Monday, May 12, 2008

Calling all Creative Aliens...

I know you're out there - trained artists, dancers, musicians, actors, writers, film makers… all probably working off a student debt or saving for your next project by teaching English somewhere in Korea. If you're like I was when I first arrived, maybe you don't know how to get involved in creative arts projects here, or that a vibrant art festival scene even exists.

It was quite a shock for me to discover that performance art is actually quite big in Korea - with numerous festivals happening all over the country especially in the summer months. Now what I'm talking about here is not the "performing arts" - which is a general term for entertainment in the form of theatre, dance, music, but rather art-based performance, sometimes called "live art". If you think of the art "happenings" in the '60s and '70s when artists did strange things in galleries and public spaces you're on the right track.

Nowadays with new technology, the forms of performance art are ever expanding, and the boundaries between "performing arts" and "performance art" are blurring. I guess the best way of describing performance art is as an event that involves the live presence of the artist(s) and expresses a concept through any kind of media. While that definition may sound kind of dry and boring, it actually means that anything goes and so it's one of the most exciting and energetic art fields today.

In Korea, many provincial cities hold annual performance art festivals, often with a community focus, and organisers would like to invite foreign artists to participate, but the language barrier and lack of any centralised network of communication for in-country creative foreigners usually prohibits contact. Sure there are foreigners who get together, usually in Seoul, and make music or have the odd solo exhibition, but that's usually targeted only at the foreign/English-speaking community. There is an exciting opportunity to also share creative ideas and have cultural exchange with the Korean community - if we can make contact.

If you would like to connect with the Korean creative community I will post links on this Art'n'about blog, and I'd also love to hear from you about any upcoming art projects or existing groups. So watch the side bar and upcoming posts...

The author of this blog is an Australian contemporary artist living in Korea who works in performance, installation and community art events. You can see her blog at

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