The common remarkable characteristic from both Asian Arts Theatre and ACC Creation is that ACC is not only a space to show the performance and exhibition, but also autonomously produces the contents for distribution domestically and internationally. To develop such a content, the role of ACC Archive & Research to support the sufficient study is important. The institution is led by the artistic director, Kim Sunjung, and has the departments including Research Institute of Asian Culture and Asian Cultural Resource Archives. At the time of the partial opening, the institution opened Library Park at 3rd and 4th basement floor and unfolded full 16 archive projects. When approaching the lobby, The Books of Asia project attracts our attention, which exhibits Japanese artist Shinro Ohtake’s large installation piece, Mon Cheri A Self Portrait as a Scrapped Shed(2012). Ohtake is famous for making his Scrap Book series with different images from the daily life, and this time he added the collected objects from all over the world to the architectural structure called “shed,” and proposed a kind of “self portrait.” The number of special projects for the opening is 3, and another 2 projects are Singapore Art Archive Project which is in cooperation with National Gallery Singapore and will be opened in November, and ACC in Archive. The later will permanently display the blueprints, sketches, and models of Woo Kyu Sung, the designer of ACC. Above all, the most important contents is the integrated Collections of 13 different subjects including architecture, performance art, cities, video art, photography, sound and music, experimental films, migration, electronics arcades, exhibition histories, creator and performance art, which the researchers have collected and studied the data to analyze Asia from the post war era to the present.
From the beginning, there has not been a day without problems, like the construction and execution, assigning the art director and hiring staff, but finally the ACC has taken it's first step. Still, the organization seems to need a meticulous maintenance, if we look at the case of the Institute of Asian Cultural Development, which supposed to handle the research, development, production and distribution of ACC’s whole program. Instead, the institution was dispersed after the partial opening and merely reorganized and launched as Asia Culture Agency at October 1st. Maybe it is too early to celebrate ACC’s success of hosting large audiences of 200,000, for one month after the partial opening. Next November, ACC will gradually reveal its programs but it remains to be seen whether ACC will be “the Titanic” as they say, or become “the Enterprise” to expedite the voluminous and obscure world of “Asian art and culture.”
K&G : Though the size of ACC is huge, but many of the facilities are placed under the ground so that it is a stable and horizontally structured building. Especially, when you are in the broad Asia Plaza, — in front of ACC Archive & Research and ACC Children— you can feel the warmth of being hugged by the space that is open up to the sky. Currently, we are processing a unique and specialized plan for this square tentatively named as “AV(Audio Visual) Plaza.” The void space of the Plaza and the enormous metal scaffolding structure in front! We will use the audio sound system to fill the void space with “the sound sculpture” and install a huge custom-made screen on the scaffolding structure. Presently, we are proceeding with the research on ACC’s architectural condition with the specialists of various fields.
K&G : The basis of this system ascends to Iannis Xenakis (1922 to 2001), who was a composer, architect and sound engineer, who invented a special software to place the music on the space. Based on this software, we are developing “the audio visual system.” We will combine 24 5 by 4 meter screens and place on the scaffolding structure, and fill the Plaza with 32 channel sound system. The 24 screens can be used separately, in small groups or as one giant screen. With this screen and sound equipment, we can actualize many possibilities like introducing the history of ACC and different programs of each Institutions, recombining the preexisting video and sound of the artists or projecting site-specific video works of the participating artists of different Institutions. If the international artists come to ACC to use this site-specific high technology facilities and proceed the new project at the site, and if those artworks become the collection of ACC, AV Plaza can be the tool to attain the international fame for ACC.
K&G : We will open a pop-up store first at the ACC's official opening in November, and the Culture Store will be fully opened next April to May, which will be a “curated” shop with complex character that invites emerging artists, curators and an art fair. The peculiarity of the shop will be “the Special Showcase,” which shows and sells the collaboration goods of handicraft masters and visual artists. Such a case where an artist and master collaborate for a long time with density is very rare. The link has been missing between the two extreme, the highly refined masterpiece and cheap goods of kitsch. “The time” must be invested to communicate between the master and artist. Recently, small-scale manufacturer/dealer/consumer play a multi-functional role based on SNS, and the activity of young creators is especially dynamic. Culture Store is planning to give them the opportunity to open the pop-up shops and have a market debut, as well as producing an annual fair at the plaza. The idea is to eliminate several distribution stages and have the “direct access to market.” To overcome the geological shortcoming of being in Gwangju, we are considering online branding and marketing strategy by using “the e-shop."
K&G : Because the rest of the space of ACC is still under construction, the opportunity to add a new project is fluid and depends on each space’s pragmatic usage in the future. Matali Crasset’s architectural sculpture work will be finished in next January and will be placed at ACC Creation’s big lobby entrance, which is surrounded by the glass wall so that the piece can be seen from the outside. The work, which will be a practical furniture, a UFO like object from somewhere as well as a personal space to contemplate. Choi Jeong-hwa’s work will also have to function as furniture and will be installed at the shared lobby of Asian Arts Theatre and ACC Creation.
K&G : We deliberate how to link ACC and other regions of Gwangju and other cities and Korea and other countries as the “connector.” To do this, above all, the local residents must like ACC. The family audience will naturally pay a visit but the key is to attract the younger generation audience. We have to assort more than the cultural things to naturally attract them to the coffee shop, restaurant and big screen. We cannot draw any attention if we randomly invite a band or a cappella group. It is bound to fail if we try to predict the discernment of the public. So we need to satisfy the people without loosing the quality. There are several spaces with commercial viability in the world, but many constraints follow if we try to accommodate both the contemporary characteristic and art and culture. I wish ACC will research Asia in the global context and be the cosmopolitan forum of conversation.
※ This article was first published in Art in Culture, October 2015. Translated by KAMS, the English text will be co-published by art in ASIA in its Nov-Dec Issue 2015.