Investigating Neighborhood: A Walk To Remember, A Walk To Envision

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Dongducheon is a small city of ninety-six square kilometers (37 square miles) with a population of 88,000. Located halfway between the capital city Seoul and the South Korean border with North Korea, the city has been allocated for the stationing of foreign military bases by the central government since the Japanese Colonial era (1905-1945). Nearly half of its territory is currently occupied by U.S. Army bases, and most of the rest is mountainous. Squeezed in between, the people of Dongducheon have had few options for their survival besides succumbing to the top-down policies made by mega-structural powers. The city has served, and has been structured and represented as only a "military camp town." The problem here is not just the fact that there have been a series of interventions, regulations, and controls inflicted upon the region by external invisible hands behind the scenes, but also that the interventions were so fundamental and persistent as to interfere with interpersonal and inter-communal recognition, communication, and relationships. In these times of a "new world order," expansive global capitalism, corporate development, and competitive privatization, the city stands bare in front of us as a site of collective negation, manipulation, elimination, exception, oblivion, and invisibility.

Investigating Neighborhood: A Walk To Remember, A Walk To Envision

With the help of art and artists as creative public agents, this project serves as a medium for reinterpretation, articulation, provocation, communication, and action in the region, and necessarily requires us to critically reexamine the limitations of our own attitudes as they contribute to the ongoing neglect and misunderstanding of the region. As the first attempt to locate Dongducheon within art production and cultural discourse, this project hopes to evoke diverse perspectives and discussions on other similar neighborhood regions, to support an awareness of autonomous local voices, and inspire the will to envision the future of Dongducheon.