The following excerpts serve as exhibition review. Quotes aim to walk you through the exhibition, both visually and conceptually. Excerpts were taken from SCAI THE BATHHOUSE's press release for the exhibition, as well as from the accompaying publication by MOON & JEON entitled 'Freedom Village', published by the Workroom Press (Seoul, 2017).
“Freedom Village" is Moon & Jeon's new series under the umbrella of their ongoing project “News from Nowhere”, and is based on their artistic research on the small farming community of Tae Sung Dong, otherwise known as Freedom Village. Located in the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ), a four-kilometre-wide buffer zone on the border of the North and the South division, the village came into being as a result of the Korean War. Only individuals who lived in the village before the War, and their descendants, are allowed to inhabit this secluded community. The village —little known even by Koreans— suggests a dark spot in history, and represents collective amnesia caused in the aftermath of the political conflicts. - Quote from Press Release, SCAI The Bathhouse (Tokyo, 2017). “2. After the government built structures such as houses, a dong (regional) office, and a village hall, this area took on the façade of a village. It is said that “cultural houses” built at time were all given away for free, yet residents at first rejected moving in due to faulty construction work and designs that were not appropriate for farming families. Later, the government conducted two large-scale developments of the village. Freedom Village became a more modernized village during the second development process after roads were repaved, water supply and drainage facilities refurbished, and public infrastructure was adopted according to a masterplan.” - MOON & JEON, “WELCOME TO THE FREEDOM VILLAGE”, in Freedom Village, Seoul: Workroom Press, 2017. Paragraph 2 out of 22 accompanying MOON & JEON’ photographic compilation of Freedom Village.
“Instead of representing the actual place and adding to the present debate about geopolitical interests converging on Korea, MOON & JEON stress the metaphorical nature of their projects.” - Nicolas de Oliveira and Nicola Oxley, “The Fourth Dimension of Space”, in Freedom Village, Seoul: Workroom Press, 2017, 82.
“The glazed cabinets, showcases, vitrines, and glass domes of yesteryear preserve their contents under a vitreous skin, fragile as a shell of a hen’s egg; they are bubbles – transparent magnification devices – each containing a minute, entirely hermetic universe of artificiala, naturalia, exotica or scientifica, arcane taxonomic emblems of vision itself.” - Nicolas de Oliveira and Nicola Oxley, “The Fourth Dimension of Space”, in Freedom Village, Seoul: Workroom Press, 2017, 91.
“It is precisely this concern with the hold of time – as the fourth dimension of space – that offers a leitmotif to MOON & JEON’s project. Their use of historical photographs and film footage from broadcasts of the time of partition is cleverly juxtaposed with present-day images whose provenance remains uncertain.” - Nicolas de Oliveira and Nicola Oxley, “The Fourth Dimension of Space”, in Freedom Village, Seoul: Workroom Press, 2017, 95.
"The academic Edward Said wrote: Exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience. It is the unhealable rift forced between the human being and the native place, between the self and its true home: its essential sadness can never be surmounted. The achievements of exile are permanently undermined by the loss of something left behind forever. (Edward Said, Reflections on Exile and other Essays, CA/MA: Harvard University Press, 2011, 173)." - Nicolas de Oliveira and Nicola Oxley, “The Fourth Dimension of Space”, in Freedom Village, Seoul: Workroom Press, 2017, 80.
MOON & JEON: FREEDOM VILLAGE NOVEMBER 11 - DECEMBER 16, 2017 SCAI THE BATHHOUSE, TOKYO