Listen to the city

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* E-mail : (Kim Jun-ho) (Kwon Soojeong) (Park Eunseon) (Yang Autumn)
Listen to the City is a commune of artists and desingers
We study roles of artists in a capitalistic society and do direct actions.
Listen to the City is consist with 4 members and we have 3 collaborators.
Park Eunseon, my-self, studied Fine Art.
Kwon Soojung , Yang Autumn both are designers, Junho is a documentary film director.

What Listen to the City is doing is working as an organization, as social designers and artists. We wanted to bridge the gaps between art and society and we ended up realizing that art and design can be really helpful to understand what’s going on in today’s world. We consider ourselves as a media and a device to break Spectacles of the City.
But we we are against defining ourselves in one word. It might be easier for our participants or observers if we adopted a single sentence or term—for them to understand us—but really we are an organization for society and for artists.
We want our work to be on the line between activism and art. In capitalistic society, artwork can be commodities very easily, but we don’t want our work to just be merchandise. We are against the notion of art as a product, so we began developing a new role for art in this capitalistic society; a new concept of art.


Group of Art Activism Against a Construction State
Lee Kwang-suk
(Professor, Seoul National University of Science & Technology)

Listen to the city grew with a new, undefined trend of art activism, led by a group of young artists, after they had staged sit-in protests against removal of Duriban or at Myungdong. Listen to the City is at the frontline independently doing indefinite, anarchistic, creative activities or getting involved with actual life, quite differently from traditions of popular or participatory arts during 1980s. Through public performances, the artists group takes a massive participation in protest against government-driven construction projects at and around four rivers which might do harm to natural ecosystem.
Nowadays, listen to the City and Director Park Eun-sun is quite busy doing other things than intended. Both are eager to make known impending issues facing artists by planning a series of exhibitions and staging general strikes. To the greater extent, they are inspired by the Occupy movement based in New York, rising up against tragedy of prekariats (those who work on an irregular basis) work in a worse condition. The protester group initiated sweeping strikes in union or joint with the Independent Music Production Cooperatives, Trollops’ Activity and Basic Income Youngsters’ Network, on a street in front of Seoul City Hall, on May 1. A small number of part timers gathered there for May Day Walkout, especially, including groups which are inclined toward anarchism in the circles of fine art, music and performance, acting as protagonist against art capitalization of new liberalism, in pursuit of the protection of artists’ rights to create amid cultural activities. Through <General Strike and Food> performance, Listen to the city expresses clearly what current artists’ distress comes from in reality. If basic needs are not to be met in actual life, they would be way from creative activities in a liberal way. For this, Listen to the City helps artists or nonprofessionals exchange their opinions to improve their lives.
Recently, an environmental film festival was flaringly held under the sponsorship of Samsung Corporation and Hyundai Development Co., Ltd. The event was planned and participated by environmental organizations on a massive scale. Its sponsors are currently engaging in construction projects for four great rivers and Gangjeong Village. Some of movie directors had little or no ideas or other environmental groups did know about it but pretended to disregard. Park Eun-sun made a demonstration for herself in front of a ticket box where the festival is due, delivering her message for protest against conservative artists and environmental groups. Her conduct represents an example that alerts the negligence and incapacity of environmental activists in the presence of environmental destruction.
Listen to the City managed and manages to monitor and document how such construction projects go along at and around four great rivers, including <Naeseong-River Tent School>. Guided by Monk Jiyul, the group strives to watch out the basins around Nakdong River. Regarding the rivers, it plans to relocate its movable gallery, Space ‘Morae’ in Jogesa Temple, to construction sites at Yeongju Dam for exhibition out there, and continue publicizing ongoing projects at Naesung Stream over online website. Listen to the city does not only listen to the outcries from urban cities but also seek its involvement in art activism across national lands. It might be of course that act activists could not escape from obstacles they encounter when tracking down the mainstays and sources of urban life. Apparently, there is a long way to go before Listen to the city uses scratched land sites as materials for creation and planning.