Letter from Anyang
I arrived last Wednesday night in Anyang. It is a neighboring city of Seoul and part of the megalopolis that shares an airport and a metro system with Seoul. I am here on a three month art residency in Seoksu Market, a dilapidated market area in what seems to be a forgotten part of a forgotten city. The Seoksu Art Project (SAP) is set up in a relatively large storefront in the central part of the market itself. On one side we can step out to the street, the other side we step out to the parking lot that is surrounded by the market stalls. Across the street is the Stone and Water Gallery and the Cafe Lizard. We use the toilet in the Cafe Lizard. Both places and SAP are the brain child of Mr. Park.
There is a cage with three rabbits that lives outside in a covered passage just next to the main door. Several children poke and prod at the rabbits on a regular basis. The children seem to belong to a restaurant across the street, next to Cafe Lizard. I am still uncertain whether the rabbits are pets or meat. I am uncertain about a lot here. That is part of the adventure I think.
There are ten local artists from the Seoul/Anyang area who share the first big room but so far only one is there on a regular basis. The international side is a larger space. It is shared by four Japanese artists (who will be here for just one month); William Hsu, an artist from Auckland, NZ; Luis and Jasmina Pons, a Spanish collaborative team based in Berlin; an American duo, Justin Rancourt and Chuck Yatsuk; and, of course, me. They have built these little free standing walls out of luan and 2x4s like rustic office dividers which none of us have ventured to move. The space relatively empty. The Japanese are rarely here.
My studio is the far corner and has a floor to ceiling glass storefront right on the street and the sink. There is no furniture yet. I am sitting on the floor on a piece of clean cardboard I found. I feel like a gold fish with a laptop (not unlike the bunnies) on display to the passersby.
We foreigners have been here less than a week and already we have used up all the water from the water cooler and broken the internet.
I spent Saturday scrubbing the floor of my studio. My contract stipulates I must return the studio to the same state I received it. Hmm.
We international artists are in homestays in the community. My hosts are a Christian minister and his wife. Their apartment is just two minutes walk from the studio. Some people are a 30 minute train ride away. They are very nice. They speak no English, I speak no Korean. More on them later.
These first few days have been all about being dragged around from one bowl of bubbling soup to the next, accented by delicious bits of grilled meat and a plethora of kimchi. And soju. Lots of soju.