Q & A of the residency program based on dialogue during the MCH Open Space session on November 22nd, 2022.
Curator’s note, Sunyoung Oh:
By foregrounding the diverse social functions of art, the project “Song of the Wind” aims to represent a new paradigm of artistic practice. Song of the Wind is the public platform and is conceived as a Third Place that facilitates the sharing of the processes and outcomes of the art project whilst working towards sustainable solidarity or cooperation, especially in aiming to incorporate an economy of social benefit. In this context, participants become “migrant workers.”
Terms and conditions
Q: Please can you clarify the conditions of the residency e.g. financial and in-kind support that will be provided to the selected artists and researchers?
A: The residency will cover:
– Travel expenses: flight tickets and local transfers (one-time round trip), provide an official invitation letter for visa application
– Free accommodation (which will be shared rooms in an ordinary house provided by the community for the purpose of hosting the artists in residence)
– Artist fee: This will be a flat fee, including a daily living stipend.
Artists can also plan to earn approximately 130,000 KRW per full day’s farming work.
The residency is not able to cover travel or health insurance, but the participants must arrange to have this.
Q: Do you have a budget for materials for artists to make work?
A: No, we don’t have a separate budget for this. Also please note that the facilities and materials on the island will be very limited e.g. professional printing etc.
“Song of the Wind” has three main elements: First, a socially collaborative art project related to marine ecology that involves the efforts of artists, architects, and villagers to improve the fishing village together. Second, the ambition to establish an economy of social benefit relates to the livelihood issues of artists and local communities, and it employs the artist’s labor as a problem-solving strategy. Third, as a collaborative education project of civil society, the project aims to share wisdom and to devise sustainable ways to overcome ecological crises and present a new paradigm of artistic practice.”
The residency program is related to the second part. However, during the residency program period, participants can suggest a collaborative education project of civil society, and in this case, its budget will be separately supported.
Q: Will there be a contract?
A: There will not be any contract between you and the farmers. If participants give up halfway without completing a month’s work, responsible completion of the promised schedule is essential because it can adversely affect the harvest of the local people.
Q: What are your goals for this residency? E.g. are the economic goals to help the community increases their income?
A: The goals for the artists are open, however, income generation is not a priority. The inspiration is that fishermen need help with seaweed farming and artists also need to get money. I would like to explore how they co-work together. I also want to understand more about the problems between Koreans and migrant workers and reduce the gap between these communities. By living as migrant workers, the artists may be able to help with this through their work.
Q: What outcomes are you looking for in a research-based way? Can we propose a short-term project to improve sustainability, for example?
A: I am very open to embracing discussions and suggestions on sustainable cooperation. I am very open to embracing discussions and suggestions on sustainable cooperation. And I think if there is a way for participants to do something during the participation period, they can try it. However, we do not support a separate budget for it.
Q: What is the final output you are expecting?
A: The residency program participants must submit their research and experiences during the residency period in essay form. And they need to have a lecture (in person and online) or/and create a collaborative education project for civil society during the residency period.
Q: Will even those participants with less time for research during their residency still be expected to share?
Q: Can collectives apply?
A: Yes, collectives can apply however the Artist Fee would need to be shared among members. Income from Seaweed farming can be earned on an individual basis. Travel expenses and the stipend will only be provided to one person.
Q: Are social activists eligible to apply?
A: Yes, social activists are welcome to apply.
Q: Can you describe a typical day? Working hours? What will be the balance of farming work vs artistic work during the residency?
A: There are two types of work, fishing and kelp farming. Fishing is for men only, and kelp farming is for everyone. We will do kelp farming. For fishing, you will need to follow the fishermen’s hours, which change according to the weather conditions. Usually, they set the plan a day in advance when they know the forecast. It is morning time. Therefore, the work schedule in detail will be set in consultation with the farmer who will work later. Drying seaweed happens in both the morning time and afternoon time. There is a break for lunch. They work every day (7 days per week) during the season. They don’t work on rainy days. The Curator, Sunyoung, will help to negotiate times and schedules between artists and farmers.
If there is bad weather, you will have free time for research and artistic work. For artists who can stay over the ‘summer’ period (July and August), there will be a lot of free time for research, as there is no farming during this time.
Q: The first period is May-June and the second is September – November. What is the minimum duration you can apply to stay?
A: The minimum period is one month. Fishermen work and pay on a monthly basis.
Q: Will we have a different experience depending on which period we go in?
A: Not really no, the work and life are the same in both periods.
Q: Can you stay in between?
A: Yes, you can.
Daily interaction between the artists and the community
Q: How will we manage language? What language do the villagers speak?
A: The local language is Korean, and people generally do not speak English. There will be a challenge to communicate. We do not have an official interpreter. Sunyoung (Curator) will help with interpretation when she is available.
Q: Will it be a problem if the artists are bad farmers? We might cause issues for the farmers, and it could create problems
A: The farming work is straightforward and simple. The Curator Sunyoung has done it herself. If she has done it, you can do it!
Q: How can we make connections with local people and institutions who may be able to help us e.g. local research institutes?
A: Sunyoung can help with this.
Q: How are the farmers organized? E.g. are they in co-ops or collectives?
A: There is a fishing cooperative because each region in Korea has a fishing industry. So we can say they are organized, but also they work individually.
Q: What’s the living situation of the villagers?
A: In general, they are comfortable. They live simply; they are content with life, not wanting things they do not have. They are mostly financially stable.
Q: Where do the migrant workers come from?
A: I have met workers from Russia, Uzbekistan, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia. But I do not have a comprehensive list. Mainly from within Asia and Russia.
Q: Where do the migrant workers stay? Do they live with/ within the community or are they separated?
A: They live in the villagers’ place where they work. This is because it should be easy to move on time together. After all, they have to work on the premise of collaboration together.
Q: What will the weather be like?
A: May – June is considered spring/summer, and September-November is fall. These periods are the seaweed farming times because not too hot and not too cold. July – August is the only break time for fishermen in a year.
Q: Is it warm enough to swim?
A: I haven’t been swimming myself, but I have seen people swimming. There is a beach in Yaksan-myeon.
Q: Looking at the map I see the island is part of an archipelago. How easy or difficult is it to travel around the area?
A: Travelling around is no problem. You can travel to other islands by public ferry or travel to other areas by public transportation.
Q: Is there a good wi-fi connection in the village?
A: Wi-Fi is easy to access in public places, but it is limited.
More background to the residency
Q: Why is it called Song of the Wind?
A: The island area of Korea is stunning. At the same time, winds are fierce. At first, when I decided on the title of this project, I thought the Song of the Wind would be suit, and I searched to see if there was anything else of the same name before I confirmed the title. Then there was a song by famous Korean singer Cho Yong-Pil. The lyrics of this song exactly resemble the message I want to convey to people through this project. So, the first promotional video of this project included Song of the Wind of Cho Yong-Pil, sung by villagers.
Q: Where can we learn more about the research that has been done so far by the Curator?
A: You can have a look at the website of Look Who’s Talking: http://lookwhoistalking.info/