Philipp Misselwitz and Eui Young Chun were appointed as curators of the Gwangju Folly 2012 project. Their curatorial approach describes a folly as a critical object that oscillates between aesthetic autonomy and social-political potential. Situated in a field between a decontextualized status and contextualized condition the urban folly aims to readdress the contested question of public space.
Gwangju Folly project
The negotiation of public space in Gwangju has played a crucial role in the democratization of South Korea and has eventually become a global model and reference point for effective grassroots political mobilization. During the May 18, 1980 democratic uprising the city center became an urban stage for public demonstrations that triggered political transformation in the country. Today, a multitude of commemorative plaques, signs, and memorials mark historical sites of the uprising throughout Gwangju. In 2011, the Gwangju Uprising received global recognition through UNESCO, which included the movement into the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.
Instead of understanding public space as a mere question of preservation, the project aims to use the Gwangju Folly project as an investigative frame to examine the present day constitution of spatial practice—in contemporary Gwangju as well as in a global arena.
Gwangju Folly project 2012
Previously an integral part of the Design Biennale, the Gwangju Folly project will be completed by November 2012, for the first time, as an independent event. Under the curatorship of leading artists and architects such as Seung H-sang and Ai Weiwei in the previous edition, the Gwangju Folly project has invited some of the most renowned spatial practitioners in the world, such as Peter Eisenman and Alejandro Zaera-Polo, to construct permanent follies in the urban space of Gwangju.The project will feature several artists, architects, writers, and collectives from diverse contexts. Expanding select locations across the city, Gwangju Folly will present new commissions in November 2012. The physical manifestations of the project will be accompanied by a symposium, several workshops, and a publication.
Hirsch’s appointment makes him the second Director of the Gwangju Folly Project—the city-wide public architecture program—which was inaugurated last year by Korean architect Seung H-Sang, the Artistic Director of the 4th Gwangju Design Biennale. As Hirsch arrived in Gwangju, on May 4th to assume his new role, he stated: “It is an honor for me to be directing the Gwangju Folly Project which have been receiving wide attention even outside the city of Gwangju.”
When asked about his curatorial direction for this year’s Gwangju Folly, Hirsch declared that he “will focus on creating a discussion that is architectural, aesthetic, and artistic while at the same time communicating with the Gwangju citizens and reflecting the unique characteristics of Gwangju.” “From now on,” continued Hirsch, “I will work thoroughly in examining the history, culture, and the environment of Gwangju to find the appropriate sites and architects to be involved with the project and to hammer out a new masterplan.”
Nikolaus Hirschis the director of Städelschule and Portikus in Frankfurt. His architectural work includes the award-winning Dresden Synagogue (2001), unitednationsplaza (2007), European Kunsthalle (2007), the Cybermohalla Hub in Delhi (2008–2012), and currently a new studio structure for The Land (with Rirkrit Tiravanija and Kamin Letchaiprasert). Hirsch curated ErsatzStadt: Representations of the Urban at Volksbühne Berlin (2005), Cultural Agencies in Istanbul (2010), Globe (2011), The Frankfurt Conversation (with Hans Ulrich Obrist, 2011), and numerous exhibitions at the Portikus Kunsthalle. He is the author of the books On Boundaries (2007), Track 17 (2009), Institution Building (2009), and Cybermohalla Hub (2012).
Philipp Misselwitz is an architect and curator based in Berlin and currently a professor of International Urbanism at Stuttgart University. He has worked as a consultant, researcher, and curator for a number of organizations including German Development Cooperation (GIZ) and the United Nations. His curatorial work includes Space Time Dignity Rights (DAZ Berlin, 2012) which will be shown at the World Urban Forum in Naples in September 2012. His curatorial work (with Can Altay) also includes Refuge (2009), commissioned by the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (2009); Open City Istanbul (2010), Cultural Agencies (2010) in Istanbul; City of Collision in Jerusalem (2008); European Kunsthalle (2007); and Liminal Spaces (2007).
Eui Young Chun is a Seoul-based architect and professor at the Graduate School of Architecture at Kyonggi University. He completed his PhD at Seoul National University in 1999 and is a graduate of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. His work includes the remodeling of L-view Building in Seoul (2000), the Kwon hospital in Suwon-City (2002), the headquarters for Noblesse in Seoul (2004), ‘K’ Publishing in Paju (2005), and the Kyonggi University Graduate School of Architecture Building (2011). Chun also led the Seoul Design Olympiad in 2009 as Director General.