South Korean dissent in a global stylee
The main contributor to this blog was as lucky as to be invited to travel along to South Korea with Expodium to host a bootcamp and do some lecturing. All that preparatory work was greatly brought to a fine finish by the participating artists in the residency program of SpaceBeam, see the blog here. In that process of collaboration between Dutch, Greek and Korean artists and thinkers some topics emerged: the death of modernism as we knew it, the changes in global political dominance, and the brewing process of Cheongju. As not to bother you with any lingering on that alcohol, let’s see what those changes in global perspective could be.
If we take the list of global cities in 2015, researched and compiled by McKinsey, and to be found here we see the old Western dominance is over with. Indeed, nothing new. But interesting for audiences here, as little of us do truly understand what the new Pacific Century might bring us. American scholar Robert Kaplan wrote about it, hell, what doesn’t he write about, in 2005 already and in 2010 he published the book Monsoon, in which he writes down his research on the military developments in the Pacific.
But now that the West is losing ground wouldn’t it be more interesting and more knowledgeable to listen to scholars from ‘the rest’, to use that awful term for once and for the last time? How lucky than that festivals everywhere do realize this and invite interesting lecturers from elsewhere. One of those festivals is the new-media festival can i really get back my x
kt.nl/festival/” target=”_blank”>Impakt. With their festival theme “No more Westerns” they dive deep into the opinions, and visual culture of what used to be the Global South. One of the people they invite is the Indian scholar and lecturer Parmesh Shanani.
Somebody who isn’t at the Impakt festival but who could have been an intriguing guest is Mark Russel who wrote a very intriguing book on the rise of K-Pop. As some of you might know K-Pop is now bigger than J-Pop [Japan pop, or even C-pop, Chinese pop] and dominates the South Asian popular cultures. K-Pop is not so very popular in the West, apart from a devoted group of followers, although its’ popularity and its’ internal discussions are rising. And than of course it happened: suddenly one of the K-Pop songs became an internet hit, and PSY’s “Gangham Style” was viewed more than 40 million times. If you are one of the rare who didn’t, here.
The thing with this song is, as pointed out in this great article in the Atlantic, that it actually plays a joke on the prevalent material worlds depicted in K-Pop clips. I just use a quote from the article and hope your interest leads you to reading it completely: “a satire about Gangnam itself but also it's about how people outside Gangnam pursue their dream to be one of those Gangnam residents without even realizing what it really means.”