Sunday, August 15, 2010

Jongno Elegy

Browsing the small "Jongno Elegy" exhibition at the Seoul Museum of History was a rather upsetting experience. I felt like a time traveler visiting in year 2509 an exhibition about 2009 Jongno, watching pictures of buildings I used to pass by every day, artifacts from shops I used to roam, and even sitting in a reconstituted Pimatgol restaurant where I dined last year, complete with the graffitis on the walls.

At this stage of redevelopment, not all the places depicted here have even been destroyed yet, but it's as if they were already. The older generations are already used to seeing echoes of such earlier ghosts as the Hanshin Department Store, but they had more time to adjust : It really feels like I pressed the fast forward button and was frustrated of the last gasps of old Jongno.

But as the Museum honors Jongro, the street, it reaches much further back in time, across the capital's 600 years. A cut exposing layers of soil near Jongmyo adds some perspective : paving being a very recent phenomenon, even one century can be translated into a meter high layer of various debris.

You are invited to try the gear of a delivery man, lifting the heavy wood-and-metal structure on your shoulders in the "commoner" version of the more traditional Jongno photo op (you as a Joseon yangban / king / queen).

Elegies are about mourning the dead. This is also about contemplating the process of dying.

Next stop ? Itaewon. Judging by "semu", the museum's magazine, I wouldn't be surprised to see an exhibition about it in the coming years.

Jongno Elegy (exhibition)
20100813 ~ 20101003
Special Exhibition Hall, Seoul Museum of History
Tel : Dasan 120

Seoul Village 2010

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comments and remarks. Also for your patience (comments are moderated and are not published right away - only way to curb the spam, sorry). S.

books, movies, music