What role do the arts play in the development and culture of a city? How can a city’s cultural identity play a role in building its industries and communities? How can people in cities learn from each other through the arts in order to build more creative, inclusive, regenerated and smarter cities?
UK/Korea 2017–18 is a British Council season celebrating and showcasing the UK’s innovation and excellence in the arts and creative industries in. Through this programme, the British Council will bring together Korean and British artists and practitioners to ask questions about the role of arts and culture in the city under the theme of Connected City. Through the exchange of ideas and practice, new commissions and collaborations and public interventions, audiences and local communities across Korea will explore how they might reimagine their own city.
Through Connected City’s series of projects, artists, designers, architects, musicians, producers and other creative practitioners from the UK and Korea will address common challenges in their cities of sustaining creative sector and engaging the community to participate in the process of urban regeneration through culture. Projects will run from July to October 2017 with the final projects presented at the Connected City conference in Seoul on 31 October.
For the first Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, running 1 September – 5 November, the British Council’s Architecture Design Fashion team have commissioned two projects in collaboration with the Biennale under their theme of Production City which examines the role of making and production in London and Seoul.
London Made – a film specially commissioned for the Biennale as a part of their ‘Cities’ exhibition – peels back the layers of production behind the Barbican, a major cultural venue in the capital, tracing the threads of production from the stage to behind the scenes, to uncover and celebrate the places, skills and networks of makers and manufacturers which keep London working. Crucially, the film will illustrate the key challenges and opportunities facing London as a productive city.
Project Seoul Apparel, a residency and exhibition project, identifies the urgent issues facing the declining garment manufacturing businesses of the Chansingdong area of Seoul through collaboration between UK and Korean architects and fashion designers who will produce new work using the skills and materials of Chansingdong, suggesting new models for the district’s sustainable future.
The Maker City residency and exhibition project builds on these themes and considers the role of community engagement and participation in the development of a productive city. Working with the Urban Regeneration Center of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, architects from UK practice Studio NEON will undertake a 4-week residency in the Seoul Station manufacturing district to explore urban regeneration challenges in the area through artistic collaboration and exchange between local makers and artists and communities.
Playable City, a series of interactive commissions by Korean artists, continues the exploration of urban regeneration. Using the theme of ‘Urban Games’, seven digitally-enabled new public art commissions will ask communities to connect to their city in new ways; re-imaging the use for the well-known areas. The programme encourages debate and invites communities to participate in their city’s development through play.
Connected City also encourages communities to engage with their cities through art in public spaces. Through the Musicity project, seven recording artists from the UK and Korea compose original music in response to seven different sites in Seoul. These exclusive tracks are then geo-tagged to their locations throughout the city and can only be heard by visiting each location and streaming or downloading the music through a purpose-built app. While through Performing City, communities experience the disruption of public space through art; Chorus, a collection of monumental and transfixing sound sculptures created by sound artist Ray Lee, will be installed in Seoullo 7010 and will be accompanied by a dance performance.
Considering how the creative exploration of cities can help to shape them, Storytelling City pairs UK and Korean writers and graphic novelists to produce new works of writing in response to their shared experiences of each other’s cities through a series of exchanges in the UK and Korea.