Master Plan for Duamdong

Type of work: Project

Exhibition: Gwangju Biennial 2016

Location: Nuribom Community Centre, 845-8, Duam2-dong, Buk-gu, Gwangju

Year: 2016

Curator: Maria Lind

Production: Gwangju Biennial 2016

Courtesy: Nuribom Community Center, the artists

Photographs: Apolonija Šušteršič, Aeri Jeong, Dari Bae.

Technical data:

Video – film 20:44 min, HDV-projection, Duamdong table game; table with benches 2.00 x 2.00 m, birch multiplex, table top printed with the Duamdong site plan, game instructions, plexi-glass box

with fags and plexi-glass buttons with symbol of street elements, info display, and program of special events.

Concept: THE MASTER PLAN FOR DUAMDONG was an art project that ran for about a year, produced by the Gwangju Biennial 2016. The active part of the project started up in spring 2016 and ran until September 2016 in cooperation with the Nuribom Community Centre in Duamdong, on the outskirts of Gwangju. The project was set up through several workshops with local inhabitants, public talks and urban actions. The aim was to create a discursive platform for local inhabitants to raise awareness about the place as it is today, and to work on issues related to the neighborhood in the near and possible future. Master Plan for Duamdong was composed as an

Action research project with several parts:

1) Learning from Duamdong: several workshops with residents from Duamdong.

2) Project Proposal: a video-film and a table game.

3) Public Presentations: Between artists, residents, politicians and city officials.

4) Public Lectures and Discussions on the subject of gentrification, eco-community and self-organization.

Duamdong is an interesting neighborhood, the only one at present in Gwangju without a development plan. It is situated within the Buk-gu District on the North side of the city, just next to Mudeungsan Mountain. Duamdong was built in the 1980s on rice fields. It was built after the Gwangju uprising under the Chun Doo-Hwan government as a low-rise housing area with various types of detached houses and family villas.

The idea of Master Plan for Duamdong was to demonstrate an alternative to the conventional urban development plan, which usually imposes the future of a place under the premise of the production of economic benefits rather than social relations. Master Plan for Duamdong tried to develop ideas for sustainability and resilience that originate in context. One could imagine a very particular kind of development in the Duamdong neighborhood that is related to the knowledge already situated in the area’s inhabitants. The alternative we presented within Master Plan for Duamdong to the public (city officials and biennale public) was a suggestion, not a solution, and possibly a method. The project created a platform for an exchange between people and the place, between the residents, city officials and the biennial public, to question the idea of progress and development under the conditions of present economic realities. We organized several workshops, actions and events where we invited people from the neighborhood as well as city officials to meet, talk and listen to each other.

With our workshops we began to speak about the present and the possible future of Duamdong. None of the issues that participants at the workshops mentioned suggested major change of the place, but mainly shifts that would deal with very regular modes of operation that could be described as improvements.

Through our workshops with local inhabitants we learned that the future doesn’t have to be grand – a total turnover; it doesn’t have to change the life of people living in this neighborhood completely. It can just as well continue to grow and change organically – slowly adjusting to contemporary needs, finding small and smart solutions that serve everyday life in the neighborhood. Instead of making another heavy document as a Master Plan we demonstrated an alternative – an open process, a suggestion for the community that they can pick up and develop, without any obligation to follow it up.