THE REVOLUTION IS URBAN
- KIM SEONGYOUL, KIM YOOJIN & KIM BYUNGCHAN, AHN YONGDAE, YEO CHANGHO, LEE WONYOUNG, WON HOSUNG, WOO SHINKOO, LEE KICHUL, LEE SUNGHO, PYO EUNGSEOK
- Gallery 1 + SCULPTURE PARK
In March 2020, the World Health Organization announced that the coronavirus outbreak had become a pandemic. It was an official recognition of the fact that a disease with the highest level of infectiousness was spreading worldwide. In a sense, infectious diseases have always been a part of human history. After the bubonic plague, which obliterated much of medieval Europe, the 19th century was characterized as “the era of widespread diseases”—namely because of cholera, which joined forces with famine to cause damages comparable to a large-scale war. In the 20th century, Spanish influenza, which actually began in the United States, spanned a continent and an ocean to spread rampantly in Korea (which was a territory of Japan at the time). Gyeongseong (today’s Seoul) was hit so hard that it incurred damages equivalent to the accumulated damages wrought by all the plagues that swept the region over the several preceding centuries. Nevertheless, the spaces through which an infectious disease sweeps do not degenerate into momentum-less sinkholes. Retrospectively, we know that, in fact, infectious disease is an important factor that drives change in residential spaces, public architecture, and the fabric of daily life.
Each time in history that a devastating event (like COVID-19) wreaked havoc on human systems, whether philosophy or science, various urban factors survived and grew by converging (sometimes aggressively) with one another.
The Revolution is Urban spotlights the architectural factor. Today, there is great demand to refurbish all of the spaces that we inhabit to combat a virus that is invisible to the naked eye. New social demands will be made of urban spaces in order to address issues that are directly related to livelihood, while a new paradigm will emerge that defines the extents to which a space should both promote and block communication. The Museum of Contemporary Art Busan commissioned 11 architects who have proven their ability to read the changes occurring in our spaces today, predict the changes that will occur in the future, and visualize those changes in bold, imaginative ways. The creations on display at this exhibition show each architect’s “answer” to the question of how the spaces we inhabit are in the process of or will be changed by the COVID-19 epidemic. As such, we believe that, in this exhibition, the word “urban” also refers to the concept of spatial growth/development.
To avoid infringing upon the purity of the concept of the ideal space in today’s situation, which has no clear start or end, the 11 architects featured in this exhibition engaged in in-depth debate from the preparatory stage. We asked that they intentionally set aside the ideals and rules that govern architecture in order to overturn the universality of space—which is what his exhibition aims to do. Although the use of the word “revolutionary” in the title may have brought to mind heavy sociopolitical meaning, this exhibition may turn out to be more approachable than you imagined. The crossing of an important, watershed line and not going back over it is also a feature of revolution, as is the declaration that non-traditional/conventional lifestyles can exist.
Ultimately, the works featured in this exhibition can be grouped into two categories: 1) creations through which the architect calmly describes, as if in writing, our reality, in which the abnormal has become normal, and 2) those that embody a concrete architectural discourse for the post-COVID-19 world. We hope that these creations, which may seem to lack “definition” but are therefore very flexible, can propose a new direction for cities and urban spaces to take in the coming years.
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