In 19th Century France, a man named Felix Nadar made some innovations in photography that would not become common for over a hundred years. Nadar was the first photographer to take an aerial photograph, one of Paris from a hot air balloon in 1858. He was also a brilliant portrait photographer and caricaturist, and used a portable synchronizer to take night views of Paris, including the charnel house.
For the first time, Nadar’s works were presented to the audiences in as part of the French Cultural Night event organized by Professor Hwang Hae-jin (International Office Administration) and 31 students from Hwang’s Foundations for Convention Management class.
The event, titled “Atelier Nadar,” was held on May 14 in the Art & Museum art gallery and featured two major events: an exhibition of Nadar’s works and a cultural exchange night which was comprised of two performances, “Hommage a Nadar,” and “Paris Café.” “Hommage a Nadar” shared poems and biographical sketcher of some of Nadar’s famous subjects. “Paris Café” was a musical revue of songs from Nadar’s time in Paris. The exhibition, which was held from April 16 to May 14, displayed 150 works of Nadar. It was supported by the French Cultural Properties Administration.
“After the mid-term exam, three French exchange students in my class proposed we organize a real convention,” Hwang said. “That was when we first started organizing the event.” Luckily, the class was able to join Art & Museum in hosting Nadar’s exhibit while receiving sponsorships from nine senior painters. Hwang says that even though funding and a venue were made available to them, the organizing work, from A to Z, was solely up to the student.
The first thing Hwang did was divide the class into six groups: secretarial, decoration, food & beverage, sponsorship, media and PR, and research.
Jacklyn Lee (International Studies, 4) who took part in the media public relations division said nothing was easy for them.
“This was my first time organizing such an event and I contacted over 20 media bodies.”
Hwang said, during her 30 years of designing international conventions, this was her first time to organize an event with her students from top to bottom.
Students with talents participated during the cultural exchange night, performing with professional performers from the Compagnie-Culture & Performances, where Hwang served as the Artistic Director. The night reached its peak when Moon Ju-won (Korean Music, 4) played the geomungo, a traditional Korean instrument with six strings, while actress Kim Hye-hwa and French exchange student Antoine Gamberini recited two poems of Charles-Pierre Baudelaire, a significant poet of the 19th century.
“Many French guests from co-hosting organizations such as the French Embassy, the French Cultural Center, and the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry, were surprised to see such a French event in Korea organized all by Ewha students,” Hwang said.
Things did not all go as smoothly as Hwang hoped, since the event was fully organized by inexperienced students. For instance, on the day of the event, there were problems in managing parking slots and a student had to continuously pop up in between performances to call out the car numbers.
“When a nervous looking student stood in front of the microphone, after a performance, everyone thought something special would come out,” Hwang said. “But when she began calling out the car numbers, everyone started to laugh.”
Overall, the performance was still a success in the eyes of the students.
“I think the most meaningful part of our project was to combine performance with the exhibition. Our work successfully covered both culture and art,” said Cheong Sung-yeon (French, 3) who participated in the decoration team.
Caption: Moon Ju-won (Korean Music, 4) playing the geomungo at the event, “Atelier Nadar.”
The pamphlet of the event, “Atelier Nadar,” which was designed by the decoration team.