Sun, 28 December 2014
At a bar by the train tracks near Yongsan, Colin talks with Jon Dunbar, urban explorer, editor of long-running Korean punk zine Broke in Korea, and author of Daehanmindecline. They discuss the difference between a Korean abandoned place and a Canadian abandoned place; how Seoul got re-inhabited after the war; the development of poor "moon villages" on the hillsides; how he defines "urban exploring," and why he dislikes that name; the urban renewal process that causes the abandonment of neighborhoods; the hired goons who harass people to leave areas slated for demolition; how big a city all the abandoned buildings he's visited would constitute by themselves; his experience in the tunnel from The Host; what it means to explore Korea's abandoned/disputed/places as a foreigner, and the difficulty of getting Koreans interested in urban exploration; the time he ran into a man collecting scrap metal, and why that man felt embarrassment for his country; the difference between the Korea he came to, which had both grass huts and high-rises, and Korea today; why so many buildings in Seoul have reached such an advanced state of decrepitude so quickly; what he prefers about North Korean architecture to South; what most high-rises in Seoul stand on the ruins of; his discovery of the Korean punk scene, and why he needed to confirm its existence before he came to live; the lower level of violence and higher level of musicianship in Korean punk; how he got to work for an organization like the Korean government; the ominousness of a presidential promise to promote "the happiness of the people"; the meaning of han, why the government now wants to eradicate the concept, and how pansori reggae expresses it; the change in Seoul mayors that brought about a change in major Seoul building projects; the significance of the new Dongdaemun Design Plaza and the politics involved in building it; how, rather than declining, Korea has "improved in every way" since he turned up; his life in Bukcheon hanok village, and how its old-style houses have become more coveted in recent years; whether Korea can shake the idea of "old = bad"; where in Korea he witnessed a funk brawl; and the way to "use your unfamiliarity as a tool" in a place like Korea.
Direct download: NCC_Korea_Tour_Jon_Dunbar.output.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:43pm UTC