Kimchi juice: the art medium of the future – a visit to Give me Shelter at Union Gallery

I went to the “Give me Shelter” exhibition at the Union Gallery one lunchtime this week, as it’s only 15 minutes walk from my office. I’ll be going back again. Possibly the easiest works to relate to are the biggest and the smallest. Hyungkoo Lee‘s skeletal coyote and roadrunner occupied a whole room, atmospherically lit. […]

A sinister accident?

Just received this from Tom Coyner – a circular email sent by campaigner for DPRK human rights Dr Norbert Vollertsen. Coming back from Thailand after taking care for arrested North Korean refugees and South Korean activists there here in downtown Seoul I was attacked by a street gang and knocked down in the middle of […]

Sunwook Kim triumphs at Leeds piano competition

Thanks to Aidan Foster-Carter for the following: It was a notable night for Korea at the finals of the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition 2006. Held triennially, this is one of the world’s leading prizes. Past winners include Radu Lupu, Murray Perahia, Dmitri Alexeev, and Artur Pizarro. To those illustrious names, add Sunwook Kim (above): at […]

Seoul’s relations with Africa and Cuba

AidanFC’s recent article in the Asia Times noted that South Korea now has diplomatic relations with all the African countries, with the opening of ambassador-level relations with the Republic of Guinea on 28 August. He gives some of the history There was a time when Guinea was a beacon of the Afro-Asian struggle against colonialism. […]

The passing of a Korean war veteran

From a recent obituary in the Telegraph: Vice-admiral Sir Charles Mills, who has died (on July 27) aged 91, was a talented staff officer whose one chance of independent command came in the destroyer Concord during the Korean War. In the course of six patrols over 95,000 miles with Dutch and New Zealand ships of […]

A surprise Korean film festival (the KCC’s first)

The cinema’s booked, the distributors have agreed to release their valuable prints, and now, with precision-honed timing and a week to go, the well-oiled marketing machine swings into action. The BAKS and PACSF lists are peppered, other private mailing lists barraged, but whether it makes the Time Out copy deadline, who knows. And so it […]

Learning Korean in London

I had a query recently from a visitor to this site as to where she could take beginners classes in Korean. The only place I know of is SOAS, and no-one else could think of any other places. By coincidence, I got an email from Cho Jaehee, the co-ordinator of Korean courses at SOAS, asking […]

How like “Swiri” is “The Way Home”?

That’s the intriguing question posed by Andrew Jackson’s talk at the Sheffield BAKS conference last week. It was a question prompted by a statement by Ahn Sang-gun, a senior figure in KOTRA, the Korean Trade Investment Promotion Agency, and reported in the Donga Ilbo on 5 April 2003: that The Way Home and Swiri are […]

Rollercoaster # 1: Come Closer

Roller Coaster – first album: 내게로 와 (1999) Rollercoaster, according to KBS, were the first Korean band to turn to Acid Jazz. Certainly one of the western bands which comes to mind when listening to this album is the Brand New Heavies. But the use of horn effects and guitar rhythms in some of the […]

Fetishes, Phalluses and Mini-skirts – a review of The Remasculinization of Korean Cinema

Kyung-Hyun Kim: The Remasculinization of Korean Cinema Duke University Press, 2004 This book is for a restricted academic readership only. I can empathise with the feeling of inadequacy, crisis and male lack which, according to Kim, plagues the majority of protagonists in Korean film (though there is a difference between me and them, namely that […]