Seven teams from six universities participated in the 2019 Seoul Public Art Project In Collaboration With Universities, improving the aesthetics of Seoul. The project was first launched in 2017 as Seoul Urban Art Project, a contemporary urban art movement promoted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government.
The aim of the project was to help people communicate through art, to enhance the local environment, and to foster future art experts. Students majoring in art and architecture teamed up, planned their public art projects, and applied their ideas to real life.
Along with Ewha Womans University, Korea University, Kookmin University, Dongduk Women’s University, Sangmyung University, and Seoul National University of Science and Technology joined the project.
Two teams from Ewha participated, each team exhibiting different works.
One team from Ewha, Yeomni-dong Documenta, displayed “Vacant house exhibition” from Aug. 16 to 23 at Yeomni-dong. They used vacant houses at Yeomni-dong as the exhibition location and revitalized the place into a space of art.
Due to the fact that Yeomni-dong has been reconstructed, the team focused on recording the past and present image of the town for the purpose of preserving the remaining residents and the place itself.
Another team displayed “Weird Relax” from Aug. 18 to 23 at Changcheon Culture Park.
“We came up with the topic of relaxing in the city because Daehyeon-dong is a university neighborhood where merchants, students, and residents coexist,” the Weird Relax team said. “When people are heading home, they are exhausted. In order to provide them with emotional stability and a calming enviornment, we decided to place our participatory art work in a city park.”
“Weird Relax” is made up of three interactive galleries for the audience not simply to watch but actually complete the exhibition. For example, a bell rings when the audience moves and they can visually experience light as the light touches their bodies. By giving people an opportunity to concentrate on their senses, the team wanted to draw individual's consciousness toward relaxation.
“By participating in this project and receiving financial support from the Seoul Metropolitan Government, we were able to cooperate, break the limits of being confined in a classroom, and carry out a big project,” Weird Relax team said. “We believe that we have played a role in breaking the barrier of art so that everyone can enjoy it. An easier approach to artistic activities is surely needed in the future.”
For further exhibitions arranged by this metropolitan project, Munhwachon Bit Box, a team from Sangmyung University, displayed “Hong Hong Hong” from Sept. 17 to 29 at Hongjewon-gil 13.
The team inspected the diverse aspects of Hongeun-dong and Hongje-dong and condensed it into pictures, magazines, videos, and performances in order to highlight the hidden charm of these places.
Throughout the project, seven different works made by university students were exhibited for the betterment of Seoul’s environment and were run in a variety of ways including citizen participation and movie screenings.