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What a good life looks like in 2318

This year’s Seoul Media City Biennale to look at the future of living well
Apr 26,2018
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Clockwise from top are works that will be presented at the 2018 Seoul Media City Biennale this autumn. They question the meaning of a good life in a changing society: “Treasure Island” (2016) by the Treasure island Collective, “A.I_ entirely on us” (2018) by Sey Min, “Brush Stroke” (2012) by Elisa Giardina Papa and a performance held by Ro Kyung-ae in 2016. The roster of participating artists has not been decided as of yet. [SEOUL MUSEUM OF ART]
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The co-directors of the 2018 Seoul Media City Biennale during a press conference on Wednesday held at the Seoul Museum of Art in Seosomun, central Seoul. From left are: Choi Hyo-joon, Kim Jang-un, Hong Gi-bin, Lim Kyung-yong, Kim Nam-soo and Jang Da-ul. [YONHAP]
The Seoul Media City Biennale held a press conference on Wednesday at the Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA), revealing its plans for the high-tech art event to be held from Sept. 6 to Nov. 18 at various venues across the capital city.

For the first time this year, the event is being co-directed by six different professionals from various fields, each of whom was present at the conference to give an introduction of what the art event has in store this autumn.

This year’s event will revolved around the theme of “Eu Zen,” a term from Greek philosophy meaning “Living Well” or a good life. Rather than just displaying an array of artwork that do not have an impact on people’s lives beyond the museum walls where they are hung, the biennale seeks to create conversations and communication between all participants - artists, directors, professionals and citizens alike - on how mankind can pursue a good life in an ever-changing world.

“We thought about what an art museum’s role could be in a society that changes so rapidly,” said Peik Ki-young, director of the curatorial bureau at SeMA.

“A museum has to experiment with all the possible futures that lie ahead of us, and we came to a conclusion that the biennale must not only expand into a more creative realm of art, but also expand into people’s everyday lives so that we help people think about what future may be deemed as good.”

Although not all of the participating artists have been decided as of yet, the biennale will seek to bring in talented minds from diverse fields who will not only express their own ideas and questions about the future, but also provide the citizens of Seoul an opportunity to think about how their lives may change.

“We wanted to go beyond just simply displaying a bunch of art. This biennale will be a place where people can come, think and talk about what makes a good life,” said Kim Jang-un, a member of the biennale’s directorial collective.

Some of the artists that have been chosen to participate in the biennale will bring to the table works of media art that pose a set of social, economic and cultural questions that will resonate with the hearts of those in attendance. Examples include “A.I_ entirely on us” by Sey Min, which explores how the advent of artificial intelligence will affect the way we take in information and Elisa Giardina Papa’s “Brush Stroke” questioning whether humans will be able to fool the abilities of artificial intelligence.

“The world has changed, and we must question whether we are just going to passively take in the change or be active in questioning and shaping our lives,” said Hong Gi-bin, one of the directors.

“With a new age needs to come new ideas about humanity, and how people will live their lives. Even though details may change at different times in history, humans are always considering how to live a good life, which is why we posed this question for the biennale.”

When the event begins in September, participating artists’ works will be exhibited across SeMA’s branches. The biennale will also offer a series of conferences, seminars and debate sessions for the public to attend and participate in. Details will be updated on mediacityseoul.kr.

BY YOON SO-YEON [yoon.soyeon@joongang.co.kr]