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Re-telling. CYGF. Jeju-do. (Workshop)

The project Re-telling was selected by CYGF 2018 to be implemented in the South Korean village of Namsung, southwest of the island Jeju. The first stage of implementation was developed in October 2019 by the authors of the project: Rosita Bannert, Nina Gschlößl and Linda Weiß, and advised and supported by alfonso borragán and Kidai Kim as workshop leaders.

The Global Youth Culture Forum (GYCF)  is a program that aims to activate the conversation between a global organization and local administrations – namely, the United Cities Local Governments (UCLG) and the Municipality of Jeju and the government of the Self Governing Province of Jeju. After the great outcome of Jeju’s Second UCLG Culture Summit in 2017, three key elements were identified to drive the debate on development and future of the island: Culture, Public Space and Youth. 

Taking these elements into account, the First GYCF was set up in 2018 with the mission of broadening the discussions and roots of  the cultural field. The neighborhoods of Namsung and the Old Downtown in Jeju were selected as the two host places, where 55 participants from 22 countries gathered and worked together. In 2019 the Second GYCF was held, and worked along two main tracks: an implementing group and idea-developing group. Re-telling was the project implemented during the October 2019 program.  It proposed a sound installation, a sound archive and a website in Namsung Village to activate and memorize the Soyongchun stream. 

Aural Architecture refers to the properties of a space that can be experienced by listening. An aural architect, acting as both an artist and a social engineer, is therefore someone who selects specific aural attributes of a space based on what is desirable in a particular cultural framework. (Blesser and Salter, 2009, MIT) 

This aural architecture project was carried out with people in the South Korean village of Namsung in the southwest of Jeju, where a small river called Soyongchun flows. Its shape enables one to understand why it was given the nickname, “little dragon”. It flows underground, and is now covered in concrete. We fell in love with the idea of the rapid river flowing beneath our feet, which we couldn’t see, and were unable to interact with. Yet at some points along the Soyongchun, the river is audible and talks to us. Our proposal put forth an idea to create an aural sculpture/bench alongside the river, so that people could hear and talk to it. The listening device operated in two ways: physically, through a resonant sculpture and bench, and digitally as an archive that collected the stories of the river to make it present in the village. The project involved an extensive implementation process to ensure its embeddedness in the community and collect the stories of the river to make it present in village life. Re-telling, aims to bridge the old and the new, the young and old, what lies beneath and what is above.