Monday, August 23, 2010

the 2nd Gwangju Biennale International Curator Course Day12

Visiting Program-Gwangju
     We had an excursion to Gasa Literature Museum, Sikyeongjeong, Soswaewon, and Songgwangsa. I am not so sure how much other people understood in terms of Korean traditional culture out of this quick trip, but at least I hope they had a good time out of classroom on Friday. However, understanding any traditional culture in a wrong way can be very dangerous as well. I decided to think this way after some people started talking about Korean culture in a complete wrong way with misunderstading and misinterpretation.
     I mentioned before on this blog that I still want to be a poet. I think the role of poet in Korean society is quite unique than anywhere else. Since we had such a strong tradition in Josun Dynasty that creating a poetry to be a public official, writing a poetry is something about thinking about our people, society, and nation as well as our nature.


     Gasa literature is considered as the process from poetry towards prose in the late 15th or 16th century. At first it must have been sung as a song, but it must have become longer later on, and became more like a form of essay rather than a poetry to sing.
     After the Great King Sejong made Korean Hangul system to write Korean language, we think a lot of changes might happened right after 1446, but according to what I learned from school, it's not like what we imagine. Chinese character is a part of our identity after we actively started using from  6th or 7th century. Therefore, even though Hangul is a great system, we couldn't get rid of part of our identity, for sure. Especially when the intellectuals of Josun Dynasty were all about writing Chinese poetry rather than using a new Hangul system then. Perhaps, it was more about power game than just a writing system, of course.
     The short film we watched was simply 'too much information' in such a short film, but not even in the best quality, either. Perhaps, they need better budget or contents for this kind of film.


     Sikyeongjeong is a pavillion, it means even a shadow rests at this pavillion. Dan was quite impressed by this pavillion and thinking about building one for his backyard in New Orleans, which I think a great idea, since I have planned the same thing for my graduate study plan.
    Actually I prefer to build Soswaewon somewhere, though. Soswaewon is more like a vacation home, but with a sad backgroud story behind after the massacre of scholars in 1519.

     On the way to Soswaewon, we saw a lot of bamboo trees. Of course, bamboo trees mean the characteristics of scholars who are supposed to be straight like these tree without any dishonesty or twisting around.

     Now, we move on to Buddhism after Confucianism. We arrived in Songgwangsa. I remember this view from the mountain several years ago when I went there with the group of Korean studies from Ewha.
     Perhaps, I miss all the trips we made then. I liked that ourselves had to prepare for a short presentation for each spot where we go. There were always a lot of pop quizzes from Professor Choi.
     The treasure museum of Songgwangsa has a manuscript from Kubilai which was valued by a Tibetian monk recently after being in the storage without any light for a long time. I guess I have to postpone to write more about the history of Mongolia and Korea to some time later, since it is also related to Japan.

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