Home | Artist Contracts & Artist Rights | Discussion 1 | Gentrification & Public Art | Discussion 2 | Park Chaneung Interview | Authors
 Art&Market   Woon-Gi Min Interview

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.

Gentrification & Public Art Discussion

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 it's own localities, and have also contributed to the development of the culture of these communities.

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.

Short intro

Woon-Gi Min activities started in 1995. From the beginning, his activities were based on a critical attitude towards the centralized, distorted topography of culture and art in Korea. Since 2002 he has been running the alternative space called Space Beam, a non-profit organization located in an old brewery in Baedary, Incheon. This area is culturally and historically important for Incheon. However, it has been endangered since government started constructing a highway that should go through Baedary in order to connect the Songdo and Chungra districts, selected to become Incheon Free Economic Zones. Space Beam activities range from exhibiting, curating, supporting artists, studying and developing art education, publishing, taking part in city policies etc. It's focus is on reconnecting Korean contemporary art with the local issues, emphasizing the social roles of artistic activities. He believes art can function actively in addressing questions of politics, society and local culture with multiplicity of visions. Instead of engaging in their personal career endeavours, it is his hope for the artists to establish horizontal networks based on intimate cooperation, sharing their roles on everyday basis.

More information about the activities of Woon-Gi Min can be found at SpaceBeam WebSite

Woon-Gi Min Interview

Director of alternative art space Space Beam, and residency program in Badeari, Incheon.

Elvis Krstulović: What do you do other then art and art related productions? Could you give us some examples maybe?
Woon-Gi Min: I would like to give a recent example; In 2008, when the new government came to power, they made a plan to reduce public service employees, and in order to make this policy work well, City Hall decided to reduce workers on temporary projects and in developing industries. But, ironically, they also tried to put a public library under private management. We, of course, protested against this action with many activists and citizens' groups together. We were concerned with citizens' fundamental rights, above all, the right to public property that can be endangered by private management. For in pursuit for their economic profits they surely damage the citizens. Unfortunately, we failed to stop this from happening. But we did what we consider our role, which is to make the government know about public's significance. We managed to stop the government building a skyscraper on a ground where the old citizen centre was before it was destroyed.
Iva Kovač: Do you believe you can solve the problem of building New Town here?
Woon-Gi Min: It will not be easy. Our aim is to make the government aware of what should come first in city's development. We want to prevent them from repeating the same mistakes in this city again.
Iva Kovač: How come the government doesn't consider the historical relevance of the area?
Woon-Gi Min: They rarely think about the the importance of the historical remains. They concentrate on the profit and marketing. Because when they get the money for the project like New Town or the mentioned highway, they only have that in mind.
Elvis Krstulović: How is the preservation of these places, as they are now, important for the society today?
Woon-Gi Min: First of all, what citizens think is most important. If this area is to be developed the rents would grow quickly, more than they assume. They will not be able to return to their homes only with the compensation they receive from the government. The actual rate of returning residents is only 20%. Most of the residents from redevelopment zone would have a hardship in returning to somewhere else in Incheon either, because all Incheon areas are currently included in New Town development plan. We should recognize this fact and we should take action about these matters.
Iva Kovač: We have heard a lot about the importance of preservation of the original buildings, the history, the quality of the living space...
Woon-Gi Min: I believe we should consider seriously our current architecture and think what we should throw away and what we should preserve. I believe it is better to consider first than only to destroy old and make new every morning. Citizens' right to have the future and our historic - cultural values from the past will be able to be preserved within this belief.
Elvis Krstulović: So, when the government comes out with such a plan, do you try to make citizens aware of the consequences of their project?
Woon-Gi Min: I always do my best, but it is never easy.
Iva Kovač: How do you approach the citizens?
Woon-Gi Min: About developments and the New Town plan? I can't actually explain everything to everybody not even in person - to - person conversation but every time when the proper time comes, I bring this issue to the table. I am trying to make people aware that this town is worthy to live in and it's worthy to be preserved, and I do that also through cultural events and different activities.
Iva Kovač: Do people understand that only 20% of them will be able to stay here and 80% will have to leave if the area is re - developed?
Woon-Gi Min: City Hall and development companies only incite people with the compensation, so most of them are focused only on this fact. Then they regret after everything is done.
Elvis Krstulović: What do you think the role of public art in the redevelopment processes should be? And what is the responsibility of artists in this regard?
Woon-Gi Min: 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. This is now very much present in Incheon, and the city is intentionally using art in this way. Space Beam fulfill its proper role artists should imagine the ideal city and we should realize this dream and plan together. Artists should also make efforts to predict unexpected situations.
Iva Kovač: Can you tell us what is the difference between alternative and commercial gallery art production in Korea?
Woon-Gi Min: Alternative spaces in Korea all have different aims, so I will only focus on Space Beam. We are not interested in how much artworks should cost or about the fame of the artists. We are only concerned with the local community and the ways in which it can be connected with the artists. We help artists to reduce the gap between themselves and the local community. We're a link between the local and the artist.
Elvis Krstulović: Do you think this is what the role of alternative spaces should be?
Woon-Gi Min: It is not everything, but I am sure it is an important role among many roles alternative spaces can perform.

Home | Artist Contracts & Artist Rights | Discussion 1 | Gentrification & Public Art | Discussion 2 | Park Chaneung Interview | Authors