Monday 24 June 2013

Heyri Art Village and Bye Byes!

Oooo hiya!!!
So a couple of weeks ago I waved farewell to magical Korea.... I was super sad to leave as I had such an awesome time there and working on this project has been both mega challenging and amazing... so although I didn't want it to come to an end, I'm glad that I left with a bunch of such special memories and got to experience so many incredible/scary/fun things!!!!
So in the whirlwind of installing the exhibition, wrapping up the projects, farewell parties, last minute shopping etc.... I never had a chance to share this weird and wonderful place that I visited during my final few days in Korea... 
I'd heard of this place before I'd even actually arrived in Korea and I had my heart set on going whilst I was over there and finally I found the chance to go, just in the nick of time, before I said 'Bye Bye' to kimchi land!!! This little gem is called 'Heyri Art Village' and lies on the cusp of the DMZ~  unusual location as you have this crazy little art village and cute cafes and then a few yards away you have armed border guards, views over North Korea and mile upon mile of barbed wire, so an interesting area to see~ but to be honest, after similar backdrops on the island for such a prolonged period, I was more into the Toy Museum, weird giant Daikon sculptures and strawberry cream cakes!!!

Heyri is about an hour north of Seoul so it was a fun little day trip and chance to see another part of Korea.... bit of countryside action in the mix and all that!!!! It's basically a compound of art studios and independent galleries dotted with parks, woodland sculptures, houses, bookstores, bakeries...It's home to over 400 artists and writers and acts as a place of inspiration in an isolated creative environment....the architecture is particularly exciting as each and every building is totally different and I loved how around every corner there was something really a ramshackle, old red bus and a rogue mushroom house sitting atop a building?!?!? Really bizarre place....LOVED IT!!!
It was such a fun day...we spent hours trawling a few different museums and sampling several of the cafes....we seemed to be stopping for a snack every 5 minutes!!!! It was also in Heyri Art Village that I found the best 'Patbingsu' to date in Korea... basically when it started getting warmer during my time in Korea my ever favourite 'Bungeoppang' red bean fish started becoming less frequent around the markets and ice sherbet aka Patpingsu/ 'Popping-Su' started taking it's place... I was quite excited about this as I always love an Asian shaved ice dessert and I guess this Korean version is kind of like a fancier variety of Japanese Kakigori... As those last few weeks were pretty warm and humid, I found many excuses to sneak in a patbingsu here and there and 9 times out of 10 the best combos were from the tiny back alley food joints as they threw ALLSORTS in there...anyway.... as I said...the best one I found was from a little kiosk in Heyri Art came with the standard: ice/condensed milk/red bean/mochi combo but was packed to the rafters with cocktail cherries, pistachio ice cream, fruit salad and CORNFLAKES!!!! eeeesh AMAZING!!!
Yeah, so all in all an interesting day out....the place is surrounded by greenery and mountains and then you have this strange mix between super kitschy and conceptual which is interesting.... super slick eco-structures sitting alongside a fibreglass Minnie Mouse and life~size Blues Brothers statues...weird and amazing.... one of my favourite little trips whilst I was in Korea!!!
So, then I guess that brought me to the end of an awesome 3 months living in Kimchi~Land!!! it's over it seems to have flown by but, it seemed like such a long stretch, especially when I was living it up rural style on the island.... it's probably been one of my favourite projects to date just because it was so varied in terms of the different aspects from the field research, making of the garments, the photography collaborations and the animation....not to forget teaching the textile workshops and working with the women from the school on the island! I guess it was also a special trip in that it gave me a chance to get a broad insight into Korean culture as a whole from spending time in the city in both Seoul and Incheon and then really getting back to basics in the isolated realms of Baengnyeong-do...Working on the island was tough in parts, mainly because of the gigantic, horrible spiders and of course because of what I was seeing on the news during that time, not to mention the fact I have zero experience of living somewhere so remote and cut off.... but, it was also awesome...had I not had the opportunity to do this residency I would have most likely, never ever, EVER in my lifetime had the chance to go to Baengnyeong-do so it was really amazing to get to see and totally experience such a place!
Yeah, Korea was super fun from start to finish and I got to meet some magical I will miss it and hopefully will find myself back there sooner rather than later!
There are so many things that I am missing already.... sweet potato latte, awesome underground markets, constant K-Pop, cute cafes, glutinous rice donuts, street snacks, hanging around Hongdae and drinking bubble tea daily....too many things...but luckily I brought back a hefty supply of green tea with brown rice, endless sachets of matcha latte, my super special Bungeoppang pan, whopper stash of Korean facemasks and plenty of treats ranging from weird items of clothing to cute, new bento boxes and an outrageous amount of accessories and that should see me through!
Don't forget if you happen to be in Seoul or Incheon, there's still  chance to catch my exhibition, 'Tales from Blue Truck Island' at Incheon Art Platform until the 30th of June!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Emma xxx


Wednesday 12 June 2013

'The Whistle-Stop Diaires'

Thought it was about time that I showed you my magical collaboration with the super talented, animator, Will Adams!!! This was a project that began around 3 months ago at the start of my artist residency with Incheon Art Platform.
The idea was to work together in creating a visual diary based upon experiences on Baengnyeong-do... you can read the full speile below but, firstly you can have a little watch of the animation in all of it's rainbow coloured glory!!!....

''The Whistle-Stop Diaries' is a collaboration between Emma Bell and animator, Will Adams based on observations and experiences on South Korea's remote and most Northwestern island, Baengnyeong-do.
The concept was to mirror the practice of storytelling with reference to the idea of folktales as a method of communicating values and interpretations through sharing and 'passing on'. The process was to relay stories, interactions and personal impressions of Baengnyeong-do between Emma as the 'teller' and Will as the 'listener' and translate these ideas into a visual journal, presented as an animation.
'The Whistle-Stop Diaries' is a reflection of first hand encounters with the island's communities, landscape features and environmental characteristics with a focus on dialogue and exchange with the people of Baengyneong-do.
The animation was showcased as part of Emma's project titled, 'Tales from Blue Truck Island', developed during the 'IAP:Baengnyeong-do Peace Arts Residency 2013' and exhibited at Incheon Art Platform, South Korea May-June 2013."

Animator: Will Adams.

Original soundtrack by:
Sandy Martin & Matt Bradley.
Soundbook Studios.

This was such an awesome project to work on...and of course it also shows many of the special memories I have from Baengnyeong-do alongside some of the special people that I met there....from the woman snacking on the mountain herbs in the garden to the nun in her little, yellow bus and my mate with his sparkling golden Marines ring!!!
You can see more of Will's work on his website:
Don't forget if you are around Seoul or Incheon you can also go and watch the animation screening in Hall H at Incheon Art Platform until the 30th June 2013!!! 
Hope you enjoy!!!
Love and Sparkles,

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Exhibition at Incheon Art Platform!!!

Where does the time go?!?! Got a few bits and pieces that I need to whip up on the blog but, this past couple of weeks has just flown by and things have been so busy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So last week my solo exhibition opened at 'Incheon Art Platform' which was really exciting as I have been working in preparation for this over the past few months! My exhibition is called 'Tales from Blue Truck Island' and it will be running May 28th 2013-June 30th 2013 in Building H at Incheon Art Platform, South Korea. The exhibition features several aspects of my project that were developed during my time as artist in residence with the 'IAP: Baengnyeong-do Peace Arts Residency'.

Showing at the exhibition are the series of images of the wearable art works produced in collaboration with Seoul based photographer, Jessica Berggrun, and also screening is the animation collaboration titled, 'The Whistle-Stop Diaries', developed with animator, Will Adams. Also exhibited is some of the photographic documentation of the interactive elements of my project conducted with the community on Baengnyeong Island. 
I will be whipping out a separate post all about the magical animation and it's themes....but for now here are a few images from the current exhibition....if you happen to be in Seoul then please pop in and check it out, it's open 9am-6pm daily!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Love and Sparkles,