‘The Freedom of the Arts vs.
The Instrumentalization of the Arts’
Cutator of Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art
-Questions regarding artist/curator Wol-sik Kim’s “A Solidarity of Differences which Dream of the Individual’s Happiness”
For specificity of the questioning, I wrote my questions based more around quoting from the speaker’s paper and adding my own thoughts or questioning the key words in the quoted parts.
1. “A Community in Facade Only guards against the group psychology of various communities which had performed the actual roles in the process of Korea’s highly condensed industrialization and modernization, and was created as an homage for the recovery of honor regarding the individual who is a member of their community.”
- In this paper, you spoke of guarding against ‘the community’s group psychology.’ Could you be more specific? Do you mean you view communities to be grouped communities or is it because they are viewed as being something born in the process of industrialization/modernization, or if neither then is it because you see them as so ‘domesticated, trained’ communities? In fact, things such as obstinacy regarding that part (the group psychology of communities) exist in a large part of the social structure currently constituting Korean society, and that obstinacy has a very system-political dimension which supports this society. At the point of being bifurcated into ideologies of the progressive and the conservative, the left and right, that is. Not only that, although somewhat confusing, more than a few people believe the group psychology of such communities to not be of the industrialization/modernization process, but to be innate and Eastern and thus a phenomenon of a positive community culture. According to their debates, recovery of honor for individuals becomes an issue of a completely different dimension. Now, who is the individual as you see them? Does the individual exist in this society’s social structure?
2. “The self-support of artists, the self-support of people are ultimately the self-support of cities(localities). However, among the many methods of self-support, regeneration and preservation are too passive and time-consuming in leading society to a dynamic self-support. Therefore, they are not an appealing method for policy developers who must visibly change the city’s landscape within a relatively short amount of time.”
- Fine. Then the self-support of ‘policy developers’ is what is needed. It is not that I do not share your thoughts as a liberal arts lecturer of eight years who is specializing in homeless and self-supporting workers, but I believe that even if it is time-consuming and passive, it would be impossible without ultimately having the concerned parties as the object, i.e. without an internal revolution of the subject-concerned parties. Is there really no alternative for a society of regeneration and preservation? If the artist is an alternative for our society, then what is the artist’s practice?
3. “Whatever the reason or purpose, such uniform aesthetic sensibilities which have invaded into public sites or local communities contribute to simplifying and totalizing the aesthetic tastes of the populace.”
- Is public art absent from the site of this contribution? Is community art a new art opposed to the contribution? Provided it is true that high quality arts are distanced from the public (in fact, they are almost entirely inaccessible), and that the galleries in Insadong, even, are not very much for the public, because the new and recent public art or community art are located not very far from the streets of the public, would it not actually be community art which simplifies the tastes of the public? You said that “chaotic sign boards in which the desires of the individual squirm about are more creative and independent,” but I am of a different opinion. It is only that such desires have reached out in greater scale and more elaborately, those who design them are sign board designers. In a broad sense, sign board designers belong to the art world. Sign boards are the public art of the everyday. What would be a way to reflect the public’s aesthetic tastes?
4. “...I began to put into practice the thoughts of each of us, through an artist’s trust and respect toward the arts, as sentiments faithful to our instincts and as defense mechanisms guarding against everything which threatens our instincts; and these actions were more the proof of the artist’s existence as an individual as the means to live independently, creatively and joyously rather than being what people call public or community art.”
- In short, you are advocating for an ‘art of life.’ If that were to happen, then the distinction between the artist and the public would become vague. Would it actually be possible not to distinguish between the arts and life? The populace art of the 1980s also advocated for an ‘art of life’ but today we distinguish that art from life. It could be that I am asking for a definition of what is undefinable, but what do the arts mean to you? Where it is not a society which is ‘independent, creative and for living merrily’ at all, that is.
-Questions for “The Council, Cooperation and ‘New Supporters’: Artistic Activities of Europe’s Citizen Society as a Critical Alternative to Government Support”
5. One could say that the demands from these ‘new supporters’ in Korea’s artist circles were begun with the creation of alternative spaces in 1999. However, the problem is that although ten years have passed, the problem is still unresolved. It is because many alternative spaces are currently worrying about survival. Although there would not be much information on the alternative spaces of Korea in that they are in fact not very different from the alternative spaces of Europe, please give us your thoughts on what needs to be done in order to mediate between citizen’s society and artistic activities.
6. It is currently almost impossible for various art spaces to function without government support. Even artists, curators and critics who are critical of government support consider government funding before anything else in order to complete their plans. Government subsidies are citizens’ tax money and are provided through the system of ‘support policy,’ so that it is not very difficult to receive government subsidies through good plans, and there are even those who say subsidies should be aggressively sought after. It is probably because independent curators are increasing in number and citizen’s social arts activities are actually becoming more active outside the institution, such as in art museums or concert venues. Would it actually be possible to have both criticism and an alternative?