citylife


I have had quite eventful two weeks.  After TEDxHONGIK after party on Friday, I really had to stay in this weekend to recoup my energy & here is why.

Seoul Digital Forum 2010

On thursday from two weeks ago, I was invited to go to Seoul Digital Forum at Sheraton Hotel.  With title, ‘New Renaissance’ they had many many interesting panel talk about 3D, gestural interface, bio-plastic and creativity with 50 influential professionals inviteed from all over the world.  This event was aired on SBS with its highlights (& I was on TV this year again as an audience 😉  ) It was a full day of inspiration.  I was glad that I made it there.

Rock, Paper & Scissors, Public Art under the bridge

rachel
jamie on the swing skirt by Soomi Park
graffiti artwork

A week before that, I met some global artists when I visited Namjun Peik’s Art Center to see a performance one Sunday.  They are friends with local Korean artists who mostly studied abroad and returned as contemporary artists.  I was a newbie to them as I introduced myself but, they were friendly with warm welcoming gesture.  Then, I was invited to a very interesting art event by them.  It was called ‘rock scissors paper + B.Y.O.G.B. Vol 5/ 가위 바위 보‘ organized by Kalmont Family.  I stopped by the flea market at the play ground near Hongik University area to say ‘hi’ to them after visiting lab.  After meeting them again, I definitely wanted to go to this event.  It was held under Seogang Bridge which is one of many bridges in Han River.

graffiti artwork

I left my house around 10:30 pm and took a subway to this Seogang Bridge stop knowing it’s the one way subway ride as the seoul metro closes after midnight. (I would never even had thought about going there late at night alone before.) There were drawings of rock, scissors and paper indicating the path lead to the place kindly.  Under the bridge, there were international (mostly foreign) crowd of about 50 people (later 100?.)  They were drinking beer, makguli, wine – talking in small groups here and there – typical party scene in the us.  There I met some more interesting people.  Most of all, the art, the true public art – street art were great!  I admire their efforts of putting their arts during night to have this open, under the bridge exhibition.  We did get a lovely visits by local police officers but, they weren’t doing anything to stop us – as we were peacefully having fun in public space & most of all, the majority were foreigners so they only spoke with a Korean represent.  Later on, in the tunnel, they had beautiful performance.  This artistic event has come out perfect in great spirit, spontaneously. I walked out around 2 am & got home for the next day’s salon event as I was asked to make cocktails for a salon at gallery/cafe, ‘B2Project.’  I bet the rest of them stayed until late and had more fun after they got out of the place.

Salon Day at b2project & Cocktails

at B2Project with a friend who I just met

Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of my Mojito nor my signature cocktail made with fresh watermelon.  I was really busy making pitchers of cocktails – we ran out of lime quickly.  I was surprised that lime is something you cannot get easily here in Korea.  It’s quite expensive as well!   In any case, I can assure you that my cocktails came out delicious!

As I had a busy night under the Seogang bridge a night ago, I slept until 11am and slowly got ready to go to B2Project.  The weather was beautiful and sunny so I’ve decided to bike there.  It was a long bike ride.  I had no idea as it was my first time.  It almost took one hour to get there and I was sweating by the time I arrived. (oops!)

J (a friend and one of the owners of the place) was having a salon for her friend, painter from Germany and her paintings were beautiful.  Very eastern painting feel to them, in black and white oil paints – mostly landscape.  I liked them…  hew, what a weekend!

And Teacher’s Day

Following week, it was teacher’s day.  I was visited by several ex-students of mine.  They are doing great and it was sooooo sweet of them to visit me and think of me.  I had some good chance to catch up with them and I’ve ended up drinking with one of them.  Sorry that I’m too tired now so that I will have to skip about this story.  One thing is that having insightful conversation with a former student made me think that teachers like me can learn from her/his own students sometimes.  It was very pleasant week beside the fact that I was coughing non-stop with lack of sleep.  I’m feeling better now… 🙂

I’m waiting for June now.  I know June will unfold with even more interesting events and meetings.

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bike @ bakery

파티세리. 비 patisserie, Bi is a small french bakery store across my building. I biked to Cinecube this afternoon to buy movie tickets then strolled a bit. It was a bit hot but, there were enough breeze to cool my sweat. This cute pastisserie has good sandwiches. I had an egg sandwich & capuccino. It was a lovely sunday afternoon.

Indian restaurant, Dal in Chungdamdong, Seoul, Korea.

I’ve been having Indian food craving so Jia took me to this newly opened Indian restaurant near Dosan Park area. There are several decent restaurants in this area. The prices are steep but, you never get disappointed.

Dal was also great. great food, great presentation. We sat at the balcony and talked some more about new book idea together. It was a lovely evening…until she drove me to my neigbhourhood.

Every road on the way to my neighourhood were all closed with the military policemen’s buses – again. I asked her to drop me off at the closest place where I could walk home. After walking along a wall of mp officers and buses, I found an open spot where they let me pass. It was so empty and quiet when I across the police line. I could walk through empty 16 lane wide roads which is usually filled with running cars. wow, it was so surreal – like NYC with black out in 2003. I felt like being in the eye of hurricane. In that surreal setting, I walked home leisurely. Oh, I eat beef anyway.

“I’m Not There” – Cinecube Theater

Are you a Bob Dylan fan? Then you should definitely go see this movie. This 135 min Mocumentary style movie was pretty experimental. It’s not the best film but, it was interesting enough to see how the director, Todd Haynes created 6 characters who are not Bob Dylan but has characters of Bob Dylan in different times and names. Still, not as interesting as Bob Dylan’s music itself but, it’s definitely worth watching it. I guess I liked this movie better than I would have… which means I had a good company to watch with. Someone who is like my long lost twin.

It wasn’t so bad tonight. I mean the rally. They usually block more streets than tonight. I passed by Sejong theater center and saw a policeman kindly taking some photos for tourists in the middle of military policemen and their buses. We couldn’t help not laughing. The breeze was really nice tonight. I wish I could have taken a long walk but, it was too late for that.

Thanks to Jonah Brucker-Cohen & Make, one of the Digital Media Design students’ projects that I wrote about in last entry got some attention & interest.

Here is the Makezine blog: http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/06/emoticon_mask_will_make_y.html

& Gizmodo: http://gizmodo.com/5014085/emotion-mask-brings-kekekekeke-to-life

& Engadget: http://www.engadget.com/2008/06/06/mask-of-emotion-displays-your-feelings-via-led-emoticons-we-cry/

Hmmm… How interesting that it didn’t even take more than a day to spread words around!

Let me add my translation of their abstract from their blog site in English:

The idea of this project started with a question,
“What is the first media to communicate my emotion to the others?”

Perhaps it’s facial expression that is being expressed before one communicates his gesture or words.
It’s not that easy to hide feelings on facial expression. However, people don’t show their feelings to the strangers today. I often wonder about other people’s emotion when I am in crowded subway or in downtown street of Jongro, Seoul but, they all just stare at outside of the subway window or stare down at their shoes with emotionless face. Some just scan newspapers. They only look ahead while walking in the crowds. Modern urban people are limiting their emotional communication with others trapped in their own world. The mask is a tool to hide one’s feelings or oneself into. At the same time it is to bring out a communication with others by bringing out emotion loud with emoticons.

The Mask of Emotion is to reinterpret the look of mask in a modern term and to evoke communication with strangers by heighten the facial expression by LED emoticons. It is designed to research if emotion is positively received to the strangers when the wearer walks in the crowded street and interacts with urban citizen.

Some students might have felt like what’s the use for whenever I made them to document their design process as a part of the requirements but, I’m sure they will appreciate it later. Kudos to The Mask of Emotion team from Interaction Design Studio 1, 2007 class!!

Samsung Leeum Museum of Art

Entrance floor at Leeum

I’ve been thinking about visiting this Samsung Leeum Museum for months. It is conveniently located in downtown Seoul, considerably near my place. Anyway, Anna and I decided to go this friday… of course, I forgot about it until she brought it up on Thursday… I’m so forgetful these days that I can’t remember anything I said after 20 min. This is what happens when you fly 14 hrs of round trip flights three times in two months. (that’s not including 3-6 hrs of domestic flights)I’ve heard that this museum is all about architecture so I guessed that it would be worth just for that. Most of my friends weren’t impressed with their collections so I didn’t expect much.

However, I actually liked their contemporary arts selection… the quality and quantity are no near LA Museum of Contemporary Arts but, I was surprised to find Damian Hurst’s, Mattew Barney and other renouned artists. I really liked the entrance piece by an Indian artist but, I don’t recall his name. They had Damian’s piece with pills which I really liked. That reminds me of the medical cabinet piece in LAMCA – also ‘Crown of Glory’ from a series of stainglass art-like piece that are made of dead butterflies. They were also showing curated exhibition that is titled “void” They meant to emphasize on “negative space” in artworks – which is a very eastern characteristic but, using a word, “void” seems to be misleading. Anyway, below is the photo of installation by contemporary artist. The was wet and oily… I made Anna touch it & she was discussed by its oily feel. 🙂 That was a great birthday gift, thanks anna. If you want to learn a bit more about Leeum museum, read her insightful blog.
Detail of Damian Hurst

Itaewon & Food

Since Leeum Museum was near Itaewon, I got to go to this really cute pancake house, “Flying Pancake” Itaewon is a neighborhood where many foreigners live, shop and hang around. They have international school so you will see more foreigners than Koreans in that neighborhood. I’ve heard about the foreign cusines there but, I needed to research before I look for good Indian, Turkish and French restaurant in that neighborhood. I was surprised to see shishikabab stand in the street there…Back to Flying Pancake, this restaurant has not only cozy atmosphere but, the pancakes were amazingly delicious! One of the best pancakes… I’ve had pancakes in numerous brunch restaurants in NYC and LA so you just have to take my words for it. I drank a glass of wine and my friend drank a cup of macchiato. I found their Latte Art was elaborate but, coffee cup on the cafe? We were laughing as it reminded me of “TV Buddha” by Namjun Paek in Leeum- one of my favorite artwork by Mr. Paek.

Pancakes with Pear + CinnemonLatte Art - flying Pancake

more food in Hongdae area

It was raining Saturday night. What a yucky night! After watching “The Other Boylan Girl” (I have nothing to say about that movie, btw) we decided to move to Hongdae (Hongik University) area so I suggested this cute Japanese restaurant once my NYU sunbae took me. It’s near Saamzie Art Space but, you have to cross the street and walk to the alley it seems like nothing would be open there as right side is a large construction fence and left are all residential houses. But I was proud to find that place in that rainy night, although I couldn’t recall what it was called.It’s called “Gwang” It’s the same character for “star” you see in whatoo (Korean Gostop cards 😉 ) The weather was yucky so there were several seats available. (it’s really tiny so it’s possible that you have to leave if there isn’t any seats.) I drank two full glasses of warm sake, “Wallgaegwan” and some oden from oden bar, salmon sashimi with capers… It was a cozy night & I think I drank the most since I arrived in Seoul. Deliciousness. 🙂

Oden bar @ GwangSalmon sashimi + a cup of warm Sake

* after note: Surprisingly, I lost like 1 Kg in one week despite of indulging yummy foods like these.

You might be wondering about this strange title. (This blog is more for my friends.)

I have told a funny story about this acquaintance of mine to many of my friends last summer and most of my NY friends teased / accused me of having a lesbian experience. 🙂 Oh, those New Yorkers with dirty minds — Anyhow, I never wrote about it in my blog… well, due to little bit of embarrassment I suppose.

I usually start this story with, “oh, I woke up at the girl’s dormitory room after drinking a lot in Seoul …” then most of my friends’ usual reactions are “what?!”

Nothing happened, really.

The real story goes like this. My first 4 months in Seoul (that was when I had stronger stomach,) I used to go to this one particular bar and drank and hung out with the regulars as well as my accompanying friends. The regulars are mostly filmmakers including professors and grad students, photographers, writers, designers, artists, musician… yeah, artsy but very down to earth. As I saw the same faces several times, I often was asked to join this group of filmmakers. Usually, there was one other girl in this group whenever I joined them after drinking with my friends. She is a film grad student from China who is studying in Seoul. Her Korean was limited but, pretty good so we used to talk a bit.

One evening, it was my friend’s birthday. I ended up that bar as third round. When we were about to be done for the night, this group came in and seemed to be happy to find me there & asked me to join them as usual. So, I’ve joined after two of my friends left. The professor guy wanted to call our mutual friend and he actually showed up within 30 min. (Wow, amazing mobility for a drink call! 🙂 ) so we continued to drink… I should have stopped there but, when you are drunk, I guess you lose track of how much you drink… I think I drank few more glasses of wine. The problem is that from that point, I remember but, although I hate to admit it but, with some blind spot.

We stepped out of the bar to eat around 3 am or so. I remember talking about things with them and eating late night food but, the strangest thing is that I don’t remember what I ate! I remember who I ate with but, didn’t remember what I ate! I saw my friend left drunk trying to grab a taxi & I was kind of thinking how the hell am I going to take a taxi alone this drunk and won’t it be dangerous… Like she read my mind, she said that she knows exactly where I could stay that night. She took me who hardly walk straight to her dorm. I do remember this part clearly so don’t imagine things! Her roommate was away so I could use her roommate’s bed. She gave me some baggy tees to change and we said good-night.

Next morning, I woke up with a pounding headache… you know the usual why-did-I-do-this-to-me kind of hangover. I immediately cleaned up quickly and tried to leave as soon as possible after saying ‘Thank You” as I was embarrassed. She said, “wait!” “I would like to give you a token of gift for your visit to my dormitory room.” (This is where my friends find it questionable.) She gave me a hand phone accessory from China. I think I left pretty quickly right after saying “Thanks a lot” again. Oh, how dreadfully long that subway ride was due to my condition that morning. All I wanted to do was to go home & sleep, not 50 min subway ride!

After some resting, I felt a lot better then, I really appreciated her hospitality and thought she is a really cool person. But, I didn’t have her contact info & I had to fly out to the US next day for over 2 months so, I lost a track of her. Last fall & winter, I did bumped into other guys in her group but never saw her at that bar. I also didn’t go out drinking much since last fall due to my stomach problems. Then it just remained as a funny experience I had and a story none of my friends seem to forget.

Yesterday, I got an email from her. She found my email address from the school site. (I don’t even know where that site is, honestly!) She wrote that she wanted to see me before she went back to China but, she didn’t have my contact. She added that she remembers that I kept saying that I would love to visit China oneday. She is teaching Film in a university in Dalian and asked me to contact her if I ever want to visit China and I should visit Dalian where is only one hour flight away from Seoul. What a pleasant surprise! I wrote her back in Korean, wishing her all the best and I did try to contact her through one of the people in her group to say “Thank you” – which was true.

Hmmmm…..I guess I will be visiting China some day. Life is funny.

at lora's

After not-so-great week since my accident, I’m finding my old self pretty rapidly. My wounds have been my biology project to observe intensively… (it’s always amazing how our bodies can heal.) For one week, no going out, no museums, no drinking, no dancing, no bikram yoga, no snowboarding…, I’ve managed to get enough sleep. ah~ much needed sleep. I went to my follow up appointment with my burning unit doctor and they seemed to think I’m healing pretty well. I just have to make sure not to get any sunlight for… hmmm not sure how long. I guess few months? They gave me 3 pairs of tight leg warmer thingy (it’s stretchable cotton bandage thing that keeps pressure on my legs) & told me that I probably will have to wear them for about a month. I was thinking ‘since leg warmers are in, why not buy another pair and wear them over?’ I asked my doctor if I can drink wine or beer now and his answer was, “Yes, of course! But not too much so that you will hurt your legs again!

Right!

Anyway, I started to feel great and it didn’t hurt walking anymore this Friday. After working a long afternoon & evening to fix some designs, codes with Michelle at Park Slope, I was wondering when I was having drinks as A called me the night before. I only got one text message at 8:30 pm as “where are you?” I sent few text message explaining where I was and when to meet. No replies or no answering my calls. Oh, she usually doesn’t answer any calls… Anyway, I tried to reach her until morning to figure out what happened but, wasn’t successful. Oh, well…, She is such a good friend who even was at ER with me but, it’s not good that I begin to be skeptical about any plans with her now. In New York, we all have many different excuses & last minute misunderstandings. I just have to remember the pattern. I’ve encountered several friends who just flaked on me without any messages in numerous occasions & I’m starting to wonder if this inconsistency was here before in NYC and I just began to notice that since I’ve been away from the city for a while… Now I appreciate reliability I get from some friends since I begin to understand being reliable is one of good qualities in friendship.

in front of 17 bleeker Coffee shop

I arrived back in E. village after a long work day. It was hitting almost 11 pm but it was Friday night. I called up Sonia and she asked me to come out since she is in LES with her friends. It was pretty close enough so, I decided to drop my backpack and join them. The bar is called “The Dark Room” Entrance is very grundgy. I had a hard time finding it. I may have passed that bar many occasion since I lived near there but, never noticed this bar. When I walked in, there were some crazy drunk guys and I had to find her quickly before any of those drunken crazy man talks to me. Then I found them dancing on the floor. I was quickly introduced to her work friends. Very nice people. They were all dancing so I decided to join with a glass of Stella beer. The music was a way to mainstream but, we were also singing so it was fun. I couldn’t believe myself but, I’ve danced few hours I think. It was definitely fun.

Even when I got a strange remark, such as, “You are very stylish for a Korean.” I immediately replied, “What is that supposed to mean?” That statement has a full of strange remarks. Is he saying Korean girls are not stylish enough and/or is he saying I’m stylish despite of my handicap of being Korean? Was it compliment or insult? That was pretty dangerous remark to say to someone like me but, I thought he meant well (somehow) and was delightfully drunk so I decided to let him pass this time. 🙂

We walked out for a social cigarette break then, we saw two boys yelling ‘sexist!!!’ on the way out as they were bounced off from that bar. Then Sonia’s friend talked to them and realized that the bouncer guy wasn’t allowing any guy without a girl accompanying them. (Since when did we girls have to take boys to the bar?) So we decided to help them out. Sonia and I claimed to the bouncer that they were coming to join us and we’ve known them the whole life (well, she said that 😛 ) The bouncer guy seems like half believing but, he let them in. They thanked us & got in. 🙂   After two glasses of Stella and two hours of dancing, I think I had enough for a night after my fast recovery. But, I couldn’t find my hand knitted Melino wool scarf. I found my hat and coat but, my scarf was no where to be found. Oh, no… Sonia and I were going through a pile of coats and those two guys who just got in felt obiligated to help us so looked for it as well. At the end, I STILL LOST IT!!! Well, Ce la vie. Good bye, my scarf. I’ve only worn it a little more than a month but, it was good to feel you on my neck. Still it was a good Friday night… On the way home walking, someone behind me pulled over my hood as he passed me, “HEY!” I screamed like a New Yorker.

It’s like a jungle Friday night at 2 am.

***Note: these photos are nothing much to do with my post except they are taken in E. Village, New York about the same time.

It’s been exactly one week since I arrived in New York City. My friends were giving me warm welcoming and helping me out where to stay as much as possible. I feel really lucky to have such friends in my life & it’s been always my pleasure to hang out with them. As my resolution for 2008 is taking care of myself – be healthy and not getting stressed, I got my annual exam from my primary doctor, got a flu shot and some medication for stomach problem I’ve been having. I still had some problems with sleeping but, I guessed it’s something to do with jetlag.

I was so excited to reconnect with my friends here and was just happy to be back – even it’s temporarily. So, I’ve organized alumni gathering 2 weeks ahead of time. My plan was to see my alumni friends as many as possible in a given time. I have a friend who is coming up from Philadelphia and several I haven’t seen for over a year now… This morning I woke up late (since I don’t fall asleep until 4 am these days) then leisurely preparing to get ready to see my accountant for tax, thinking what to wear to alumni gathering and so on… I wanted to take a shower and was hoping there would be hot water since I had a luke warm shower last time. This is an old apartment of my friend who has stayed here over 10 years. Most people are not familiar with how old apartments in E. Village can be but, there are many with tilted floors which make squeaky noises when you walk… this is one of them but, very homey and tastefully decorated. The bathroom has a great looking four legged bathtub. Nice? I was happy to find out there was hot water… a bit too hot at the beginning but, it was nice to take a shower and wash my hair.

Then it was after shower that accident happened. When I was closing down the water, I must have turn hot water wrong way and it broke the valve and boiling hot water poured out. Oh shit! I jumped back right away but, it was too late. I had 2nd degree burn on my legs below my knee. I couldn’t figure out how bad it was so I just breathe deeply for few seconds. I put on clothes carefully and try not to touch my legs and I keep them in cold water as I called emergency. Paramedic came and they seemed a bit horrified at the sight of my wounds… yeah, they ain’t pretty. It started with, “What happened?!” They did some emergency treats and took me to the ER with the burn unit.

My friend, Juliette came to the apt immediately and Annette came to ER room and kept me in company for 3 hours. After I got some pill that made me loopy, I was laughing and joking with her the whole time. Once they cleaned my wounds and after 3 hours, some redness of 1st degree started to disappear. They looked a bit better then. They gave me some anti-biotic cream to put on and covered them with some gauze that seems like new techno texile. Then they pull up fishnet stocking like gauze to hold the first layer of gauze. How cool? I wanted it a bit more inches but, they were a bit stingy. I have managed to get some good 20 inch though. It would make really nice fishnet stocking… although they are white. After they released me at ER., we walked out. It was dark and rainy. Great! I didn’t have my shoes with me. We took a pair of socks at the drawer from hospital so, I was okay until finding a cab at rush hour. Hew!

My accountant got the news so we postponed the meeting then I had to make a hard decision of not going to the gathering I am hosting. I’m sure they will all understand. I was so looking forward for this gathering then, life has funny way of surprising me. Now, I’m in bed in my bandage leg warmers for the whole day. Is it because I’ve been running around with people to meet & things to do? – I’m forced to lay down and rest. It’s definitely a forced vacation! Who knew?

It just became a bit painstaking to explain to friends why I got 2nd degree burns on my legs but, I owe them explanation. 🙂 I also think I’m lucky that I’m not terribly hurt. It could have been worse. Also, I gotta respect this funny surprising curve ball that life threw at me. I will be okay.

I guess it won’t be an option for me to get leg modeling career, huh? 😉

my ridiculous gauzed legsafter one week

(left: Day 2: ridiculous amount of gauze over the injuries. No, I will not share the horror sight of them. right: Day 8: They gave me this tube to keep the pressure on my injuries. It’s to prevent any scars forming. I need to wear that for many months until everything is back to normal)

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