[KS] AAS panel: "Almost, but Not Quite: Modernism and Visuality in Korea"

Frank Hoffmann frank at koreaweb.ws
Mon Aug 1 18:07:23 EDT 2005

Dear All:

We are looking for a fourth scholar to present a paper in this 
planned AAS panel (not an art historian, but maybe a sociologist, 
anthropologist, historian). Whatever the 4th paper would be about, 
some attention should be given to below described contradictions of 
the development of modern visuality in 20th century Korea. Both, 
panel title and description are just preliminary!

If interested, please contact Frank Hoffmann at fr.ho at gmx.net for 
further details.
The annual AAS Meeting will be held in San Francisco, April 6-9, 2006.

"Almost, but Not Quite: Modernism and Visuality in Korea"

Modernism itself is a collective term encompassing the various 
authentic cultural responses to late 19th and early to mid-20th 
century European and American changes in industrialization, sciences, 
and social life. Informed by Freudian theory as well as Social 
Darwinism and its belief in permanent, forward-going development of 
human kind it reacted to a growing alienation and searched for 
alternatives to outdated moral values and cultural practices. In 
Korea modernism was promoted as part of the package of colonial 
institutions and their activities (exhibitions, award and censorship 
systems, education, etc.). As a packaged import of modern styles, all 
imported at roughly the same time, modernism -- other than in Europe 
-- could hardly be a response to anything. The colonial power 
structure, coupled with the West-East flow of modern culture in the 
20th century, left Korea in a situation where it had little chance 
than constantly comparing its own production of art work, fashion, 
design, etc. with what was done in Tokyo, Berlin, Paris, New York -- 
thus thoroughly limiting itself. Rather than being a response 
movement itself, what we see are various responses to modernism that 
dealt with these inherent contradictions, mostly Koreanization 
attempts (e.g. the use of Korean paper, Korean motifes and script, 
etc., even in minimalist art) and at least one major attempt in 
creating alternative modern art and culture. Of course, from the 
1980s the Minjung Cultural Movement and later post-modern Korean 
culture have been successful in redefining a Korean avant-garde.

The planned panel will address Korean art production, visual change 
as well as change in visuality (colonial period to the present). 
Visuality should hereby not be limited to art per se, but should 
ideally address advertisement, media, Internet culture (the visual 
part of it), city development, architecture, and more.


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