CREAM has formed a new international research and cultural exchange network with partners in South Korea. The network is the outcome of the NextGen Cultural Connect project, an initiative of the Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange (KOFICE), intended to stimulate exchanges between UK and Korean arts researchers and organisations. As part of KOFICE’s Korean Season 2023, commemorating 140 years of Korea-UK diplomatic relations, Prof. May Adadol Ingawanij was invited to represent CREAM in co-organising a series of research and cultural exchange events with academics from Korea National University of Arts (K-ARTS) and Sogang University.
In November, CREAM PhD researchers and alumni, Iram Ghufran, Matthias Kispert, Lucy Rogers and Ukrit Sa-nguanhai travelled to Seoul with Prof. Ingawanij to participate in the Connected Campus week curated by Art Collider Lab, K-ARTS, and to guest teach at the Department of Art & Technology, Sogang University and at K-ARTS. This was the first iteration of the exchange activities between CREAM, AC Lab at K-ARTS, and Sogang University. Prof. Ingawanij, together with Hana Yun (AC Lab), Prof Junho Oh (Art & Technology at Sogang University), and Hangjun Lee (KOFICE), worked together to design this exchange project, whose aim is to build an ongoing platform for research and pedagogical exchanges and to collaboratively explore possibilities of artistic, curatorial and practice research connecting Korea and the UK.
The week in Seoul began with Prof Ingawanij’s talk at Sogang University about her curatorial project Animistic Apparatus. She discussed how the project initially drew inspiration from ritual and animistic uses of itinerant film projection around Thailand and neighboring territories since the Cold War period. She also talked about how the project has been deploying curatorial methods such as organising fieldtrips, collaborative research with artists, and experimentations in exhibition-making and film programming, to develop its proposition that Southeast Asian contemporary artists’ moving image are relational, cosmological and futural forms.
At K-ARTS, CREAM Researchers were invited to attend the opening of Connected Campus. AC Lab’s curation of the 2023 iteration of this week-long event, held around the historically significant campus of K-ARTS, highlighted the theme of more-than-human worlds. At the opening event, there were wide-ranging live and screen-based performances by K-ARTS staff and students that utilised emergent technologies in highly creative ways.
During the Connected Campus week, AC Lab featured the works of CREAM researchers that speak to the theme of more-than-human worlds. CREAM PhD alumna Dr. Ghufran screened her film, A Terrible Beauty, completed as part of her PhD research. The film is an experimental documentary exploring the notion of being human in a complex multispecies world. Blending observational documentary with science fiction, A Terrible Beauty tells a speculative tale of two time-travelling companions, Lucy and Blue, as they journey through the mysterious Miracle City, an intriguing place populated with anthropomorphic good and objects such as dolls, mannequins and androids. A conversation between Dr. Ghufran and Prof. Ingawanij followed the screening at K-ARTS.
Alongside taking part in the public events, CREAM researchers were also invited to guest teach postgraduate and undergraduate students at Sogang University and K-ARTS. At the Department of Art & Technology, Sogang University, the researchers gave feedback on the students’ works and facilitated open discussions on research-led methods of developing artistic, creative and curatorial works. Ghufran, Kispert, Rogers and Sa-nguanhai ended the rewarding experience of interacting with the students in Seoul by giving presentations on their CREAM PhD research projects.
Another activity during the AC Lab’s Connected Campus week was the international forum More-than-human: exploring nonhuman and beyond. CREAM’s Prof. Neal White was invited to join the session on interdependent coexistence with an online presentation, which partly drew on the work of CREAM’s Ecological Futurisms platform as well as his collaborative artistic research projects exploring climate change impacts. Prof. White’s presentation asked: how might we work with more-than-human life to become artistic and cultural activists?
In December, CREAM will host the London visit of academics and students from Sogang University and K-ARTS, and KOFICE representatives. Led by Hana Yun (AC Lab) and Prof. Junho Oh (Sogang University), the visiting academics and students will take part in CREAM’s PhD research symposium and visit exhibitions and events across London and the South East featuring CREAM researchers.
NextGen Cultural Connect project, Korean Season 2023, funded by the Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange.