights, and the artists' potential influence in dealing with this fundamental issue of alternative spaces.
Elvis Krstulović: I would like to pose a question for both of the participating representatives of alternative spaces in Korea. As international artists that came to a new context which we definitely know less about than artists from the local art scene or from the local community, we would like to ask you what is, in your opinion, the importance of international artists' participation in these projects. Because, combined with short period of time and lack of context knowledge, we feel we are less able to do some significant action.
Chaneung Park: I feel that unlike Insadong or Hongik University, places like Incheon, Busan and Anyang are very special areas, because we cannot generalize due to the local political and social problems, which are very complex and are very intricately interwoven within these areas. Actually we're using the term alternative space, but I would also like to bring up the term supplementary space. We've begun this project thinking of it as a long - term project perhaps a thirty year long project, and we are trying to make this issue a part of our everyday lives. This is a very political issue because the government movement is trying to universalize these New Towns, and so, I think we are at the very critical point when we have to question whether we will stand and fight against this power or will we just accept and go along with this generalization, or universalization movement. But I wanted to, instead of having a very polar view of the question of resistance or collaboration⁄cooperation, I actually thought that there could exist a third way, an alternative way, in approaching these issues. So, disregarding the path of resistance or the path of compromise, we've actually begun this residency project as the third alternative route in addressing this critical issue. So, with the alternative approach to this residency project, Seoksu is a very temporary space that we're using. We are using a somewhat nomadic approach in order to address this problem. In terms of the international residency inviting the foreign artists to this temporary space, I thought it would be a good idea to actually use this space that was unused, for a good purpose. So with a specific focus this temporary space becomes a good alternative space. Actually what we are hoping for is a resistance movement around this area, of this New Town, to actually create a political change and a different political atmosphere.
Soyeon Goak: Again, I would like to ask the question, whilst stressing this local political issue, why has the art project invited foreign artists in a residency and what influence might these foreign artists have in addressing this local political - social issue.
Chaneung Park: When we started this international residency program, we did not have any agendas or specific purpose we wanted to achieve. This is a tangled situation we are confronted with. It was not the purpose itself that has put us into this situation, and brought the foreign artists into this area. And we hoped that, within two or three years, because this program started in 2007, it would actually disappear, that we would no longer have to deal with this problem, but it still exists, so we are still addressing it, because we feel that this problem isn't just a local issue or a local problem, but an issue that can be shared with many other different communities outside this area. With this New Town redevelopment, urbanization projects that are taking place in this area, there is a lot of hope that they'll actually disappear in the near future, because there are many instances where these governmental projects are meeting failures and actually the government, is coming out with new models to approach these issues. So, we are hoping that this will be a long - term project. We don't know how much time we have, five years, ten years, or even twenty years, but within that time we would like to use this space while it's available and keep working on what we are doing today.
Iva Kovač: I would like to know if community art is the field only alternative spaces are addressing? And how much of their program, if they're dealing with it, is actually devoted to the communities?
Kiyoung Peik: These projects have been around for several years and had motivated creation of new alternative spaces. Now there exist around twenty to twenty - five alternative spaces, and what we're seeing with this development is that these alternative spaces have blended in with the communities and with its own localities, and have also contributed to the development of the culture of these communities. This movement has also created a new life, a new culture within those specific areas. I would also like to emphasize that Stone & Water was the first alternative space that has actually initiated this evolving movement, with this project, that is taking place right now.
Chaneung Park: Earlier there has been a lot of support from the government, which enabled the creation of the 22 - 25 alternative spaces that Peik Kiyoung has spoken about. These funds had also created many projects, and especially within the market place areas and not only around Seoul, the peripheral areas around Seoul, but also in cities like Gwangju, Tegu and Masan. But with the current government these funds have shrunk tremendously, but nevertheless Stone & Water has continued to make efforts within this community, with the elementary school, middle school and high schools collaborative education programs working with the public schools for 3 years now. As a result of this we have made the community more aware of the arts and culture in this area, and as a consequence we are still getting more governmental founds.

Home | Artist Contracts & Artist Rights | Discussion 1 | Gentrification & Public Art | Park Chaneung Interview | Woon-Gi Min Interview | Authors