The eight follies present a “detour into delirium” throughout the city of Gwangju, and at times they are even moving targets (on the metro or a mobile hotel), galvanizing the space between the everyday and the utopian, examining the present-day constitution of public space as a political arena.

David Adjaye, Gwanjgu River Reading Room. Courtesy Gwangju Biennale

Gwangju Folly II

Opening and conference: 10–11 November 2013

The Gwangju Biennale Foundation
111 Biennale-ro, Buk-gu
Gwangju, Republic of Korea, 500-845

President of the Gwangju Biennale Foundation: Yongwoo Lee
Artistic Director: Nikolaus Hirsch
Curators: Eui Young Chun, Philipp Misselwitz

The opening will take place on November 10 and 11 and will coincide with an international conference and the launch of the new publication Folly with contributions by renown academics, writers, and artists grappling with both the history and contemporary relevance of the folly that informs strategic interventions in public space.

Gwangju Folly II artistic director Nikolaus Hirsch and curators Philipp Misselwitz and Eui Young Chun have developed a curatorial approach within the ambiguities of a folly as a critical tool of inquiry to address the condition of public space. Since the May 18, 1980 Democratic Uprising, the negotiation of public space in Gwangju has played a crucial role in the transformation of South Korea—it has even come to signify a model for effective political mobilization. Contextualizing the potential of spatial interventions, the eight newly commissioned follies here seek to test the constitution of public space—in contemporary Gwangju as well as in the global context.

The follies

David Adjaye & Taiye Selasi: Gwangju River Reading Room
Ai Weiwei: Cubic Meter Food Cart
Seok-hong Go & Mihee Kim: Memory Box
Rem Koolhaas & Ingo Niermann: Vote
Raqs Media Collective: Autodidact’s Transport
Do Ho Suh & Suh Architects: In-between Hotel
Superflex: Power Toilets / UNESCO
Eyal Weizman with Samaneh Moafi: Roundabout Revolution 

The conference
The opening of the physical interventions coincides with an international conference with contributions by distinguished academics, writers, and artists in a critical collision of perspectives on the meaning of the folly. Speakers include Felicity D. Scott, Hamid Dabashi, Joseph Grima, Sunjung Kim, Minsuk Cho, David Adjaye, Rem Koolhaas, Ingo Niermann, Raqs Media Collective, Taiye Selasi, Do Ho Suh, Superflex, and Eyal Weizman.

The book
The Gwangju Folly II will be accompanied by a publication that takes the form of a fragmented glossary of associative thoughts and images, alongside more shrewd scholarly investigations, co-edited by assistant curator April Lamm, situating the eight new follies within a broader cultural discourse. It includes an especially commissioned photo insert by Bas Princen and contributions by Franco “Bifo” Berardi, Barry Bergdoll, Caruso St John and Thomas Demand, Joan Didion, Hu Fang, Hans Hollein, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Kyong Park, Felicity D. Scott, Stephen Squibb, Philip Ursprung, among many others (design by Markus Weisbeck/Surface with Sunah Choi, publisher Hatje Cantz, 197 pages, 119 illustrations, 17 x 24 cm, ISBN 978-3-7757-3553-7).

Photo: David Adjaye, Gwanjgu River Reading Room. Courtesy Gwangju Biennale

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