October 27, 2017 - Busan Biennale - Sea Art Festival 2017: Ars Ludens: Sea+Art+Fun
October 27, 2017

Busan Biennale

Overview of Sea Art Festival 2017.

Sea Art Festival 2017
Ars Ludens: Sea+Art+Fun
September 16–October 15, 2017

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Sea Art Festival 2017 under Artistic Director Do, Tae-Keun brought together 41 artworks by 41 artists (teams) from 11 countries and has finally come to an end after its 30-day journey from September 16 through October 15, 2017. The festival attracted 384,526 viewers, greatly exceeding its goal of 250,000. This is the largest number of viewers the festival has attracted since it first began holding the independent art event in 2011. This suggests that the festival has received a positive response from the general public.

Is art always serious and hard to understand? Sea Art Festival asks and the public answers.
Sea Art Festival 2017 was intended to represent the playful traits of art under the proposition that art should be fun, breaking away from the prejudice that contemporary art is difficult. A wide array of artworks exhibited against the backdrop of the sea provoked positive responses from the audience, thereby setting the tone for the popularization of contemporary art and the expansion of the base that the Busan Biennale has been pursuing since its inauguration.

Taking place at one of Busan’s beaches, Sea Art Festival’s escape from a white cube provided it no limitations in terms of space, allowing it to seek popular art open to everyone. The festival reinvents the sea as a place where new imaginations are realized, providing viewers with new and playful experiences. The festival was a great success that drew approximately 300,000 viewers, most of whom visited during the Chuseok holiday. It was the talk of the town as “a must-see place this autumn” and went viral on SNS. Play of Language by DM Turtle Stone offers visual and aural entertainment as a lyrical work that taps into synesthesia. There was an unusual scene where people had lined up to take photographs in front of this artwork. 

Academic programs designed to enhance the discursive understanding of playful art
Sea Art Festival 2017 has presented a variety of academic programs associated with its main theme, Ars Ludens: Sea+Art+Fun, putting more emphasis on such programs than previously. Scholars in a wide array of fields such as art history, aesthetics, formative arts, and design were invited to the symposium in order to lend depth to the programs. In addition, discussions on a broad spectrum of issues were held in the Agora lecture for the general public. Participating artists discussed their views on art with the audience in the artists talk while open seminar conducted through real time streaming lent freshness to the lectures suitable for the digital era. 

Sea Art Festival 2017 sought to engage the public through viewer participation.
This year's Sea Art Festival served as a forum for new artistic experience and communication through various programs as well as an exhibition. Prior to its opening, Art Mate, a program in which viewers join in making artworks with artists was well received by attendees. A variety of events such as education and experience programs, an art concert, and an art market spurred viewer participation.

Do Tae-Keun, the artistic director of Sea Art Festival 2017 revealed his thoughts, “I am pleased that Sea Art Festival can be born again as a cultural event loved by citizens,” giving his own estimation that “I am satisfied that our concern about popularity we put into consideration from its planning stage seemed to be rewarded through this successful run and great response from the public.”

Sea Art Festival 2017 began in bad weather including the typhoon that hit the Busan area at the time but was more successful than ever despite concerns. Consequently, it is an art event that has achieved its goal of “playful art” and proved the proposition that “art can be fun.” With the festival ended, the organizing committee will begin preparing to launch the Busan Biennale to be held in 2018. 

Busan Biennale
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Ars Ludens: Sea+Art+Fun
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