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DDP to light up with the sights of Seoul

Nov 11,2019
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The Dongdaemun Design Plaza will hold its inaugural “DDP Light” show from Dec. 20 to Jan. 3. [SEOUL DESIGN FOUNDATION]
The Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) will transform into a giant media facade for this holiday season.

From Dec. 20 to Jan. 3, thousands of images that represent Seoul’s culture and history will be projected onto nearly 250 meters (820 feet) of the Zaha Hadid creation for the first-ever “DDP Light” festival, which the Seoul Design Foundation is hoping to grow into an annual event.

“We were motivated to inspire people by using the DDP as a canvas and chose to work with light as a form of public art,” explained Min Sey, the project’s director and art and technology professor at Sogang University. “For this year, we thought about projecting Seoul’s dream onto the building and telling the stories of the people who have passed through.”

The DDP invited famed LA-based media artist Refik Anadol to lead the inaugural show. The artist has previously projected on the exterior of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

As he had done for other media facades, Anadol is set to incorporate machine learning technology for “DDP Light” by processing thousands of images and regrouping them into new configurations and graphics. For this year’s project, titled “Seoul Haemong,” or dream interpretation, Anadol specifically worked with archival pictures of the Dongdaemun area as well as shots of present-day Seoul submitted by locals.

The light show is set to project four times a day from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. throughout the festival. Each show will have a running time of around 16 minutes and be subdivided into three parts spotlighting Seoul’s past, present and future.

“The DDP is an incredible canvas, algorithm is a great brush and Seoul’s culture is a great pigment to paint with,” said Anadol during a briefing on Thursday. “From historic calligraphy to the thousands of images collected and Hadid’s architecture, everything has been inspiration [for this project].”

To make the experience more immersive, the lights show will be accompanied by music that was also produced via data processing of uniquely Korean sounds like traffic noises, traditional music and K-pop.

The Seoul Design Foundation’s ultimate goal with “DDP Light” is to develop it into a major attraction comparable to “Vivid Sydney,” an annual festival in Australia that lights up many of the city’s landmarks including the Opera House.

An outdoor Christmas market selling food and crafts will also open during “DDP Light.”

BY KIM EUN-JIN [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]