August 21, 2017 - Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism - Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2017: Imminent Commons
e-flux Architecture
August 21, 2017
August 21, 2017

Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism

Walking the Commons: Brainwave Flaneur, Live Projects Seoul.

Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2017
Imminent Commons
September 2–November 5, 2017

Opening week: August 31–September 5
Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) and Donuimun Museum Village, Seoul
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Co-directors: Hyungmin Pai, Alejandro Zaera-Polo

The inaugural Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism opens on September 2, 2017, a week from now in Seoul Korea. With the thematic of the Imminent Commons, the Seoul Biennale proposes a new paradigm in architecture and urbanism as well as a new kind of biennale. The official opening ceremony begins 2:00 pm September 2 with Won-soon Park, Mayor of Seoul and many local and international dignitaries in attendance. The opening festivities are directed by the renowned Korean choreographer and dancer Eun Me Ahn. Speakers at the Seoul Biennale Opening Forum include Ricky Burdett, Berry Bergdoll, Yong Woo Lee, Rahul Mehrotra, Inho Song and Saskia Sassen.

Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism is an invitation to see and understand the city, including Seoul, anew. The urban fabric of Seoul will be a stage that invites an array of agents to engage in specific biopolitical performances. Rather than an exhibition enclosed within gallery walls, the Seoul Biennale will be part of the everyday fabric of the city where the imminent commons are enacted. The old historical center of Seoul is host to the three main exhibition sections - Thematic Exhibition: 9 Commons, Cities Exhibition: Commoning Cities, and the Live Projects – and Public Programs that include the film and video program, international studios, and guided tours. Zaha Hadid’s Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), located in the historical East Gate, hosts the more than fifty installations from municipalities, research institutes, schools that comprise the Cities Exhibition. The Seoul Biennale will also coincide with the first public exposure of the new Donuimun Museum Village and with the reopening of the Sewoon Sangga megastructure. Donuimun Museum Village is a beautifully complex fabric of small offices and houses, including the traditional Korean hanok, gardens, and back alleys. The Donuimun Museum Village has been curated as an “urban village,” where the installations of the Nine Commons finds their place in each house, room, and courtyard. As a village, it has a central square, restaurant, café, library, shops, the Seoul History Museum next door as its movie theater, and a palace ground for its park.   

Urban Foodshed at the Donuimun Museum Village

The Biennale Restaurant in the Donuimun Museum Village is an essential component of the Urban Foodshed section of the Live Projects. Urban Foodshed, intricately connected to the Nine Commons, looks at the future of the city through the lens of food—the result of the interaction of air, water, earth, and energy—and the issues surrounding its production, distribution, consumption, and recycling. For the restaurant, four top chefs from Eden restaurant in Chennai will reside in Seoul during the Biennale, offering vegetarian dishes from southern India. Every Saturday, farmers, botanists, entomologists, soil biologists, environmentalists, administrators, and citizens will dine and talk about urban farming, biodiversity, seed sovereignty, climate change, genetically modified food, shrinking bee populations, and sustainable agriculture.

Walking the Commons, Walking in Seoul

Another way of exploring Seoul will be provided by Walking the Commons. The Brainwave Flaneur, the “urban games” of Playable City, the geo-tagged original music of Musicity, the interaction between virtual ecosystems and humans of Soundlines are all site-specific programs in areas such as the newly opened pedestrian highway Seoullo by MVRDV, the restored Cheonggyecheon stream, and the old mountain walls of Seoul.  

Exploring the Central Sites of Urban Manufacturing

All the exhibitions and events of Production City take place in the key sites of manufacturing in central Seoul, including the newly renovated pedestrian deck in Sewoon Sangga and the garment factory district around the East Gate market. In addition to exhibitions, workshops, public talks, and field tours, the often hidden layers of the city will come into view as mechanisms for imagination and creativity.

To view the events calendar, click here.

Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism
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Imminent Commons
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