"The FAR Game: Constraints Sparking Creativity" 2016.05.28-2016.11.27
Hence plot prices are at a premium, and the architect is always under strict orders to augment useable floor area in order to maximize a developer’s and land owner’s profits. The other is an urban building regulatory system where strict and unyielding rules give public officials little discretion for negotiation.
Facing this tug-of-war between private profit and public regulation, how is the Korean architect truly to ply his trade, and infuse his work with some form of aesthetic or socio-cultural considerations? The answer from today’s Korean architects, evidenced by the 36 buildings showcased in this exhibit, is to use the constraints brought on by the FAR game to spark their creativity rather than allowing those constraints to stifle it.
The main target is medium-scale multi-family houses or mixed-use buildings, which in earlier times would not have been on the radar of most architects. Yet, as this exhibit will show, these projects are now providing fertile grounds for creative responses to the intense high-stakes pressures of the FAR game.
Kyungsub SHIN provides a macro view for each of the 36 buildings in the main exhibit with photographs from a distance, sometimes from the sky. While the backdrops to most of the buildings look fairly standardized and flat at first, a heterogeneous and chaotic fabric soon comes into view. More difficult is to actually discern the buildings designed by architects, those which purport to impose themselves positively on the cityscape. It underscores the breadth of the task ahead for today’s architects, who mostly play the FAR Game one building at a time, hoping to slowly transform the identity of the city.
Using fine calligraphic brushes, Seongeun KANG details the façades of multifamily houses, with a simple elegance that belies their banal designs. Star and flower patterns on the facades appear detached from the buildings, which exude the compartmented functionality that is often a consequence of the FAR game played haphazardly. Other’sHomecapturestheanonymitycreatedbybuilderswhodon’tfullytakeownershipoftheircraft,andreflectsaformofunconsciousthinkingthatstillpervadeslarge swaths of everyday life in the city.
Seungwoo BACK has photographed thousands of multifamily houses in Korea over the years. He often creates images that capture a tinge of the poverty that Koreans have tried to erase from their memories. While Seoul tries to measure up to the prestige other global cities, the awkward and disjoint appendages in these buildings mock such an endeavor, as they chronicle a disorganized and desperate search for additional living space. While the FAR game can result in the continuation of a cultural identity rooted in a difficult past, these photographs can serve as a clarion call to the next generation of Korean architects, who are tasked with reshaping the urban battleground to reflect the nation’s highest aspirations, even as they continue to be tethered to the reins of the FAR game.
Yeondoo JUNG’s BuildingRecollectiondocumentsfragments of streetscapes in an aging urban neighborhood. Images of buildings composed of a series of photographs seem frozen at first, but upon closer observation the images crawl slowly across the screen, as if to emphasize the plodding persistence of an impoverished identity. Monologues from residents reinforce the way residents identify with their homes, and in that way are also caught maintaining a stagnant sense of self. Here the FAR game is a context for the accumulated memories of their lives, which follow in lock-step the notion that desires for space and freedom will never fully be realized.
Commissioner: Arts Council Korea
Curator: Sung Hong KIM
Associate Curators: Eungee CINN, Keehyun AHN, Seungbum KIM, Isak CHUNG, Da Eun JEONG