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Busan Biennale 2018

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Busan Biennale

The Busan Biennale is a biannual international contemporary art show that integrated three different art events held in the city in 1998: the Busan Youth Biennale, the first biennale of Korea that was voluntarily organized by local artists in 1981; the Sea Art Festival, an environmental art festival launched in 1987 with the sea serving as a backdrop; and the Busan International Outdoor Sculpture Symposium that was first held in 1991. The biennale was previously called the Pusan International Contemporary Art Festival (PICAF) before it launched.

The biennale has its own unique attribute in that it was formed not out of any political logic or need but rather the pure force of local Busan artists’ will and their voluntary participation. Even to this day their interest in Busan's culture and its experimental nature has been the key foundation for shaping the biennale’s identity.

This biennale is the only one like it in the world that was established through an integration of three types of art events such as a Contemporary Art Exhibition, Sculpture Symposium, and Sea Art Festival. The Sculpture Symposium in particular was deemed to be a successful public art event, the results of which were installed throughout the city and dedicated to revitalizing cultural communication with citizens. The networks formed through the event have assumed a crucial role in introducing and expanding domestic art overseas and leading the development of local culture for globalized cultural communication. Founded 38 years ago, the biennale aims to popularize contemporary art and achieve art in everyday life by providing a platform for interchanging experimental contemporary art.


2018 Viral Lingua

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관리자 2018-08-21 11:52

작가Minwhee Lee & Yun Choi

Viral Lingua, Single channel video, sound, 6 viral videos project (#Virallingua), 15min, 2018, Courtesy of the artists, Commissioned by Busan Biennale 2018


Min whee LEE & Yun CHOI
Viral Lingua


The two artists showcase their collaborative project Viral Lingua (2018) at this Biennale. They drew inspiration from viral marketing, which actively makes use of the virus-like dissemination and duplication of information online. The artists composed songs and made music videos that feature traces of the ideology left behind by the Cold War, which still permeates South Korea and reappears in different forms. The music video series comprises six pieces: “Dear Na-ra” (“country” in Korean) shows the sorrow of a woman saying goodbye to her own country with two suns reflected on her eyes; “Wildflower” is full of familiar yet eerie shrieks from recent far-right protests; conspiracy theories and top secrets from an unknown source are repeatedly spread in “Mouth to Mouth”; “Living with Ah and Uh” narrates a competition between twins where one must win to survive; “Heartburn” describes a punctured body that repeats eating and being eaten; “Do Not Trust Laughing and Crying Future” depicts suffering from bipolar disorder due to the future already being written like a story. These ‘music videos’ explore the complex layers of the Korean society, such as a distorted affection towards the nation state, marginalization and violence triggered in radical social boundaries, facts alienated from its essence, and survival and competition, as well as the multiple mentalities of the people living in it. The work also suggests that these symptoms repeat themselves regardless of past and future, transferred from mouth to mouth, from body to body.

Viral Lingua (2018) is displayed at the former Busan headquarters of the Bank of Korea Before the opening of the Biennale. Six short trailers from this project were released on social media; the nod to viral marketing strategy reminds us of the Cold War-era media manipulation strategy that attempted to infiltrate opponents using ideological propaganda.

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