Gwangju Blog

Essentials with JD #412 **30 DAYS TILL GWANGJU BIENNALE**



With 30 days to go until the opening of the 2018 Gwangju Biennale, preparations are well under way.


With the theme of ‘Imagined Borders’, this year’s Biennale will see 165 artists from 43 different countries participate in a series of seven exhibitions exploring the political, cultural, physical and emotional concepts of borders in today’s global community.


The Biennale Foundation is trying to promote the event to local citizens. It has opened the promotion hall at the cultural square at Shinsaege Department store and also planning to communicate with baseball fans visiting KIA Champions Field on the 10th. It is also giving out free gifts through SNS events.


For this edition of the Gwangju Biennale, a collective of 11 curators from around the world devised a program of thematic exhibitions, in addition to a monumental new program, the GB Commission and a series of Pavilion Projects will be taking place across the City.


The Biennale will kick off from September 7th to November 11th for 66 days. The opening ceremony will take place at the Gwangju Biennale Plaza in Unamdong from 7:30 pm on September 6th showcasing a new media projection performance directed by well known media artist Lee Yi Nam.



Essentials with JD #411 **GWANGJU CHEON POOL**


Gwangju Stream natural swimming pool reopened to the public Tuesday.


If you are free and in the city check it out to stay cool as temperatures will remain around the mid 30’s for the coming week. 


The swimming pool which is located in Donggu Yongsan town open after four years of setbacks due to severe drought.


The outdoor pool can be enjoyed with natural water and no chemical filtration process. The water is cleaned through layers of rock, two regeneration basins full of plant and animal life, and the sun’s UV rays.


It will be opened from 10am to 5pm on weekdays and weekends, and entry is free. For visitors safety , the City will assign 4 private safety guards and established safety measures in cooperation with related authorities.


To keep the water clean and foster a safe playing environment, outside food and alcoholic beverages are not allowed.


Closest subway is Sotae. 






This past week has seen the hottest temperature on record broken, and then again. Therefore, I was looking for an image which could somehow help to put our current heatwave into perspective.  I took a bunch of photos where I tried to broach this feeling visually.  For example, I was attracted to the drip of water from window A/C units, overcrowded mountain-top swimming holes, or an elderly man selling electronic mini-fans outside a subway station entrance. The images I ended up with were relevant, but somehow didn’t quite put our current situation into perspective.

In this process of photographing and working with images after the fact, I found that the image above stood out among the others. It was taken almost in passing. When photographing for the blog, I usually carry a medium format camera to capture details about which I find and photograph digitally along the way. (On this day I had a Hasselblad with an 80mm lens and the longest extension tube Hasselblad offers to compliment an aging Ricoh GR digital.) I had passed by a small bed of flowers outside a local cultural center. While there was nothing outstanding about the images which resulted digitally from the encounter, I found myself drawn to this wilted flower taken on 6x6cm film. The image is underexposed, a miscalculation of exposure on my part. (When using such long extension tubes its necessary to compensate +2 stops of exposure.) Yet I feel that this lack of light somehow carries an emotional quality I fully understood in that sweltering moment. This was nearly the last flower to bloom in a bed of dozens. Its pedals seemed overly fragile, altogether unprepared for the furnace of life. The dark tinted image drew my eye towards this intimate scene.

In retrospect, the image does not show as aspect of human visual culture which this blog so frequently represents. However, if lucky, the flower provokes an impassioned empathetic response from the viewer, or at least a shared understanding of “I feel ya man.” I did nothing for this flower that day. My energy and momentum wilted away under a gauze of pure survival. (The heat makes such a convenient scapegoat for floral in-action and blog topics alike.) In any case, I hope that you readers are making the most of your precious cool moments during the day, and realize that we are in this wave together.


[Image taken with a Hasselblad 503cxi using an 80mm f2.8 lens and a 55mm extension tube, and was shot on Fuji Velvia 100.]


(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)



Essentials with JD #410 **SUMMER BEACH VACATION FYI**


As many are still on vacation or heading to the sea side in the prolonged heatwave ~ extra caution should be taken. Not only should you be extra vigilant at the beach or any open water but remember to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen.


If you are heading or already at the beach, the Eastern and Southern coastal areas are being put under high sea water temperature alerts.


As of 3:00pm last Wednesday, the National Institute of Fisheries Science issued high sea water temperature advisories on East coast regions of the Korean Peninsula from Pohang to Ulsan and Busan to Tongyeong.


With the new advisories issued, the alerts expanded to all over the East and South coastal regions while high sea water temperature advisories remain in effect for more than a week in West coast areas from Haenam to Yeonggwang and Choongnam’s Cheonsoo Bay.


According to the institute, sea water temperatures in East coastal area sit at around 27 to 28.5 degrees Celsius while the mercury rose up to 28.5 to 29 degrees in South Sea and Jeju areas and 27.5 to 28.5 degrees in West Sea area.

Also beware of red tide warnings and if you are in fresh water the government has started releasing green tide warnings too.


( will also keep you up to date on all relevant local news)

Essentials with JD #409 ** KEEP COOL IN HEATWAVE**


Yesterday was the 23rd consecutive day that Gwangju-Jeonnam has recorded temperatures of over 33 degrees Celsius, breaking the previous record of 19 days in 1994.


Currently, 22 cities in Gwangju-Jeonnam have been issued with heat wave warnings. And at the same time, the tropical night phenomenon continues its record-breaking stretch as the mercury hovers above 25 degrees through the evening and into the predawn hours in most parts.


Gwangju experienced its 13th consecutive tropical night, while for residents in Yeosu, it was their 15th straight night.


The current heat wave is forecast to continue through early August and  the number of people with heat-related illnesses are expected to exceed the previous record reached two years ago.


If you are in Gwangju there will be some spots available to splash about; one in Sangmu and the other in Donggu ACC. Wear your sunscreen and a hat. 

If you are in the Suncheon area, they are holding a festival involving hip hop music, chicken and beer from Friday to Saturday at Suncheon Bay National Garden.


The DJ festival simultaneously held with Mulbit Festival will present famous DJs in the hip hop scene, food and water gun fight.


The festivity begins at around 5:30pm and will last until 9:00pm each day.


The Mulbit Festival which is being held from 6:00pm to 10:00pm showcases the beautiful night scenery at the national garden will run till the 26th.

Please stay cool and hydrated through this relentless heat.