Are there other borderlands and boundaries that interest you in the same way as the DMZ? Where else in the world do we find this similar conditions of suspended time?
Borrowing from Foucault’s words, can we understand the DMZ as a “heterotopia,” a place that is both a materialised utopia and a site outside all sites, a space that challenges other spaces and inverts them?
Recently, I researched Bamseom in Seoul for an exhibition made in collaboration with artist Jungju An at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. The previously residential Bamseom was detonated in 1968 for the development of Seoul. Since then, it has gradually and naturally regenerated with accumulating sediments and plants and has become a large sanctuary for migratory birds. Bamseom, a site no longer accessible to humans, is a hybrid space represented by nature restored from artificial conditions, and it is juxtaposed with our work that reconsider the relationship between humans, nature, and objects.
I also believe that the intersections between myself and others, the ideal and the real, East and West, and past and present continue to shape me in all their boundaries. I’m also interested in the senses across space and time through four-dimensional time travel and warp drive.
Heterotopia is a concept elaborated by philosopher Michel Foucault to describe certain cultural, institutional and discursive spaces that are somehow ‘other’: disturbing, intense, incompatible, contradictory or transforming. Heterotopias are worlds within worlds, mirroring and yet upsetting what is outside. Foucault provides examples: ships, cemeteries, bars, brothels, prisons, gardens of antiquity, fairs, Muslim baths and many more. Foucault outlines the notion of heterotopia on three occasions between 1966-67. A talk given to a group of architects is the most well-known explanation of the term. His first mention of the concept is in his preface to 'The Order of Things' and refers to texts rather than socio-cultural spaces.
CLICK HERE to read "Des Espace Autres,” published by the French journal Architecture /Mouvement/ Continuité in October, 1984, and which stands as the basis of a lecture given by Michel Foucault in March 1967 on Heterotopia
Bamseom is a pair of islets in the River Han in Seoul, South Korea. Bamseom means "chestnut island". The uninhabited islets are located between the larger island of Yeouido, to which they were once connected, and the north shore. They remain connected to one another by a narrow strip of sedimentary silt. Seogang Bridge passes directly over the western islet, though there is no access available, as the islets have been left as a natural sanctuary. There is, however, an observation point for bird-watching. Migratory birds use the islets often and among the birds which can be seen are mallards, great egrets, mandarins, common kestrels, and Eastern spot-billed ducks.