Philosopher Ernst Bloch proposed that noch nicht (not yet) is the principle of human hope. He asserted that the unreachable and the unknown – like a vanishing point that can never be approached – is the impetus of the hope that drives us toward future. Our gaze is oriented toward something that should appear, that seems to be about to appear but has yet to appear. This principle could be rephrased as the principle of the “already visible.”
However, because ‘it’ is yet to be realised, the less clearly we can see it, the more it traps our gaze, making it impossible for us to be detached from this invisible future. This discrepancy is exactly the place where we can intervene, in the sense that we can mediate the shift from the “yet to be” real to the “already visible” by capturing the images we imagine.
This edition of the Seoul Mediacity Biennale centers the role of art on mediating this shift. In other words, contemporary life will be reinterpreted through interdisciplinary collaborations that go beyond the generic definition of ‘art’ while imagining together the “yet to be realised but already visible” creative and future-oriented alternative values as suggested by different individuals and collectives. Since the global financial crisis in 2008, a new expression has emerged in the financial market: “the new normal.” This term was created to describe socio-economical changes, but we could consider it in broader terms as an inclusive notion that can be applied to the various crises that exist in the multilayered dimensions surrounding us in the current era. This is because questions have accumulated on a fundamental level about the reality and legitimacy of what was once considered normative reality. Too much time has passed already with these problems remaining unsolved within the existing orders. Now these crises have become a reality that is no longer foreign to us as we both consciously and unconsciously adapt ourselves and our lives to those realities. In other words, our current life continues under new norms in every part of the globe. Hence, now is the time to examine the possibility of new orders instead of analysing the crisis of old orders. In contrast to the capital or financial market, the majority of the “new normal” we should focus on is up to us to define and cultivate. To avoid the dystopia depicted in “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley, we need to actively imagine and interpret the new form of human. A new form of human will only be possible under the premise of a concrete person who dreams of a “good life” in the shifting world and yearns for the realization of it, without surrendering to nihilistic imagination. For thousands of years, regardless of place and culture, the simple notion of a “good life” has been the most crucial point of reference for humankind in establishing its being. The specific content of a good life differs according to elements such as time, space and culture. Yet on the other hand, in those countless variations of the form of a good life there are certainly common denominators to be found. Eudanomia, or the flourishing life that develops through awakening the desires and abilities dormant in the human body and mind, could be named as the first denominator. The second common denominator then is the fact that exploration based on endless discussions is necessary to grasp what a good life can mean to an individual.
Seoul Mediacity Biennale 2018 aims to explore and discuss with the multitude what this notion of a “good life”, which is both an eternal compass and an ever-changing chameleon, could mean for us in these times.
Participants: Adbusters, Archive of the People, ByungJun Kwon,Critical Art Ensemble, Dirk Fleischmann, Disabled Women’s Theatre Group, Display Distribute, Dongdaemun Rooftop Paradise, Dukjin Chang, Eun Me Ahn, FACTORY Collective, Greenpeace East Asia Seoul Office, Haneyl Choi, Hankil Ryu, Hyengjoon Park, Hyun Tak Kim, Ignito, Jeong-Soo Kan, Jeoung Jae Chou, Jung-Kyoo Choi, Jungtae Eun, Kate Raworth, Kearn-Hyung Ahn, Ki-Hyun Jung, Kyoung-ryung Seong, Kyung Ae Ro, Listen to the City, meetingroom, Michel Bauwens, Minja Gu, Mixrice Monoskop (Dušan Barok), Namwoo Bae (Elisa Giardina Papa Sterling Crispin), Sangdon Kim, SEAWEED, Seendosi, Sey Min (David Ha Gene Kogan Mario Klingemann Mike Tyka Minha Yang Ross Goodwin Oscar Sharp Seung Joon Choi Shinseungback Kimyonghun), Soyung Lee, island Collective (Dongchan Kim Seonghong Min Mingyu Song Jinyo Choi Seokjun HA Gyunghyun Hwang, Welfare State Youth Network (WSYN), Wol Sik Kim, Wonhwa Yoon Jeewon Yoon, Yangachi, Yeon Ock Ko JAT Project
- Seoul Mediacity Biennale