Memories in Seoul(2017) is a co-produced artwork with travelers to create new images by collecting and connecting their memories of places in Seoul. I referred to the Seoul official tourist guide to choose the places which were put into five categories: cultural heritages (palaces), landmarks (towers), traditional spots (temples), markets, and parks. At first, forty places were chosen for the project. Finally, twenty places were selected among them to show off Seoul: old and new, at various times and angels.The resulting image created through ten different layers of memories can be understood as a coexisted image, in a phenomenological sense. This work intends to present a common image of diverse perceptions and remembrances of a place that foreign travelers have of a place. The term I coined to refer to such image is a “Medial Image”.
As a Seoulite, I wanted to see my city, Seoul, as a stranger. This led me to intermingle with a diverse group of friends from different countries and spend time touring the city with them during my university years. Although we were from different walks of life, I felt as if the city could connect us. Throughout those moments, we were able to create slightly different, but similar memories, sharing precious moments.
I have noticed that Seoul is continually changing. More foreigners go around Seoul taking photos. The city, once monocultural, now has become open and diverse with all kinds of people from around the world. This change seems to be accumulated with different layers on every level within the city. As such, I was struck with the idea to create an image crossed with divergent memories of tourists, by using a post-production multiple exposure.
Changing spots at sites, I asked ten to fifteen foreigners to take a picture with my camera, a Cannon 5D Mark IV with 24-105mm lens, to capture their memory of the location at that time. I searched participants from all continents to bring diversity. I ended up using ten qualifying photos on each site because of exceptions such as selfies or group photos. The number of combined photos is important because lesser than ten could not produce a standard image of the site and more than ten made it difficult to grasp existing objects at the site. Photoshop was used to layer ten shots, adjusting its transparencies. A newly created image that each individual snap cannot show, visually represents the average memories of diverse people. As a creative director, I played a vital role to produce an aggregated image, not only layering collected photos from participants but also linking their unexpected and unintended worlds.
All in all, every composite image of my portfolio is an average offshoot of ten travelers’ memorable scenes at a specific place and time in Seoul. Apparently or obscurely, you can tell the gaps between layers, as every person captured diversely. More importantly, however, it presents a compatible image from discrete photos beyond disparate perspectives.