중앙데일리

Joint exhibition expands upon the idea of urban regeneration

Apr 30,2015
The new exhibition on urban regeneration opens today at Gallery Mun in the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) in central Seoul. Provided by 000 gan
For the average person, the term “urban regeneration” sounds like a vague concept.

Most would probably think of urban renewal, in which impoverished urban neighborhoods or areas are renovated or redeveloped.

Then the questions begin.

Who is it for? The residents? Who are the residents? Will it only affect people living in the area?

The art space 000 gan produced zero-waste work wear for the seamstresses of the Changshin-dong area.
So in an effort to answer those questions and more, four organizations - the art space 000 gan; the Junglim Foundation, an architecture association; the Architecture and Urban Research Foundation; and Urban Hybrid, a social enterprise - have come together to present a joint exhibition.

Entitled “Architecture + Design + Life Companion ” the show opens today in Gallery Mun and runs to May 11, focusing on the revitalization of the neighborhood.

For 000 gan, the exhibition was an opportunity to sum up its year-long project H-Village, which it carried out with the support of Hyundai Motor to revitalize Changshin-dong, a small neighborhood in Dongdaemun district, central Seoul, that’s somewhat removed from the public eye.

The area is filled with small garment factories and tailors that remain open thanks to orders from Dongdaemun’s shopping centers.

But to maintain those contracts, speed is key for local seamstresses, so considering something like environmentally friendly products is purely a luxury.

That kind of neighborhood was the target group for social entrepreneurs like Shin Yoon-jae and Hong Seong-jae of 000 gan.

The duo settled down four years ago in this neighborhood and began to make reforms, starting with designing zero-waste shirts that don’t produce mountains of leftover fabric scraps.

The organization also provides work to seamstresses outside of Dongdaemun’s peak season, and trains them to make shirts that require precision.

In addition, they design signboards for the local garment factories using recycled metal scraps.

“With the support from Hyundai Motor, we were able to put up more signboards for the factories in Changshin-dong,” said Shin. “We were also able to start a new business, Soul Sewing, in which we educate and train young people to become producers rather than just designers.

“If these young producers enter into the industry, there will be more opportunities to work with new designers and new businesses as well as the seamstresses already in the neighborhood.

“We are trying to create a cooperation structure where they can communicate and work together. We have 10 students for this program.”

But that’s not the only reason why 000 gan is exhibiting its work in Dongdaemun Plaza (DPP).

Also today, in the DDP’s Yigansumun Exhibition Hall, a special exhibition to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of modern painter Park Soo-geun will commence.

To mark the occasion, 50 paintings have been selected for display. The late artist was known for his devotion to drawing the lives of ordinary people in Changshin-dong, where his workshop was located.

“As part of that exhibition, we were invited to exhibit our work as well,” Shin said. “If Park existed in Changshin-dong in the past, who would bring that kind of artistic spirit and try to breathe life and imagination into the area?

“That’s how we got together to exhibit our work.”

In 000 gan’s exhibition, a video clip of Changshin-dong’s garment factories and samples of its new signboards will be on display, along with all of 000 gan’s products, including its new line of work wear.

The work wear, made for seamstresses, is also zero-waste and has multiple pockets for their supplies.

There’s also an apron with a pocket on the front for those who are mothers, which can be reversed into a cape with a hood for a child.

“This is the result of a workshop we did with the children of the seamstresses in Changshin-dong,” Shin said. “We asked them to draw the patron saints of the neighborhood and they each drew from their own imaginations.

“Then we put all the images on the fabric and designed the apron/cape. It was very meaningful because the children produced the content and their mothers made it into a product.”

On May 7, 000 gan will also host a forum as part of the exhibition from 9:40 a.m. to noon on urban regeneration and how “residents” should be defined.

The discussion will also touch on how people from within and support from outside can work together to overcome looming issues in isolated and impoverished urban areas.

Shin and Yoon, as well as several officials from Hyundai Motor’s customer service department are scheduled to attend.

Also present will be Professor Kim Jae-cheol, who works in the College of Business at Kaist.

BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [yim.seunghye@joongang.co.kr]


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