Event reports and reviews

Sometimes, when you go along to an evening talk, you are looking forward to the networking rather than the substance of what the speakers will be saying. Perhaps you think you won’t learn much, and you’re going along out of a vague sense of duty, because other people will expect you to be there. Well, […]

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Seven ways in which Hill of Freedom is different from other Hong Sang-soo films

by Philip Gowman 11 October 2014
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… and some ways in which it isn’t. Hill of Freedom (자유의 언덕) is Hong Sang-soo’s 16th feature, and could not have been made by anyother director. The awkwardness of human interaction and conversation, the bonding over alcohol, the fragmentation of the narrative, the aim to rekindle lost love – all are common features of […]

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Korea Chronicles – the video of the opening performance

by Philip Gowman 11 October 2014
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Here is a video of the opening performance of the Korea Chronicles residency at the KCC, by Jason Verney of Native Nomad Pictures. The performance was on 12 August 2014. As Jason comments: This film features the performances and concert in its entirety, along with added extras – the preparation beforehand, the artwork associated with […]

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Concert review: Ensemble Sinawi at the City of London Festival

by Philip Gowman 10 October 2014
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How can you adequately describe a gig which touched the highs and lows of human emotion? There were times when the melody sung by the voice or ajaeng had a searing, heart rending intensity which brought a lump to the throat and tears to the eye; and then in the next piece the toes would […]

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Exhibition visit: Constancy and Change in Korean Traditional Craft

by Philip Gowman 8 October 2014
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Nothing prepared you for the sight that greeted you when you entered the room containing the Korean crafts at Tent London. As you were wandering past the various stalls in the main part of the exhibition displaying contemporary crafts from around the world on your way to the “Constancy and Change” room, you might have […]

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K-Drama week: Yang Yun-ho, IRIS, and the current state of Korean drama

by Philip Gowman 6 October 2014
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The KCCUK’s K-Drama week included the opportunity to meet the director of one of Korea’s most successful TV dramas of recent years, IRIS, which has been screened in 26 countries and brings film-like tension to the small screen. Director Yang Yun-ho gave a talk on the current state of Hallyu at SOAS, and participated in […]

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Cho Young-wuk on waltzes, playgrounds and working with Park Chan-wook

by Philip Gowman 5 October 2014
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So much has changed over the past few years. Nearly 10 years ago Asia House organised the London premiere screening of Lady Vengeance including a Q&A with the director, Park Chan-wook. It was hard not to squirm in embarrassment at the shallowness of some of the questions from the audience, and the moderator could have […]

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The Massive reports from this week’s UKISS gig

by Philip Gowman 28 September 2014
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Many of us were torn on Wednesday between the IRIS screening with Q&A at the Curzon Soho and the UKISS concert at the Forum. Those who chose to go to screening instead of the gig should see what they missed by reading the Korean Class Massive’s review of the evening. They’ve got some great photos […]

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Shin Dong-hyuk: “passionate human rights campaigner and an ordinary young man”

by Youngeun Koo 22 September 2014
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Youngeun Koo reports from the first of EAHRNK’s “North Korean Memoirs” events. On Tuesday 16 September, the UK had the rare opportunity to meet Shin Dong-hyuk in person. Shin is so far the only person known to have successfully escaped from Camp 14, a ‘total control camp’ in North Korea. Organised by European Alliance for […]

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A look at the contemporary Korean designers at Tent London 2014

by Philip Gowman 21 September 2014
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Four Korean design studios came to Tent London this year. There’s a gallery of their stalls at the bottom of this brief post. Zeup Design Studio presented some colourful pens which looked like pieces of lemongrass, while Kim HyunJoo Studio presented pens that also doubled as clips and as bookmarks. It was a shame the […]

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A look at some of the Korean design on show at 100% Design London 2014

by Philip Gowman 19 September 2014
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There may not be a Korean Pavilion at 100% Design London this year, but you don’t have to walk far from the central bar area of Earls Court 2 to find Korean designers. Just take one pace the other side of the bar and you come across Kim Been’s stall, Beeeen Company, with her range […]

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Exhibition visit: Jewyo Rhii at Wilkinson Gallery

by Philip Gowman 16 September 2014
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Shamefully, I’ve never visited Wilkinson Gallery before. If I had, maybe I wouldn’t have been so bowled over by Sung Hwan Kim’s installation in the Tate Modern Tanks a couple of years ago, because Kim had already had two solo shows at Wilkinson which contained some of the work shown at the Tate. So, will […]

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The Seoul Philharmonic – a young orchestra with “an extraordinary sense of adventure”

by Philip Gowman 7 September 2014
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On 27 August, the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra made its Proms debut, the first Korean orchestra to play at the famous music festival. At the Pre-Prom talk earlier that evening across the road at the Royal College of Music, Michael Fine and Hyunjin Park of the Seoul Philharmonic, and Dr Haekyung Eom of Liverpool University, talked […]

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Kim Ji-eun’s current exhibition at Mokspace is utterly charming

by Philip Gowman 31 August 2014
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Another charming exhibition at Mokspace, Talk to me, Darling, is coming to a close: you have until 6 September to enjoy it. Kim Ji-eun’s work is quirky and enchanting while also being strangely comforting. Despite the sunny nature of the drawings they conjure up the autumnal emotions and cosy daydreams of woolly jumpers, hot chocolate […]

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The 2014 Fringe – a round-up of the reviews

by Philip Gowman 25 August 2014
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Now that the 2014 Fringe has come to an end, here’s a summary of the reviews of the Korean shows. I’m surprised the Taekwondo show didn’t get any professional reviews, as I heard that the BBC loved it. Show LKL rating Other ratings Brush Review Fringe Guru The List Broadway Baby ThreeWeeks Leodo: Paradise Lost […]

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Edinburgh Fringe visit: two Korean monodramas and one Korean American

by Philip Gowman 18 August 2014
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Korean acts coming to the Fringe have often majored on the non-verbal: percussion, taekwondo, comedy, physical theatre, music and dance. Last year, with Othello – Two Men, we discovered that more traditional theatre, heavy on text, can work well despite the language barrier – provided surtitles are visible. This year the Korean contingent was bolder […]

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Edinburgh Fringe visit: A Walk in the Dust

by Philip Gowman 16 August 2014
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When a play is put on for only one performance at the Fringe, you wonder what is going on. When it’s a Korean performance, and the date chosen is August 15th, National Liberation Day, the day on which Korea was freed from Japanese rule in 1945, the choice of “one day only” makes more sense. […]

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