Work on Work on Work

Asia Art Archive in America
Feb 27, 2015
Transcribed by Hilary Chassé, edited by Berny Tan


Jaeyong Park (JP): I’d like to ask some simple questions today. Why are we here on this Friday night? On a Friday night you should be going out; why are you here at Asia Art Archive? And why am I here? That’s the same question I asked at another presentation yesterday, but first I’d like to ask you, since the current presentation was organized in a rather quick manner.

Xiaofei Mo (XM): It’s been less than a week since we decided to host this, so it was a very impromptu decision.

JP: Maybe it’d be helpful to start with you.

XM: Well, for Asia Art Archive, the reason is very simple. There aren’t that many platforms in New York that discuss issues in contemporary art, with a focus on what’s happening in Asia, so that’s why we are here. And I really like the energy and collaborations in the projects you have conceived. There are many talented young curators working in New York, so this could be a good opportunity to discuss a lot of the issues that emerging curators are dealing with in different contexts.

JP: From my perspective, this is New York, curators and artists here are working in a different cultural environment, with different cultural histories. In anthropology, it is said that you can reflect on your environment once you’re outside of your place. You can look back in and see your place more clearly. So I thought it would be good to present what I do back in Seoul here in New York, and get some comments from people who live here, who are situated in a different context. Another thing: although I’m labeled as an independent curator, I really try to avoid the word ‘independent,’ because we are not actually independent from anything. We’re very ‘dependent’ on many things. Institutional curators have space and money to operate even if it’s not always sufficient, but ‘independent curators’ are in a lonely and desperate situation. Here, loneliness may be one of the key words for dependent and independent curators, not in the sense that there are not many ‘good’ people, but in the sense that there are literally not so many people that can share thoughts and ideas. The motivation for me to work in the way I work is to find friends and possible colleagues to talk about the things that are not really exciting at all. As you said, the simple questions [might not be] that simple to answer or fun to discuss.

Work on Work is a curatorial initiative or platform for collaboration. It was founded in 2012 but initiated in 2009, or, 2011. In 2009, I met my partner in crime, Hyejin Jang. We worked together at SAMUSO, a curatorial office run by Sunjung Kim, who was the director of the Gwangju Biennale in 2012. As part of the exhibition team, Hyejin and I worked on a huge exhibition called Platform in KIMUSA, held in a building that was later renovated to become a new branch of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea. Including the two of us, the exhibition team was five people, which I must say a really ‘Korean’ way of working. We worked like …very much for months. It was a huge, gigantic exhibition, taking place at the former Korean CIA building, which was, at that time, still off limits to civilians. Initially, it was a really happy experience and that was my first time having any experience working professionally on an exhibition. I had been imagining myself becoming a theater director, and I joined a theater company for some time. But I realized that a career in the theater would not provide me with the basic income. Later, I happened to translate some texts for Artsonje Center and they wanted to meet me for a cup of coffee. They said, ‘why not do an internship here?’ Since I was a fan of the institution from its establishment in 1998, I thought, why not? I always visited exhibitions and now they wanted me to work on them. So that’s how I began working in the field.

Going back to Platform in KIMUSA, I worked about 10 hours a day for two months. But, since I didn’t have any work experience, I thought it was the standard for museums and institutions. Previously, I was doing my MA in literary theory. To me, working on a thesis and working on an exhibition didn’t feel much different. When you’re working on a thesis, you just get up really early, read, and write all day. Working on an exhibition was a bit more physical, but it felt the same. A year after, I worked at the Seoul Museum of Art on a biennial called Mediacity Seoul. Again, the director was Sunjung Kim. In the meantime, during 2009-2010, Hyejin continued working for Artsonje Center, organizing programs and running the library and bookstore. Then in 2011, we started our first independent project, which I will talk about later.

Work on Work is composed of two people, but it can be flexible—sometimes we work with others, and other times we even operate as an artist collective, though we do so only when we are invited as such. We are primarily a curatorial collective, so we organize exhibitions. For example, in 2012, we were commissioned to curate a show that was part of the Seoul International New Media Festival (NeMAF). We proposed to use a vacant space in an underground train station, right below a construction site where demonstrations against the forced eviction took place. We suggested the venue because we wanted to secretly commemorate the struggles of the people.

Work on Work also function as a production agency, producing video works by different artists. We do not work in commercial production but more as a friend to the artists and as people with whom artists can discuss what to do. Sometimes, we fund the works, too. At other times, we function as researchers. For example, a Dutch artist Jonas Staal created An Ideological Guide to the Venice Biennale and asked us to participate in the research about the organization and structure of biennials in Korea and other Asian countries. As an artist collective, we mostly did works about the organization of exhibitions. In Republic of the Two (Arko Art Center, Seoul, 2013), we created an online exhibition guide to be seen on mobile phones. It was about how the exhibition came about, the history of the venue, and how much money was being spent on different items. The hosting institution was not really happy about the project, but artists do what they want to do in the frame of the exhibition, so we did it. In another exhibition titled Stone and Land, we experimented with what we could do as curator-artists: we printed a series of QR codes linked to illegally uploaded video pieces by famous artists on YouTube. These were works that, as curators, we wanted to include our exhibitions but couldn’t because of the pain of payment and rights agreement. Technically, providing a link to something online was not illegal. As you can see, Work on Work is many things at the same time.

At the beginning of the presentation, I said artists and curators, and maybe even academics in Korea are working in different contexts embedded with different histories. So, what’s my context and history? In Korea, contemporary art is really a recent phenomenon as in many other Asian countries. The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) was established in the mid-twentieth century, but a proper museum was finally built in 1987, following an order by the dictator at the time. It was built outside of Seoul, next to a zoo and an entertainment park, which shows how art was received by the regime. The end of the 1980s was also the period when overseas travel was liberated to everyone. All these people were going abroad to study new and progressive things in the US and Europe. Generationally speaking, those who worked at the MMCA were the first generation of contemporary art curators. The second generation would be those who studied in the U.S. and Europe in the early 1990s and came back with PhDs and MAs after the mid-1990s. These were people who worked on the first Gwangju Biennale and the first Anyang Public Art Project, which are really big events in Korea. The third generation is those who were really active at the end of the 1990s.

In addition, at the end of the 1990s, there was a rise in big institutions. Many private museums opened their doors to the public at the end of the 1990s and early 2000s, and there’s yet another generation of people who studied abroad for their MAs and PhDs. I am probably in the following generation who studied and experienced art, curated and brought by all these people who were really active in the 1990s and 2000s. In the meantime, there was a rise of independent spaces from around 1999 until the end of the first decade in the 2000s. I started working in contemporary art from 2009, so that’s my context where the new from the outside became the normal and the rise and the fall of independent spaces has happened. My generation may make a fourth-and-a-half or fifth generation of contemporary art curators. In the 1990s, there were many spaces opening up and there was this upward movement and the expansion of audiences. At the time, the economy was improving though it was a bubble economy. In my generation, now we have more support systems, but there is this general sense that things are going down. Spaces are still popping up, but the first wave of independent spaces in Seoul is now gone. Now, the scene is a strange mix of big corporate-sponsored spaces, public or local institutions, or micro-spaces. Many artists in the scene say that there’s no space to show works or talk about things openly and freely, unlike our seniors who talk about the 1990s as a period when everything was opening up and everyone could do everything they wanted. What the young art people say now is, ‘I don’t have the money, I’m too busy with my part time job, I need money for my tuition fees.’ Hyejin, my colleague, and I wanted to do something about this situation and find our own network through our own initiative. People would see what we are up to, and think, ‘Why don’t we do that?’

For the exhibition that I first worked on at SAMUSO, one would think that five people and a hundred something artists would lead to a kind of fatigue and unhappiness, but actually it was really an entertaining and exciting experience. The unhappiness came only after two years, finishing my job as a project manager at the Mediacity Seoul biennial. I realized that the same pattern of ‘working like hell’ will happen to yet another person in two years, because the institution wasn’t interested in leaving records, creating manuals, and opening up information to others. Ideally, if an institution holds an exhibition, it should leave the records opened to other institutions, curators, and academics. Then, as a whole, we can make progress. However, the mentality in Korea has been: ‘this is mine! It should be a secret!’ For Mediacity Seoul, every two years, a new team has been doing it from scratch. I am sure that Koreans are really good at making things happen, with not much record left. Then, the same thing happens again to other people, and so on. Why remain in the situation, then? Hyejin and I began thinking about how to find a counterpoint to such a situation. But at the time, we were like nothing – we were like dust in space. No one was paying attention to what we were saying and we had no influence. Well, we started our initiative in any case. I want to call it pessimistic optimism.

XM: Why not the other way around?

JP: Optimistic pessimism? Maybe that’s the better way to put it, but it was optimism! I’m really pessimistic but it is optimism. Start with a small project but leave a footprint, make things accessible to others, or at least keep a collection of materials in our library so that one day somebody will be able to refer to them. It might feel a little uncomfortable at first, because others might appropriate your ideas, but in the long term that’s actually better than keeping something in your library forever and never actually looking at it again.

This might have come from my experience at the graduate school of English language and literature in Korea. We invited really good academics from the US and elsewhere to give talks and lectures. Video recordings were made, which were later thrown into a cabinet in the department office. So, I thought it was important to make points of reference for possible futures. Now I’ll introduce some projects that Work on Work has done.

This was a project we did in 2011 titled ‘Hit and Run.’ The initial idea stemmed from our unhappiness about the situation of the public spaces in Seoul. In 2009 and 2010, there were series of mass public demonstrations and protests. Afterwards, public spaces in Seoul became very much under control of the government authorities and police forces. That was one problem. Another was that both of us were really sick of institutional spaces at that time. So we thought about, first, doing something outside the institutional realm, and second, doing something about public spaces together with artists. By the way, everything I’m talking about is accessible on website. I thought that the project would be two of us simply working with 11 artists to produce new works in public space, but actually that’s a lot of work, so we decided to spread the project throughout the year. We told the artists to ‘do whatever you want to do’ after consulting with us on their thoughts on the current situation and our supporting them. For example, a Korean artist Minouk Lim’s project was titled International Calling Frequency. I proposed that she do a performance in a public space, so she thought of playing music in a public space, such as some updated version of The Internationale, while at the same time not breaching Korean regulation of activities in public space. I went to a police station to find out what was and wasn’t allowed, how they defined what was a demonstration, how many people we could have in a performance on the street. We discussed many possibilities, and the resulting project was a workshop with evictees who had been forcefully evicted from a development site.


This workshop was about how to sing a song without learning the lyrics, and we all did it together, including some passersby, and recorded it. This work is currently being circulated in other institutions; in April this year it will be in an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo.

XM: Did you actually get police permission or not?

JP: [What we did] is technically not illegal. That was the point of this project; we circumvented the police regulations. If people leave a certain distance between each other, it’s okay to do the same thing at the same time on the street.

For this other project, the artists, Nayongim & Gregory Maass, wanted to create a mobile sculpture. The artists are sometimes considered apolitical, and for this project they made a seemingly apolitical work—the characters on the sculpture say ‘complete neutrality.’

XM: And what is this area?

JP: This is an old area in the city center of Seoul where old people gather and drink soju. It was interesting because some of these old people came to us and asked, ‘What the hell are you doing? Is this sculpture?’ And we got into this discussion with them. I actually wanted to agitate the artists into be honest, because they were known to be not very political, but the project itself is unavoidably political.

JP: This project was the first project we did as independent curators. We were still not Work on Work at this time. Somehow, art magazines didn’t pay any attention to the project. Only design or architecture magazines showed interest in it, so it was a strange mix of contexts. Afterwards, people started calling us ‘Hit and Run,’ which was just the name of the project. We wanted to be two independent individuals, not a collective, but since people started using that name, we thought it would be a good idea to have a name. We came up with Work on Work in February 2012, because initially we thought that curating was work on artists’ work. Why is the title of today’s presentation ‘Work on Work on Work’? I don’t know why! She [Xiaofei Mo] came up with it. Why?

XM: Just a wordplay.

JP: The other title I suggested was ‘Can we work like this?’ but actually, ‘Work on Work on Work’ is better. ‘Can we work like this?’ was our question to ourselves and to other people as well.

Audience Member: Isn’t your question actually why do we all work?

JP: My conclusion at this moment is that I’m a big fan and lover of the arts. It’s really illogical; it’s like a pseudo-religion. If you attend this strange church, for example, your friends will tell you, ‘That’s not really a religion, why do you give them your time and money?’ Working in the arts is really similar to that. Don’t you all have family members who tell you, ‘Why didn’t you become a lawyer or why didn’t you become a doctor?’ And you can’t actually tell them exactly about why and what you are doing in the arts. That’s my conclusion at this point. I teach as a lecturer at universities, in arts departments, and some students call me ‘a preacher of doom’ because I always talk about really pessimistic things about their future and my future as well. But then why are you still here? Maybe it’s because you’re really in love with it.

Going back to Work on Work’s practice, after the initial ‘Hit and Run’ project, different organizations started commissioning us to do exhibitions, asking us to work with artists, and asking for our opinion or for us to discuss some theoretical issues and practicalities. That’s how we progressed from 2011 to 2013. In 2014, both of us found ourselves in institutions yet again, but at this time we had fixed positions, so we weren’t just dust in space. From end-2013 to end-2014, I worked as a curator at the Ilmin Museum of Art in Seoul. At this time, we both thought, since we knew some of the inner workings of these institutions, we’d try to introduce some possible changes within our own structure. For example, in my case, for this exhibition (TOTAL RECALL), I tried to create a framework where this institution that I’m working in starts collaborating with other institutions. It was based on the museum’s annual documentary screening program in its exhibition space. So, why not screen them in a proper theater? I contacted the Korean National Film Archive so that we could screen these films in a cinema. As for Hyejin, she worked as the exhibition manager for the MediaCity Seoul 2014, tackling some fundamental administrative and structural issues. Within the Biennale, Hyejin initiated a huge archival room project. This room contained all the previous materials for all the Biennales that came before, so all the people who come after her can actually appropriate what they’ve already got. These things we worked on were not visible to the viewers of the exhibition; they are what people from similar institutions might sense from the results. We thought it would be a really fruitful experience to try to do something within the institution, but ultimately, I quit the institution at the end of 2014 and Hyejin’s two-year contract expired at the end of the Biennale as well.

At present, we’re focusing more on production and working as an agency for our artist friends rather than focusing on organizing exhibitions. Organizing exhibitions outside of an institution takes, sometimes, your own money, which is not very healthy. In the past we actually happened to put our money into projects that we were asked to do, but not anymore.

Now what should we do? We’re not curating exhibitions all the time, so why do we call ourselves curators? Maybe we should drop the term ‘curator’ and call ourselves ‘producers’ or ‘productive friends of artists’ or something.

In 2013, we worked with a curator colleague of ours, Seewon Hyun, to establish the Curating School Seoul. It doesn’t have any fixed venue, so I maybe shouldn’t say that it’s an institution. Two reasons why we established this: first, there’re not that many curatorial studies programs in Korea, and second, curating is not something that is teachable with a syllabus. So we did rather performative classes with those who enrolled. We organized informal classes and talks, we went to different places with different visualities, inspired by the pedagogical methods of Alfred H. Barr, Jr. who was one of the initiators of the MoMA. He took his students to car factories, to places where new visualities were occurring. It’s not just about curating, we are also responding to what we see in a way. It was the ‘semester zero’ of the school. We are waiting for another occasion when we have proper funding and a budget to run the program. That will be the ‘semester one’ of the school.

What will happen in the future? What can we do? We worked at institutions as interns or program managers or project managers, then we established independent projects and ran them for several years, and then we returned to institutions. Now, with a certain decision-making power and with the proper position, what can we do in the future? Recently we contracted a space that is maybe 3.5 times bigger than this room—not that big but big enough to do something. We are thinking of making a library there. I buy a lot of books when we travel. I think it’s a disease—you go into a bookstore and you come out with bags full of books, but then comes another disease, which is that you don’t have time to read all the books and they’re all in foreign languages, which makes it difficult to resell them to a second-hand bookshop or to anyone. I have tons of books that I haven’t taken out of their packaging, so why not make them accessible to these in need of them? Previously at the previous office of Work on Work, we tried to create an archive where we made the list accessible and people could come to our office and refer to these books. But we’ve realized that it’s not really as accessible as we imagined, because the space was too domestic, like this. There were three rooms that were renovated into an art space, and for some people it was a little difficult for them to come in because it’s a Korean house where you have to take off your shoes and become comfortable within the space. That’s not accessible to some people. And the items list was created using software for managing your personal library, but that’s not really a proper library system. So for this new library, we’ll need to use our own money to hire someone who can update the whole system.

Next, this is my own personal project. I began to think more about history or histories because it’s also connected to my unhappiness about where I am. In school we learned art history, but it was a Western art history. In school or through internet databases such as Project Muse or ProQuest or other academic journals, I can see these art history materials, but what I can learn from them are merely examples from other worlds, other environments that are more advanced and fundamentally different from mine and ours. Then I started looking at what I had: I wanted to learn more about recent Korean art history, recent art movements that happened in Korea. There are close to no sources, so I have this urge to historicize what I see. But then I think, I’m a curator, not an academic researcher—but why not? Luckily enough a scholar in Taiwan invited me to do a project there. When I told him about this project, he said that Taiwan has a really similar context and history to Korea, with regards to their complicated relationship to America and economic structure. So I will start interviewing some older generation curators in Korea and Taiwan and then maybe I can start working on proper research, because I don’t even have a proper hypothesis at the moment.

That should be it for my presentation. There’s more to see on our website, and I will share my email address with you so if you have anything to say after the presentation, please email me. So let’s turn—well, we don’t have a mic, let’s turn the mic to the floor. I wonder what your thoughts, opinions, and suggestions are.

Audience Member: What you describe is really interesting and also a little sad. Maybe I’m misunderstanding but it sounds like you’re drawing this dichotomy between the corporate sponsors and the very popular commercialized arts in Korea, and what you’re trying to do, and it seems like there’s a giant gap that may not be bridged. Am I right?

JP: Partly right and partly wrong because I don’t hate corporations. I think sometimes corporate sponsorship is really good, but what I see often in Korea is that money is not well spent. Corporations can sponsor events, but let’s say I’m the head of a big company and I give a huge amount of money to some curator or an institution and I tell them, ‘I’ll give you this money and just put my name as a credit at the end and you do whatever you want do to.’ Then you will have this huge burden of gratitude in your heart. But let’s say I’m the kind of company who gives money and then demands, ‘I want this and this and this, you have to do it like that.’ You will have to take my money anyway regardless of your own complaints. What I see is that the latter is more prevalent in Korea at this moment. I hope that the situation will change in the future. Raven Row in London might be a good example of a better corporate sponsorship in the arts than what I have just said.

Audience Member: I agree with that; as a curator you always encounter these kinds of obstacles, but if you can help the artist anyway, sometimes as a producer you try to find a way you can turn around and make it work for this project. I totally agree because when you turn around, they’ll come back and say ‘go straight,’ but you spent a lot of time to make it happen so for that you have to have this seed money. We’re living in an age where you need money to make anything happen.

JP: That’s a good point because I’ve been growing up in this somewhat established system for the arts, but in the former generation who had initiated super interesting big events in Korea, they were drawing pictures on the empty canvas, it seems that they didn’t pay much attention to the technicalities or practicalities of organizing large-scale exhibitions or institutions with concrete long-term plans and visions. But my generation, I think, is more conscious of the system. I personally think that we have to negotiate with the system, not fight the system. This is not to say that I’m submissive to the system but I want to play with the system. That’s why I say I don’t really hate corporate sponsorship; I have to work on it in a slightly progressive manner, so in that sense you’re right and wrong at the same time.

XM: It might be too early to ask, but how are you imagining the sustainability of Work on Work in the future?

JP: That’s also a very good question. We are now renovating the office, and I am discussing it with my colleague Hyejin. One of the reasons we work together is we have really different opinions. If we had the same opinion we wouldn’t have to work together. We fight each other, we think the other is wrong, but from that antagonism we arrive at really fruitful results. I am also making proposals to my colleague so there are different possibilities. Maybe make the space a co-working space for generating income, not for profit but at least bring the balance to zero. Second, and this it will take a little bit more time, but to make this organization more public, we have to get regular small donations from people. But then this is Korea, it’s not like America or Europe, and this goes back to my interest in history. First, we don’t have that much active private sponsorship, meaning people are really reluctant to be a funder or donor or trustee. Second, we have government support to the arts. There are very few countries that have regular government support for the arts. It looks like Europe but it’s not like Europe. European countries provide a huge amount of money to different organizations in a very generous way, but Korean funding is more bureaucratic and channeled towards the big institutions. The space that we are imagining and have been running would not fit the ministry’s criteria, so we already know it would be difficult to get any kind of funding for that. That’s why we might move to this model of support. It was tried in the first wave of independent spaces, and it turned out that it didn’t really work, but we will try again. The third model would be putting in my own money, which will happen occasionally, but ultimately will stop.

Audience Members: I want to hear more about how you define the different generations of the curators in Korea, because Koreans love generations and they love dividing people into different groups, especially age groups. Are there different factors besides age that influence your own historization of the curators? Could you elaborate a little more on that? And are there really so many curators that we can categorize them as belonging to one generation, or are you just pointing out two, three or five curators?

JP: This generational categorization is not necessarily based on age. It’s based on the rise and fall of the institutions, with the establishment of the newly built Museum of Contemporary Art, which did contribute to the establishment of the first generation. The influx of the people who started going abroad might contribute to the second generation. There will always be this age thing because you go to university around the same age. However, it’s not really proper to use the term ‘generation,’ because it refers to more people than there really were. One ‘generation,’ as I call it, might consist of maybe three still active key figures and forgotten others. But then I think I need a bit of a genealogy so this word is unavoidable—do you have a suggestion for another word?

Audience Member: The term genealogy might be really good, but to me at least there might be different factions that grow generations of curators within the particular aesthetic agenda that is very much linked to institutional and political agendas.

JP: One of the things that I’ve done within the institution last year was to look through the list of projects and exhibitions that were done by major Korean institutions in the last ten or fifteen years, so I laid out the list of shows from late 1990s to 2010 at Artsonje Center, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Ilmin Museum, and I realized that there’s not much consistency in any institution. For my research project, what I’m trying to do is ask really uncomfortable questions to the people that I interview: why have you been this inconsistent as if you have no artistic agenda? What’s your idea of curating? How has your organization been functioning and operating?

Audience Member (Dooeun Choi): I’ve been in the institutional world in Seoul for 13 years. Now I have friends who are in that world, who have mostly been invited back to the institutions again. As an institutional curator at a museum dedicated to the media arts, and let’s say you were the only media arts museum in Korea, then you have to deal with so many things at the same time. You can’t be like the Guggenheim, and deal with post-Expressionism or whatever is their focus. When you can share the field you have more concentrated or dedicated projects or agendas. But when you’re just one institution and there are so many things going on, you have to at least introduce what’s going on out there, and at the same time you have to focus on what is going on in your local context, and even though you have four or five exhibitions per year it’s still not enough, and that’s why you’re going back and forth. Also, you have to have solo artist exhibitions and curatorial exhibitions, and when you’re making all these things at the same time, it results in more openness and less consistency. The museum where I worked was established in 2000, and it has 15 years of history. There was another contemporary arts museum that was converted into a media arts museum later on, but there was already a gap. We tried to collaborate with other museums. In your presentation you said you tried to work with other museums, but as you also pointed out, it’s not easy. Each museum has its own code. So when you build the history of Korean art, it’s not only an art history but also the development of our culture after the Korean War. It’s really only been 50 years.

JP: Korea does not only lack history. It lacks many histories. To understand where I am and where we are, I really need some texts to read, but there are almost none, and things like what you have said have not been translated into any proper text. Maybe that’s what I want to do. Now I feel, taking into account your comment, the final text would be rather sad.

Audience Member (Dooeun Choi): Every history happens for a reason. I’d also like to point out that there was a period when the art critic was heavily involved with the artists in the 60s and 70s. Those critics generated a lot of texts, and maybe that is the pre-history of curating. Curators not only make the exhibitions, but they also make the art movements. Curators aren’t curators only to make exhibitions, they work with artists to make history.

JP: Koreans usually don’t pay attention to what has happened. There are many interesting things that are happening in this moment in Korea, and working on them is good, but maybe in the long term, it’ll be good to look back in history as well.

XM: That’s a very optimistic endnote. Thank you Jaeyong for the presentation.


Work on Work is a Seoul-based curatorial initiative by Hyejin Jang and Jaeyong Park. The two first started working together in 2009 at an art institution. After their first project HIT and RUN in 2011, Work on Work was established in 2012 starting from a simple question: how do we work? Depending upon the given context, Work on Work plays diverse roles that encompass curating, research, and even creating works. Currently Work on Work is turning towards a direction of production, in which it facilitates discussion with artists producing projects that require collective efforts and addresses practical issues in the creation of such works.

Jaeyong Park is a curator, writer, and translator based in Seoul, South Korea. He co-founded Work on Work in 2012 and is one of the organizers of the Curating School Seoul. His Work on Work projects include HIT and RUN (2011), Above Your Head, Below Their Feet (2012), and The Ideological Guide to Venice Biennale (2013, organized by Jonas Staal) among others. Park’s individual projects include TOTAL RECALL (2014, Ilmin Museum of Art and Korean Film Archive, Seoul), Pa-Gyong – Last Sutra Recitation (2015, Iniva, London, curated by Binna Choi), and Center for Selfie Studies (2015-ongoing). As a researcher, Park has many interests: the structural changes of the system and its effect on art and its practitioners in Korea and the broader Asian region; art and aesthetics in the social context; and screen-based or time-based art within the context of the ubiquitous presence of connectivity and technology, among others.


All images courtesy of Work on Work


Afghanistan, Alternative Space, American History, Animation, Anthology, Architecture, Archive, Art Administration, art history, artist’s book, Asian American, Automation, Autonomy, Bangladesh, Cambodia, ceramic art, Chance, China, Chinatown, cities, collage, Collecting, Collective, Collectivity, Communism, conceptual photography, Cultural Revolution, culture, Curating, Cutlural Revolution, Design, Diaspora, Displacement, Documentary, Domestic Labor, Drawing, Economics, Education, encyclopedia, EPOXY, Exhibition History, Experimental Music, Feminism, Fiction, Form, Gender, Geography, ghosts, Godzilla, Graphic Novel, Gwangju Biennale, histories, Hong Kong, Identity, Imaging, Imitation, Index, India, Infrastructure, ink, ink painting, Installation, installation art, Institution, Internet, Island, Japan, Khmer Rouge, Korea, Labor, Land, Language, Locality, Madagascar, Malaysia, mapping, Memory, Mexico, Migrant Workers, Miniature Painting, Minimalism, mixed media, Model Opera, Moving Image, Music, mythology, nationalism, Nations, New Media Art, New York City, North Africa, oil, oil painting, painting, paintings, Pakistan, Pakistani, Pedagogy, people, Perennial exhibition, Performance, performance art, Philippines, Photography, Pop Culture, Pop Music, prints, Protest, Public Space, Publication, Realism, Revolution, Sci-Fi, Science, Sculpture, Shamanism, Singapore, Socialist Realism, sound, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, Surveillance, System, Taiwan, Thailand, the Middle East, Theater, Tomato Grey, Tradition, Tunisia, United States, Video Art, Vietnam, Violence, War, watercolor, woman artist, women artists, woodcuts, Zhejiang Academy, Zine


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