Something excited me. I wanted to write about it.
That’s pretty much how it goes for me, and even better when it goes well. Making my internet rounds a couple weeks ago, I came across some coverage of US-based artist Gaia‘s recent work in Seoul, a five-piece street art project that explored conflicts in Korean culture.
All my little interest antennae were piqued. But coverage was all on art sites that focus mainly on photos rather than text. I needed to know more: Why Seoul? Why this project? What was his connection? How did the project come about? How did this dude, this outsider, this traveler, find a way down into the pulse of a place, the cement aorta of the city—and leave a mark on its walls?
So I found him and I asked him. Lovely guy. You can read the text version of our 45-minute conversation over at Hi-Fructose, here.
What interested me most about the project was its deep interaction with place. It goes beyond site-specificity, for me. All street art, one could say, involves a very visceral, physical interaction with a place, its architecture, cement, rooftops—its placeness. Which I love. But this project went beyond that. The pieces spoke to very deep conflicts within the culture—tradition versus modernization, internal versus external—conflicts you could say define the culture. The project did this, not in essays or lectures, but in art, on the street. It spoke to the cultural elements of the place through the physicality of the city itself.
Pretty bad ass. And some damn good travelin.