《Gentil, Gentle: The Advent of a New Community》
- Gallery 4
《Gentil, Gentle: The Advent of a New Community》 is an exhibition that begins by asking, “What appearances, attitudes, and sensations are involved in living the lives of the new ‘we’ in a liquid society?” Eulsukdo, Saha-gu, Busan where the museum is located in a habitat for migratory birds and is a space for movement and coexistence. The new ‘we’ who make up 1.5% of the total population in the Western Busan area live together with us. The number of ‘we’ whom we call ‘immigrants’ in this region was 54,000 as of 2018. We uncovered an ambivalent attitude between the still awkward unfamiliarity with being called ‘we’ and the gestures used to understand them. This exhibition is intended to explore the sociocultural meaning of a community and its aspects deriving from such site specific characteristics captured by our ambivalent attitude, and is approached in consideration of its potential.
For French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy, there has been a nostalgia for community throughout all ages. As the ideal community is a myth that has not yet materialized, our obsession with it results in collective insecurity and a negative attitude toward strangers. We are suddenly led to remember one of the topics of our society: migrants, refugees, and North Korean defectors. Can we not determine our attitude toward new habitants using only sensational press reports and just see them sympathetically on the basis of the learned concept of one ethnic race?
In this regard, the participating artists show their concern for the balance of relations and common sense through installations, sound art, and performances. Their works turn the whole exhibition space into a scene through a phenomenon we face and an amplification of this encounter. The audience comes to realize that they are requested to work as actors or performers on a theatrical stage when they see a choreographer’s performance or make gestures while walking around the exhibition. This evokes a metaphorical association of strangers or a communal feeling through a synesthetic shift. Our synesthesia is triggered when the movements, eyes, and gestures of viewers who walk among large-scale installations in the venue come into contact with sounds.
This venue works as a contact zone in which visitors can form relationships with others and confront certain situations. Such a place asks viewers to think of it as a laboratory or a meaningful location that presents a coming community and to embody perceptual and emotional experiences. We are already living on a single stage. We call those on it, meet them despite differences, and develop relationships with them. Although we still do not know how to do it, the possibility of existence itself is affirmed whenever we sit around and look at one another. We might be able to discover some things that could help to create fissures in a worldview that makes an undefined life possible. You are asked to take a look at the gap between us as a clue to what makes a community.
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