Until 2006 when the government excluded the Arbor Day from the national holiday, people used to celebrate the day by planting trees wishing for greener community. Arbor Day may not be well celebrated by people recently, but there is a group of university students who bring green, eco-friendly society with environmental designs and art works.
The group, Green One, runs under its motto, Wonhada, which means “What we want is environment,” in Korean. Since “Won” sounds like one which means circle in Korean, the motto can be read with double context meaning that the environment has to cycle and the group wants better environment.
Kim Young-joon, the founder of Green One who studied industrial design at Kookmin University, launched Green One after he realized that most of the art and design industry were focusing on promoting indiscriminate consumption in the capitalistic society. This idea led him to collect his friends from Kookmin University and Konkuk University who studied arts to promote environmentalism through art and design works.
“Participating in environmental activity shouldn’t remain as an incidental event but rather be continuous,” said Kim Yu-jeong (Seoul Women’s University, 4), one of the two representatives of Green One. “It is more important that individuals keep environmentally friendly mind”
Since Green One’s establishment in January 2008, the group held 13 exhibitions whose themes were to support environment.
Under its motto, Green One’s earlier exhibitions were concentrated in fine arts, which merely promoted environmentalism. As the group got bigger and extended their concepts on environmentalism, Green One now moves for more practical works which not only speaks about environmentalism, but also is environmentally friendly itself. Most of the Green One’s designs remain as concepts but some of the designs which can be produced in large quantity with less environmental harm are sold or distributed for free.
One of Green One’s famous and widely known works is “Greening,” a pop-up card design symbolizing promising greening of the dessert by printing green fingerprints on the card, which was designed by Yang Jee-yoon (’05, Space Design). Greening won the first place at a design competition held by Designboom, globally famous design community Web site, in 2009.
Some of the students studying art or design understand the necessity of combining environmentalism with designs and art but it is hard to actually participate. “I have been feeling the necessity of promoting environmentally friendly concepts through art works but I didn’t know where to start,” Kang Youjeong (Painting, 1) said. “I didn’t know there was an artist group for university students who are interested in promoting environmentalism.”
The group hopes to influence the society in the end by promoting environment-loving ideas to people. “Our group members do not have political power like politicians, financially abundant like capitalists or have influence over public like celebrities,” Kim said. “We are just ordinary university students. But we can convey message to people like us through exhibitions.”
Green One plans to perform at Green Plugged in upcoming May. Any students who wish to learn more about Green One or join the group can follow @green_one_ at Twitter.