Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea
Nowon Culture and Arts Center, Seoul, South Korea
Utopian Days – Freedom was a video art festival at The Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, that presented works from 24 internationally renowned artists and collectives. From March 20th to April 13th, 2014, artists, critics and academics explored the theme of Freedom through an exhibition, talks, workshops and screenings.
The Korean Cultural & Arts Centers Association awarded Freedom and an edition was later shown in November 2014 at Nowon Culture and Arts Center in Seoul, South Korea.
Adel Abdessemed, Lida Abdul, Phil America, Ivan Argote, Chim↑Pom, Minerva Cuevas, Chto Delat?, Cyprien Gaillard, Yang-Ah Ham, Andre Hemer, Tehching Hsieh, Zhang Huan, Jani Leinonen, Klara Liden, Armando Lulaj, Matt McCormick, Filippo Minelli, Wang Qingsong, Andres Serrano, Manit Sriwanichpoom, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Kacey Wong, Xijing Men, He Yunchang
Freedom is the first edition of a traveling festival called Utopian Days; each subsequent edition intended to be held in collaboration with another institution, focusing on a different theme. Its aim is to introduce and share new perspectives on social and cultural issues through artistic practices.
For some, freedom might be, as in the case of Andres Serrano, exiting a precarious life or just being able to take a daily meal, becoming part of society again. Others, like Zhang Huan, are looking for freedom in the nonsense of their actions. Other artists use violence, in a military- like way, to feel and express their freedom, as in the battle recorded by Cyprien Gaillard.
The 24 works of the festival, each created in a specific historical, social and cultural context, will be exhibited under one roof and expose the viewer to the representations they convey and the striving for independence and freedom they appeal.
Utopia, in the common language, is a fictional construction whose realization is beyond reach. The Humanist, Thomas More coined this term in 1516 to envision an ideal society, while critiquing the existing order and calling upon reforms. The distance from reality, created through fictions like More’s Utopia, allows for a reflexive perspective and describes possible future ways of living together. In doing this, it encourages and inspires to take on a critical and active position regarding contemporary social and cultural issues.
Utopian Days approaches freedom as one of the concepts attached to utopian reflections and this in a new way. Removed from the filters that divide practices and build stereotypes, the goal is to show that in each living situation, a quest for freedom exist may it be situated in local, regional or global, individual or collective struggles
Utopian Days offers daily guided tours, talks, special screenings and workshops, and together with an audio guide, live streams, a video archive, hardcover catalogue and more aspires to fostering an exchange of ideas, both in- and outside of Korea. A bilingual website will allow visitors to share their experiences and interpretations of the works directly on the page or on dedicated social network streams through #utopiandays. Long-lasting results will be obtained in recurring episodes of the festival, feeding into a growing archive.