Seoul 1:10,000
Blueprints wallpapered on wooden panel
244 x 488 x 2,1 cm

A Tale of Two Cities: Narrative Archive of Memories, Arko Art Center, Seoul, Korea, 2017

Photos: Kiyong Nam

A map is a symbol, an abstraction of the real world. A map not only embodies the space but also captures the thought. A map is an informant for moving and positioning and a guide to understanding today’s society. Unlike a digital map that can be continuously updated, a paper map cannot instantly reflect the changes of reality and thus gains its historical value as a momentary record of the era. Sunah Choi created an artistic translation of a 1:10,000 scale map of Seoul published in 2003. The 25 districts (Gu) and administrative areas (Dong) were selectively enlarged, printed into A4-size blueprints. Each blueprint maps were spliced together on a wooden panel, ultimately creating a completely subjective map of Seoul. In this process, the actual geographical continuity of the area is broken and disturbed, and the vicinity is newly defined. On this new map, regional conflicts and gaps between districts, such as between Northern and Southern Seoul, are hypothetically destroyed and resolved. During the process of creating this new map, the artist omitted specific sites of Seoul where significant events happened throughout the modern history. Nevertheless it is possible to infer or reconstruct the original placeness of these areas marked blue or white. Paradoxically, by omitting and hiding, the sites become more emphasized and apparent. While one can notice this absent information on the map by looking at it closely, it becomes a plastic form if seen from a distance. This is a moment when ‘information’ becomes an ‘image.’