The power of cultural content is tremendous. The influence of the pop culture industry, consisting mainly of movies and music, is very powerful. The movie industry, from movies like The Lord of the Rings, Avatar, and Transformers, has developed an enormous market compared to any other industry built on copyrights, sales revenue, and tourist increases. And the pop music industry formed a market just as huge as that of the movie industry backed with artists such as Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and Michael Jackson.
Movies and music are not the only powerful parts of culture. Andy Warhol, the symbolic icon of modern art, broke the boundaries between pop art and fine art and led a revolutionary change not only in traditional art, but visual art such as movies, advertising, and designing. One interesting point in particular is that his works are based on all-American subjects combined with mass production which was the science and industry stream of the 20th century, with which he led the trend of modern art.
The development of Hallyu (the Korean Wave) which began in the early 21st century is quite remarkable as well. From Hallyu singers like HOT and BoA, drama series such as Winter Sonata, to recent K-Pop, they are winning fans with advances into the U.S. and the U.K. However the reality is that cultural art based on Korean subjects is rather far apart from public attention despite its world-class originality and excellence.
Amid all this, the IT Times met with Doh Myung-guk, President of the Korean Society of Culture Industry, who is working day and night to shed new light on Korean cultural art by modernly imagining the art works of the late Paik Nam June - the world famous all-Korean video artist of original excellence, and had a chance to hear about the current activities of the Korean Society of Culture Industry.
The Korean Society of Culture Industry is an academic society of cultural artists and scholars of all genres based on the Social Sciences of Economics and Business Administration. It plays a role in setting the stage for intercommunication between not only the related professors but together with all those in culture and art by covering activities from intangible culture to the final cultural activities that are in touch with consumers, such as performing arts and tangible artworks.
Global Cultural content of Korea
President Doh said, "Arirang and Hanbok (Korean traditional costumes) are symbols of the traditional culture that stirs images of the Korean tradition. Like so, there is a need for a modern image symbolizing the Korean culture. Although cultural content like K-Pop and Hallyu drama series that are gaining the spotlight recently are without a doubt the representative cases of successful commercialization of Korean culture, it is quite difficult to regard them as modern images of Korean culture.," He went on to explain that "In order for us to let the world see the Korean culture's modern image, we need our own style of storytelling. What could be the global image that can represent Korea, a country that achieved its growth through rapid industrialization The best image would be none other than Paik Nam June. Some may already know, but if you visit just about any gallery in Europe or the U.S., you can find that Paik Nam June's works are always on display. The British Museum in particular even has a separate Paik Nam June Hall. Paik Nam June's works' awareness and value in the world is so great that they would bring art history into the U.S. from Europe. However, recognition for Paik Nam June is in fact rather imperceptible in Korea. The more we are indifferent, the more we will be losing cultural content like the globally-recognized and all-Korean Paik Nam June. This is why efforts to find, popularize and commercialize works of Paik Nam June are needed as a national policy."
Recently, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism together with the Seoul Metropolitan Government and KBS signed an MOU to establish the Seoul Paik Nam June Memorial Hall. Meanwhile, the Korean Society of Culture Industry will host an international symposium called Shedding New Lights on Paik Nam June this October to contribute to enhancing the image of Paik Nam June. From these strings of works, the image of Paik Nam June is enhanced globally as Korea's representative modern video artist, and the recovery of his works are done simultaneously.
Presenting an Alternative Policy to Create Smart Content in the Smart Media Age
Ever since Mr. Doh took the presidency of the Korean Society of Culture Industry in March this year, the society has been implementing bold open-door policies to recruit experts in a variety of fields. His explanation is that just like any other sector; culture sector's integration with IT technology is indivisible. For example, in copyright protection, digital watermarking or fingerprinting technology is used, and regarding illegal internet downloading in the U.S., they agreed on applying the copyright alert system in which technical support is needed. And when the people all across the world organize flash mobs to demand Korea's K-pop singers, real-time connectivity must at the foundation.
It is for these reasons why President Doh initiated right from his appointment his bold open-door policy of recruiting field experts as members in order to diversely graft onto the engineering sector. He intends to clearly define the currently ambiguous concept of CT, and present an alternative policy to create smart content in this smart media age.
In the symposium that was held in Korea University last fall, a variety of theses from the engineering sector were presented for the first time and were received very well. Some of the theses were on 'Ways to reduce motion sickness for 3D movies,' 'Technology of faster search for videos,' and 'How cultural imaginations are realized as technology,' all in which proved the importance of interdisciplinary research.
President Doh said, "It's safe to say that culture includes everything around us from intangible values to final goods such as art works or performances. Until now, culture had its fatal weakness where it would be deemed standardized or monotonous if emphasized too much on the publicity part, and if emphasized too much on the commercial part, it would of course be fun and diverse but at the same time flow in populism. That's why the proposition to industrialize culture can be regarded as a product of the age which is made from a compromise between the diverse general public, fun seeking and the publicity. However in this age, it is difficult to swim against that culture commercialization trend."
He also stressed that, "Our society intends to plan commercialization of art works of performances or artists, foresee the marketability of the products, and measure the economic effect through demand survey. The scholars, I think, can play their roles in these portions where they can document the cultural history. Furthermore, we will not only take our role as the watchdog for the government's culture policy but also as the proposer."