CONVERSATION, the first program of the pre-biennale, consists of series of lectures and discussions by scholars, art critics, and artists. The overall theme of the conversation is how local practices of art can or cannot acquire universality across local boundaries. Speakers will include Alain Badiou, who is perhaps one of the most influential thinkers of our time. He will address the topic of artistic universality and artistic potentiality and share with us his thoughts on the role of art, and what direction it should take, given that aesthetic truth is much threatened today. C?cile Winter will testify why political colonialism is about today, and how we do not see it nor reflect upon the results of it. Seo Yong Soon, who has been steadily introducing Badiou and his thoughts in Korea, will facilitate the conversation following the lecture.

Art cannot but be closely tied to the locality where the artist practices his or her art. At least this is the traditional assumption. However, today, we notice that biennales all over the world state, or otherwise take it for granted, that what they want is to overcome boundaries, whether national, local, racial, ethnic, and/or religious. This theme of overcoming boundaries is so ubiquitous that one wonders if it has not become another clich?. Taking this as its departure point, ?Mediacity Seoul 2014? suggests that we make such trans-border discussions more compelling, and that we start that by examining the reality of ‘East Asia,’ a region with much shared culture and history across various boundaries within.

Thus, we will start our CONVERSATION by asking the following questions. How do we navigate between local particularities and artistic universality; what are the possibilities for the navigation? What is or is not Orientalism? How does one deal with extreme nationalism and statism? What impact do new media have on how we perceive and live ‘Asia’? Wang Hui, a leading Chinese intellectual who has been spearheading a contemporary discourse on Asia, will open the discussion with a presentation on the topic of Asian empire and Asia and inter-Asian relations. Hwang Hoduk will be the facilitator.

The last program in the CONVERSATION series will be led by Hwang Hoduk, Park Sohyun, and siren eun young jung. They are an expert on colonialism in modern Japan and Korea, an expert on Japanese contemporary art, and an artist who has been working with Yeosung Gukgeuk (‘female traditional opera’) artists, respectively. They will lead the conversation with presentations on concrete examples of how Japanese and Korean cultures are intermeshed and how they have mutually influenced each other. Park Chan-kyong, the artistic director for ?Mediacity Seoul 2014?, will facilitate the conversation after the speakers each deliver their presentation.



Program & Schedule

Sep. 30, 2013



Presentation: Wang Hui

Facilitator: Hwang Hoduk

Venue: The Lobby of the Main Building of SeMA

Topic: East Asian Empire & Political Culture of Colonialism, with Focus on China

[*] This program is provided in Korean and English.

Oct. 1, 2013



Presentation: Alain Badiou, C?cile Winter

Facilitator: Seo Yong Soon

Venue: Multi-purpose Hall (8F), Seoul City Hall

Topic: Particularity of Culture and Universality of Art / Colonialism is today

[*] This program is provided in Korean and French.

Oct. 2, 2013



Presentation: siren eun young jung, Hwang Hoduk, Park Sohyun

Facilitator: Park Chan-kyong

Venue: Conference Room (1F) of the Office Building of SeMA

Topic: East Asia as a Bricolage, with Focus on Japan

[*] This program is provided in Korean only.


How to participate in the CONVERSATION

This program is open to public participation. Reservation is recommended. → PROGRAM 01 ? CONVERSATION → REQUEST


Hosted by

Seoul Metropolitan Government /


Organized by

Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA) /


In collaboration with

Kyung Hee University


Address for the venues

SeMA: Deoksugung-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul

Seoul City Hall: 110 Sejongdae-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul



Wang Hui

Wang is a professor in the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Tsinghua University, Beijing. As the executive editor (1996-2007) of the influential magazine Dushu (??, Reading), he brought a wave of new perspective in the 1990s Chinese intellectual society. While criticizing both the negative aspects of Chinese reform and liberalization policies, as well as the market-oriented neo-liberalism, he has been arguing from a stance that is different from traditional socialism. His major works include in Chinese, From An Asian Perspective: The Narrations of Chinese History (?亞洲視野:中國歷史的?述?, 2010), The Rise of Modern Chinese Thought (four volumes) (?現代中國思想的興起?, 2004?2009), and Rekindling Frozen Fire: The Paradox of Modernity (?死火重溫?, 2000).


Hwang Hoduk

A professor of Korean and Korean Literature at Sungkyunkwan University and a literary critic, Hwang began his critical activities by publishing a literary critique in the journal Munhak Sasang (Literary Thoughts) in 1999 and a film critique in KINO in 2001. He is a recipient of Go Seokkyu Literary Criticism Award and Korea Comparative Literature Award. He conceived of the publication series WHAT’S UP to re-politicize discourses in humanities; he is also its editor. His major works include in Korean Insects and empire (2011), Franken Marx: constellations in Korean contemporary literary criticism (2008), and Modern nations and their symbols: Other, traffic, translation, and ?criture (2005).


Alain Badiou

Known as a neo-Platonist, Alain Badiou is a philosopher whose body of works constitutes an important school of contemporary French thought. Since 2000, he has intervened in major social issues of our time and voicing a strong criticism against neo-liberal politics. He advocates “post-party” politics, leveling profound criticism against parliamentary democracy. He published many books on philosophy, including Manifeste pour la philosophie (1989), Petit manuel d’inesth?tique (1998), Saint Paul: la fondation de l’universalisme (1998), Logiques des mondes. L’?tre et l’?v?nement, 2. (2006), and ?loge de l’Amour (2009). He also the author of several novels and plays.


C?cile Winter

Formerly an active member of UCFml (L’Union des communistes de France marxiste-l?niniste), Winter worked a as medical doctor in Africa and fought against colonialism and AIDS. She is the author of numerous pamphlets, as well as the book Circonstances 3: Port?es du mot ‘juif,’ (2005), which she co-wrote with Alain Badiou, and “The Master-Signifier of the New Aryans: What Made the Word ‘Jew’ into an Arm Brandished Against the Multitude of ‘Unpronounceable Names?”.


Seo Yong Soon

He received his Ph.D. with Alain Badiou as his thesis advisor. In the past several years, he has been introducing Badiou’s thoughts and works in Korea and adding depth to his understanding of phenomenology and political philosophy. He is a research professor at Institute of Humanities in Yeungnam University and has translated Beckett, l’increvable d?sir (2013), Manifeste pour la philosophie (2010) into Korean and has written numerous papers on Badiou in Korean, including “Being, Truth, and Subject in Badiou’s Philosophy: Exploration of Badiou’s Thoughts with a focus on Being and Event” and “Modernity in Art and Badiou’s Thought on Inaesthetics.”


siren eun young jung

She is an artist who is interested in how swarming desires of anonymous individuals meet world events, and how they become acts of resistance, history, and/or politics. In Yeosung Gukgeuk Project (2008?present), she has been tracing a community of female gukgeuk actors; and in Dongducheon Project (2007?present), she inquires about the life of death of women in the U.S. army base town of Dongducheon. She has had three solo exhibitions, including Rehearsal (2010). She participated in Festival Bom (2013), as well as other public and group events and shows. She was nominated for H?rmes Foundation Missulsang (2013), an art prize.


Park Sohyun

She is a senior researcher at Korea Culture and Tourism Institute and an Adjunct Professor in the School of Art, Sungkyunkwan University. Her research interest includes art history that cannot be categorized along national borders and how it can then be studied from various perspectives, such as that of the institutionalization and discourse of art. She is the author of 『?場としての美術館』(2012), Asia event (co-author, 2013), Reading abstract art (co-author, 2012), and Modern East Asian Art and Modernity (co-author, 2008).