MYTHS OF THE NEAR FUTURE
Artists: Adrián Villar Rojas, Agustina Triquell, Choi Yun, Eduardo Molinari, Im Heung-soon, Lucrecia Lionti, Part-Time Suite and Hong Young In
Curators: Sofía Dourron and Javier Villa
Gwangju, South Korea
Myths of the Near Future is part of MaytoDay, a durational, multi-sited exhibition project organized by the Gwangju Biennale Foundation to commemorate the 40th anniversary of May 18 Democratization Movement. Also known as the ‘Gwangju uprising’ or the ‘Gwangju massacre’, the civil resistance which lasted between 18 – 27 May, 1980 against the brutal military dictatorship, was pivotal in South Korea’s move towards democracy.
For more than forty years, every Thursday, the Madres de Plaza de Mayo have walked in circles around the Pirámide de Mayo, claiming their missing sons and daughters, disappeared by the last civic-military dictatorship in Argentina (1976-1983). With their circling, each week the Madres create a new time that holds history and also holds future: sustaining their position, they move forward in the construction of a new paradigm of human rights and politics in Argentina. They have created a clock that is a conversation of times, that recreates itself week after week, and that is already part of our near future. In May 1980, while the Madres were already walking around the Pirámide, in Gwangju, the citizens rallied in circles around the fountain at the Provincial Hall Square, holding arms to sustain their position, to resist marshall law and the army’s attack on the city. During five days they took over the city government and orderly gathered around the fountain as the newly formed Citizen’s Settlement Committee, an expansive circle of waves, like a stone thrown into a fountain of time. A wave consists in the propagation of a disturbance of a property of space, which implies mobilizing energy without the movement of matter. Instead of compressing time, the wave expands it. The furthest ripple -the biggest one and the first one to appear- is constantly moving forward, thus time can be understood as a never-ending circular projection. These circular stories of resistance in motion, both in Argentina and South Korea, can be read as conclaves of time, from which myths of origin may arise.
Myths of the near future presents projects that resonate in the gesture of moving forward safeguarding a position. It brings together four South Korean and four Argentine artists that use historical materials and experiences as sources for their practices, image production as a tool to circulate and sustain ideology, and who aim at the near future as the primary drift of memory. These unlikely encounters seek to foster the invention of a common language between two distant countries, a language that may allow us to share akin experiences of trauma, strategies for resistance and forms of memory, both directly linked or suggestively related to the military dictatorships that marked the 20th century in Argentina and Korea.
Myths of the near future features artists that believe in the power of fiction to uphold or revise an inherited ideology and its tales, so to extract a future from the past. In the territory of fiction, information can become myth. And myths are one of the most efficient tools to uphold ideologies in
the public realm. As ideology uses and survives inside different hosts, these artists recast past narratives with a multitude of new and unsettled imaginaries, topics and materials. They actively and poetically revisit militant films from the late 60s, old korean protest songs, degraded artisanal techniques, neglected archives, and chamanic rituals, they collaborate with others, human and non-human witnesses of tragedy and violence. The question these works respond to is not so much what happened in the past, but how to use it to imagine the future.