Biennale highlights designs for humanity

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Biennale highlights designs for humanity

“Light into Life,” the new catchphrase for the Gwangju Design Biennale, is more than an academic concept, at least in the city of Gwangju.
After all, this provincial capital in the country’s southwest suffered a bloody crackdown in 1980 by Korea’s old dictatorship. The main exhibit, themed “Hope and Life” in contemporary design, will be held in the city’s Kimdaejung Convention Center, named after the former president and defender of human rights.
“Many societies are now searching for human values,” says Lee Sun-jong, the biennale director. “In design, the work towards integration has been too weak. This biennale offers new design values.”
Over 180 designers and companies will participate in the exhibit, which begins Tuesday.
In Ssangam Park, the event’s curators have commissioned Italian designer Alessandro Mendini to build a gigantic environmental sculpture floating on a lake. Titled “Prayer,” the 25-meter sculpture is in the shape of a flower whose petals open and close by remote control. Visitors can submit wishes, which which are registered at the work’s official Web site. At midnight the sculpture is augmented by special lights and sounds.
“Asian Design,” the event’s main exhibit, introduces works by designers from Cambodia, China, India, Japan and Laos.
The works on display are from various fields including fashion, industrial design and architecture. The items in this section will become part of the permanent collections at the National Hall of Asian Culture in Gwangju.
The section “Future Life” introduces concept designs and samples of conceptual products by leading designers and companies.
“Design in Korea” is a special exhibit that introduces local designs from the 1960s to the present, stressing how they are related to the industrial, social and cultural changes the country has undergone. The section includes posters, electronic appliances, furniture, documents, films and other materials that show the origins of contemporary Korean design.

by Park Soo-mee

“Light into Life” or Gwangju Design Biennale 2005 runs from Oct. 18 through Nov. 3 at Kimdaejung Convention Center and other venues. For more information call 062-508-4262.
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