<![CDATA[Trends|theApro.kr]]> http://eng.theapro.kr ko Sun, 16 Jun 2019 11:47:00 +0900 theApro <![CDATA[2015 Survey on Performing Arts in South Korea (2014 data)]]> 2015 Survey on Performing Arts in South Korea (2014 data)
 


The 2015 Study on the State of the Performing Arts in South Korea (based on 2014 data) investigated the activities from June to September of various performing arts entities. In-person interviews and written surveys were conducted with 2,284 performance groups, 1,034 venues and 245 administrative institutions. Assuming a 95 percent confidence interval, the margin of error is around ±3.4 percent for venues and ±2.7 percent for performing arts groups.       



◈ Period of Investigation
- performance groups: June 24 - September 25, 2015
- venues: June 24 - November 30, 2015

◈ Method of Investigation: in-person interviews and literature investigation

◈ Study Subjects
- performance groups: 2,284 (total of 928 valid responses/population and sample)
- venues: 1,034 (total of 554 valid responses/population and sample)
- public administrative institutions: 245 

◈ Areas Investigated
- performing arts administrations: standard conditions, budget status in performing arts
- venues and performance groups: basic conditions, standard conditions, human resources, financial status, performance status

◈ Overseer of Investigation: Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

◈ Conductor: Korea Arts Management Service (KAMS)


The size of the Korean performing arts market in 2014 was determined to be KRW 759.3 billion based on the combined revenues of venues and performance groups. This is a 6.5 percent increase from the market in 2012, which was KRW 713 billion, but the market’s overall growth rate diminished by 23.3 percentage points.
According to the study, venues recorded revenues of KRW 368.9 billion, a 10.9 percent decrease from the previous year. This drop is attributed to decreases in profits in the Daehangno area and among other private venues. Conversely, revenue for performance groups stood at KRW 390.4 billion, a 16.2 percent increase from 2012, which is attributed to increased profits of private production companies. 

Climax by the Yasmeen Godder Company ©Yasmeen Godder Company

▲ Revenue growth of Performance Venues and Groups (2007-2014)

Consumer Market Shrinks, Despite Quantitative Index Growth

There were 1,034 performance venues and 1,280 theaters in 2014, an increase of 5.1 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively, from the previous year. And performance venues employed 12,669 people, a 7.9 percent increase from the previous year. There were 2,284 performance groups in 2014, an increase of 8.3 percent from 2012, and they employed 55,858, an increase of 9.9 percent.
In 2014, theaters nationwide held a total of 47,489 productions, with a total of 200,228 individual performances, an increase of 5.1 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively, from the previous year. Also, performance groups held 45,308 productions, recording 119,968 individual performances, an increase of 16 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, from 2012.

Conversely, the number of audiences totaled 37,667,7371), a five percent decrease from the previous year. Despite the growth in quantitative indices for venues, performance groups, productions, and individual performances, the Sinking of Sewol Ferry Tragedy2) in early 2014, the World Cup in Brazil, and other domestic and international issues contributed to an overall decline in the number of theatergoers, an indication that the consumer market for performing arts has yet to fully recover.


1) Calculated by performance venue
2) The sinking of Sewol Ferry occurred on the morning of April 16, 2014, en route from Incheon to Jeju in South Korea. (Wikipedia)

Climax by the Yasmeen Godder Company ©Yasmeen Godder Company

▲ Growth of Performance Venues (2007-2014)

Market Growth Led by Private Production Companies  

This reduction in consumption resulted in decreased profits for private venues. Public venues, on the other hand, enjoyed a 1.5 percent increase in revenue compared to the previous year, as they are relatively less affected by economic fluctuations. However, as private venues are centered on ticket sales, their revenues decreased by 20.6 percent.
 As private production companies account for 63.5 percent of the revenues seen by performance groups, they can be identified as the main leaders of market growth. Plays and musicals accounted for 21.7 percent of profits, the most in the industry, which can largely be attributed to improved business practices of large companies with yearly revenues of more than KRW 10 billion.

Climax by the Yasmeen Godder Company ©Yasmeen Godder Company

▲ Performance venue revenues (specific data, 2014)

3) Total revenues garnered from admission fees from organization and production of performances
4) Sales related to performances (i.e. related programs)
5) Revenues from exhibitions, education workshops, lectures, and other projects related to the culture industry

Climax by the Yasmeen Godder Company ©Yasmeen Godder Company

▲ Performance group revenues (specific data, 2014)

6) Royalties, joint production revenues
7) Total revenues from admission fees charged by performance groups
8) Program sales, organization and promotion sales
9) Revenues from workshops, seminars, educational programs, and other complementary programs

Steps to Enlarge the Performing Arts Market Pie

The key results of the study can be summarized by the terms “oversupply” and “excess demand,” which have been repeatedly referenced for several continuous years. At this point, the necessary policies and initiatives to overcome stunted growth rates should become clear. Studies thus far have used basic objective data on the performing arts market. Policymakers, failing to discern larger trends, have utilized these studies as standard data. As most available data exclusively concerns the suppliers, the customer analyses necessary for expanding the market pie have been lacking.

The 2016 market study will be redesigned to provide information necessary for on-site improvements and new policy direction. First and foremost, it will be necessary to obtain data concerning ticket sales, performing arts industry revenues, and indirect revenues, as well as long-term revenues from related industries, in order to expand the study’s scope to include the broader market, not just specific industries. Furthermore, analyses of economic fluctuations in the industry in the relevant year will be conducted to provide timely data on consumers and trends, which would aid market agents in adjusting their business strategies. This study and others in the future will hopefully serve as a barometer to help the arts strengthen its industrial economic foundations.       

ⓒKAMS



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theApro <![CDATA[The Pride and Vitality of Israeli Contemporary Dance]]> The Pride and Vitality of Israeli Contemporary Dance
[Trend] International Exposure: A Platform for Contemporary Dance in Israel


The 21st International Exposure, Israel’s esteemed showcase for contemporary dance, was held in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem from December 2 to 6. This year’s event saw 54 performances by dance troupes and choreographers from 60 organizations and drew 133 overseas guests from 30 countries. Top choreographers such as Ohad Naharin from the Batsheva Dance Company, as well as luminaries including Yasmeen Godder, Inbal Pinto, Barak Marshall, and Sharon Eyal truly owned the stage.



To many outsiders, Israel is a land that is most familiar through its holy scriptures. Yet, when it comes to contemporary dance, Israel presents another face to the world, one that is full of excitement and intrigue. Reigning household names in Israel such as Ohad Naharin, Hofesh Shechter, Emanuel Gat, and Itzik Galili live up to their reputations. Their work at the Seoul International Dance Festival (SIDance) and the 2014 International Exposure has been exquisite, and it has led the way for other vibrant young Israeli artists.

Scenes from (International Exposure) 2015 ©Ahram GWAK

Scenes from (International Exposure) 2015 ©Ahram GWAK

Scenes from (International Exposure) 2015 ©Ahram GWAK

The format and setup of this year’s event were not very different from those of the 2014 festival. Most of the performances were held at the Suzanne Dellal Centre in Tel Aviv. Last year’s excursion was to the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company in Galilee, whereas this year’s destination was the Vertigo Dance Company’s Vertigo Eco-Art Village. A highlight of this year’s festival was a series of site-specific dance performances conducted with Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market as the backdrop. It was unfortunate that a personal trip to Hungary forced me to miss the excursion and the market performances.

The 2015 festival kicked off with Itzik Galili’s Man of the Hour. Born in Tel Aviv and featured at SIDance 2008, Galili returned to the Israeli stage after spending more than 20 years working in the Netherlands. His piece, a bold hybrid of opera and contemporary dance, was a co-production of the Holland Dance Festival and Theater Amsterdam with the Israeli Opera and the Suzanne Dellal Centre. The magnificently colorful stage amounted to a glorious homecoming for Galili. The Yossi Berg and Oded Graf Dance Theatre’s Come Jump with Me, based on a true story, saw two dancers explore the political, social, and personal realities of today’s Israel through their identities as choreographers, dancers, and artists. OCD Love by Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar, who were first introduced to us through MODAFE 2014, was a huge hit with audiences last year. The intuitive expressions and body curves sensually conveyed by its six dancers left a deep impression on viewers and remained a talking point on the circuit even after the event. Yasmeen Godder, a noteworthy figure on the Israeli dance scene, once again delivered a new performance worthy of her reputation: Climax, an epic 180 minutes in length (including a 20-minute intermission), was a site-specific work commissioned by the Petach Tikva Museum of Art. The piece saw six dancers displaying aggressive expressions and exaggerated gestures, approaching audience members and inviting them into the circle with them—only to release them and repeat the cycle throughout this long journey. As usual, Godder’s work succeeded in dividing her audience. The festival closed with Ohad Naharin’s Last Work. While the Batsheva Dance Company almost always produces strong and sensitive, yet smooth and powerful pieces, this performance appeared to favor image and message over the company’s typical emphasis on movement.

Climax by the Yasmeen Godder Company ©Yasmeen Godder Company

Climax by the Yasmeen Godder Company ©Yasmeen Godder Company

Overall, this year’s International Exposure can be summarized in two key points.

Firstly, the works raised nagging questions, both directly and indirectly, over whether art can change society. They conveyed the artists’ dilemmas surrounding their role in the midst of real issues such as war, terrorism, the plight of refugees, and the possibility of economic collapse—concerns that we cannot turn our back on, for they threaten the survival of humanity. Even though I was unable to linger and chit-chat for very long due to a packed schedule, I noticed that war and terrorism made regular cameos even in the shortest of conversations. Naturally, this does not mean that the performances centered only on those two themes. However, we were asked to contemplate the role that art plays in society, as well as how we can survive these crises and what we need to do within this context. The more I viewed the works of artists exploring these questions, the stronger the questions became. Can art change the world? Is that even the role of art?

Yair Vardi (L), director of the Suzanne Dellal Centre, and Israeli choreographer Itzik Galili (R) ©Ahram GWAK

Photos of Israeli Choreographers Association members ©Ahram GWAK

Yair Vardi (L), director of the Suzanne Dellal Centre, and Israeli choreographer Itzik Galili (R) ©Ahram GWAK Photos of Israeli Choreographers Association members ©Ahram GWAK

My second realization concerned the energy of the young and promising Israeli choreographers. The festival introduced several up-and-coming Israeli choreographers discovered through Curtain Up, a platform hosted every November to showcase emerging Israeli choreographers. One of the most memorable works was 12 Postdated Checks by Ella Rothschild, who together with her former roommate explored the housing shortage facing young Israelis today. My personal favorite was Some Nerve by the Rotem Tashach Dance Projects, also selected by Israel’s City Mouse Magazine as one of 2015’s top dance performances. This piece featured a continuous dialogue among four dancers in which they portrayed themselves not as members of society but solely as individuals searching for meaning and purpose in life. It showed us how today’s young people view themselves, and this threw up other meaningful questions. Apart from these works, other impressive pieces were Ofir Yudilevich’s Gravitas, a simple piece staged on a special “air floor,” and a presentation by the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, Croissant Al Ha’esh, that was a joint production between Eyal Dadon, who won first Prize at the 2015 International Competition for Choreographers in Hannover, Germany, and Martin Harriague, who has received awards from the International Solo-Dance-Theatre Festival Stuttgart, the Hannover International Competition for Choreographers, and the Copenhagen International Choreography Competition.
Yair Vardi, director of the Suzanne Dellal Centre, mentioned that the increasing number of young choreographers is creating innovative and diverse works over the last two years even in the absence of government support. This trend was a breath of fresh air in the choreography world. The emerging young choreographers provided a challenge for more established choreographers by unleashing a new direction with their work—an exciting attitude mirrored in the pride that Vardi exuded for his country’s contemporary dance performers.

The Suzanne Dellal Centre for Dance and Theatre, venue of International Exposure ©Ahram GWAK

The Suzanne Dellal Centre for Dance and Theatre, venue of International Exposure ©Ahram GWAK

The Suzanne Dellal Centre for Dance and Theatre, venue of International Exposure ©Ahram GWAK

Considered the home of Israeli dance, the Suzanne Dellal Centre for Dance and Theatre is also respected as the most important theatre in Israel. Most of the performances at International Exposure were held there. An even more interesting venue was Warehouse 2, a unique alternative space located in the ancient Jaffa region that is run by the Israeli Choreographers Association.
Almost all of Sunday’s events were held at this second location, an old warehouse that has been revamped as a theater and exhibition space. However, this cultural venue is more than just a pretty (and practical) face. The 55 companies that currently make up the Israeli Choreographers Association contribute toward the operating expenses here, even without a steady stream of public funding. Throughout the year, these companies create, rehearse, and perform their works at this site, and they also host exhibitions and events. That makes Warehouse 2 a fresh, creative space for Tel Aviv’s dance scene, one that that promotes solidarity among the choreographers, as they are free to operate autonomously and form their own ecosystem with audiences. As I looked around, I wondered if we in Korea could achieve the same results if we had a similar space? I now have an incessant yearning to find out.

Warehouse 2 by the Israeli Choreographers Association ©Ahram GWAK

Warehouse 2 by the Israeli Choreographers Association ©Ahram GWAK

Warehouse 2 by the Israeli Choreographers Association ©Ahram GWAK

I am full of curiosity regarding 2016 International Exposure, and I wonder what new and thought-provoking works the two respective groups of emerging and established choreographers (e.g., Ohad Naharin, Yasmeen Godder, Sharon Eyal, and Roy Assaf) will present this year. I am eager to see how their pride translates into ideas that will challenge the Israeli dance world.

 
 

©KAMS



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theApro <![CDATA[Explorers of a New Ecosystem]]> Explorers of a New Ecosystem
[Spotlight] 2015 Art Commentary_ Environmental changes in the world of Korean performing arts


In recent years, the term “ecosystem” has made regular appearances in discourses on the art world. The notion of an ecosystem implies that the biome (plants and animals) and their habitats are not deconstructed as distinct; rather, they exist as a single organism. What is within the space as well as the relationships among these entities within the physical environment are viewed as integrated. In other words, there is really only one space. The appearance of this concept marked the recognition of the reciprocal relationship between the arts and the physical environment. The concept of the arts world was no longer as an assembly of individual arts, but as an abstract whole.

This subject of ecosystems was a key discussion topic at the 2015 Art Commentary, held at the I-Eum Center on December 15, 2015, where the theme was “environmental changes surrounding art.” Further subthemes presented were “the changing ecosystem of the performing arts sector” and “shifts in performing arts patrons.” Topics relevant to the performing arts and visual arts fields were discussed by different panels, as were changes, pressing issues, and relevant experiences of the past year. The performing arts panel comprised Ahn Eun-me, Artistic Director of Eun-Me Ahn Company, Director Kim Kyung-hee of Creative Group NONI, as well as Kim Hyung-kun and Lee Il-woo Lee of Jambinai, with Park Ji-sun of Producer Group Dot as the panel moderator. This event was especially illuminating in the matter of how the panelists have perceived changes in the ecosystem and in audiences, and how they plan to adapt and respond to these changes.

Ecosystem Expansion:Finding a Market for the Producers

The band Jambinai debuted in 2010 and began touring overseas circuits in 2013, with a total of 52 performances conducted in 35 cities in 14 countries in 2014. In 2015, the band held 44 performances in 14 countries, an impressive feat as their overseas shows greatly outnumbered their local gigs. Alongside the typical band instruments of guitar and drums, Jambinai incorporates Korean traditional instruments like the haegeum (Korean traditional string instrument), geomungo (Korean traditional six-stringed zither), and piri (Korean traditional double reed) to produce a contemporary sound. Consider them a band, not a “fusion band,” that has made inroads into the international market.

For the Eun-Me Ahn Company, one year has been too short. In 2015, their main stage was Paris, France, where the group performed a dance trilogy, Dancing Grandmothers, Dancing Teen Teen, and Dancing Middle-Aged Men to a 1,000-seat theater for eight days at the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and France. This was followed by a four-city concert tour, performing to an estimated 13,000 patrons in all. Seeing how demand and audiences for this genre are admittedly lacking in Korea, the troupe plans to concentrate more on overseas performances rather than on local shows both this year and the next, a natural decision for arguably Korea’s most well-known modern dance group.

Dancing Teen Teen youth performance at the Paris Autumn Festival ©Ko Hyung-kyun

Ahn Eun-me, Artistic Director of the Eun-Me Ahn Company © Gwak Eun-jin

Dancing Teen Teen youth performance at the Paris Autumn Festival
©Ko Hyung-kyun
Ahn Eun-me, Artistic Director of the Eun-Me Ahn Company © Gwak Eun-jin

It becomes abundantly clear why artists are choosing to enter the international market. They seek an arena that they can call their stage and their audience, within which they can both expand and ensure their efforts.

Jambinai’s advancement into the international market was practical, given the downsizing of the domestic music market. The realistic likelihood of a full-time musician getting by at the time in Hongdae’s indie music scene was around one percent. The members of Jambinai graduated with majors in Korean traditional music, and were focused on making music their career. They had to secure a stable market position in order to survive as professional musicians, which prompted them to explore beyond Korea’s shores. Their blending of various sounds helped them to penetrate into mainstream overseas markets that harbored no biases against traditional instruments. It was this ambiguity in their crossover musical flavor that worked against them in Korea, where they were unable to participate in both traditional music and rock music festivals. It is there undeniable that the acceptance of their musical style by international scenes is a welcome change.

Founded in 1988, the Eun-Me Ahn Company had an early debut in the international market. In those days, things like subsidy schemes or professional dance performance planners were unheard of, and it was exceedingly difficult to establish oneself locally as a contemporary dance performer. As a result, Ahn shifted her focus to New York, where she spent 10 years choreographing her own works. One can certainly see remarkable progress when contrasting Korea’s arts scene during those times with now. Additionally, sources of support like funding and supporting agencies have sprung up, no longer requiring an artist to self-support his or her pioneering endeavors in a foreign country. In other words, there is a new character in the arts ecosystem, what is known as the “support system.”

Jambinai Director Kim Hyung-kun (L) and member Lee Il-woo (R) ©Gwak Eun-jin

The band Jambinai ©Jambinai

Jambinai Director Kim Hyung-kun (L) and member Lee Il-woo (R) ©Gwak Eun-jin The band Jambinai
©Jambinai

Support Systems: A New Member of the Performance Ecosystem

Systems of structural support in Korea are relatively young. From an international perspective, there is overwhelmingly strong funding and support in the Korea of today, and aware of this fact, many artists are trying to obtain these benefits. Artistic Director Ahn Eun-me related a different take on the situation, suggesting that budding artists avoid gigs that rely on funding when starting out. It is when you have to survive on your own capital that you grow a means of survival in the industry. She continued to explain that artists will then have to manage their finances differently and will use this to guide them between projects that are viable and those that are impossible. Director Ahn spent 10 years in New York before returning to Korea, and acknowledged the transformed situation currently ongoing in the country, noting that the establishment of the Korea Arts Management Service (KAMS) and other cultural centers allowed for tremendous networking opportunities for artists to appreciate and take advantage of.

It has only been about 25 years since Korea’s arts ecosystem has seen its new addition of such support systems. Support systems forge greater close-knit relationships with other organic entities in the ecosystem on a daily basis. A vital condition of the audience, or rather, the consumer, is required for the performing arts field to sustain healthy growth and maintain its ecosystem.

Ecosystem Consumers: Discovering the Audience

Even though Creative Group NONI largely embraces outdoor venues over theater spaces for their “location-specific” performances, Director Kim Kyung-hee had started his career as a stage designer and understands the limitations of theater audiences. A theater space holds as much restrictions as it does endless possibilities. For Director Kim, the outdoors provided an answer as well as inspiration for his works, which are based on the unraveling of text he comes across in this space. And when you change the direction of your work, your audience changes too. They are not only the people who intentionally come to view your work, but also those who chanced upon and come to experience the space. Through the creation of a new performance methodology, we can discover new audiences.

Coproduction with France’s Lieux Publics STATION  ©Creative Group NONI

Director Kim Kyung-jin of Creative Group NONI ©Eunjin Gwak

Coproduction with France’s Lieux Publics STATION
©Creative Group NONI
Director Kim Kyung-jin of Creative Group NONI ©Eunjin Gwak

Jambinai is an excellent example of how overseas success translates into local recognition and popularity. However, even with wildly different crowd reactions to them in a mere difference of two years in 2013 and 2015, Jambinai voiced that change was not as quick or great as they had expected, particularly when compared to the situation that had greeted their role models in the Japanese scene. Jambinai decided that, instead of trying to reach an unspecified audience, they would concentrate on developing their unique brand of band and performance. By delivering unforgettable concert experiences to the handfuls of viewers they had, they could increase audience loyalty. On another note, despite playing more stages and gigs, they have not encountered greater revenue as modern audiences are reluctant to pay for music or purchase music albums. It won’t be easy to face the changes lying ahead, but the band’s strategy is to build on their scarcity value.

It is apparent that the arts world is not expanding as much as the amount of resources pumped into the sector. Artistic Director Ahn expressed that with a capitalist society, society is controlled by the consumer, and the arts scene is not too far from this truth. Eventually, the growth of the arts market will be accompanied by the growth of arts consumers.

2015 Art Commentary’s four panelists and moderator Park Ji-sun of Producer Group Dot (R) ©Gwak Eun-jin

2015 Art Commentary’s four panelists and moderator Park Ji-sun of Producer Group Dot (R) ©Gwak Eun-jin

Ecosystem Growth: Proposals for Sustainable Growth

The question remains, how can we develop our arts consumers? Ultimately, the way to develop them is through the long-term vision of education. Yet, to develop patrons who truly understand and are curious about colors, sounds, and movement is a difficult task with the current reduction -- abolition, even -- of arts and physical education.

This is not something that can be resolved solely by the efforts of artists themselves. This is beyond the arts world and requires a systemic transformation and new administrative measures. The best that artists can do is to find the gaps in this environment, squeeze in, and then discover and perform their role in it. Jambinai sought ways to survive with their Korean traditional instrumental sounds, reaching out to audiences not as traditional performers but as musicians. Creative Group NONI explored new methods of performance to reach new audiences. Against the barren context of poor structural support, the Eun-Me Ahn Company developed their own content to survive. These examples demonstrate that an alternative is to go beyond the biome, and to find and expand your own habitat.

ⓒKAMS



<2015 Art Commentary event details>

Date and Time: 15 December 2015, 2:20 p.m.
Location: I-Eum Center
Theme: Environmental Changes Surrounding Art I: Changes in the Performing Arts Sector
Panel: Kim Kyung-hee (Creative Group NONI), Kim Hyungkun (Jambinai), Ahn Eun-Me (Eun-Me Ahn Company), Lee Ilwoo (Jambinai)
Moderator: Park Ji-sun (Producer Group Dot)
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theApro <![CDATA[Discussion on ASEAN, Current and Future Issues of Korea’s Performing Arts]]> Discussion on ASEAN, Current and Future Issues of Korea’s Performing Arts
[Trend] 2015 PAMS Focus Session


Korea Takes Note of ASEAN

In 2015, the Performing Arts Market in Seoul (PAMS) selected the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as this year’s country of honor. ASEAN was founded in 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, followed by Brunei Darussalam in 1984, Vietnam in 1995, and then Laos (1997), Myanmar (1997), and Cambodia (1999) joined as well. At present, ASEAN represents the seventh largest economic block in the world, with a combined GDP amounting to USD 3 trillion and a population—640 million—that is larger than that of the European Union or United States. In terms of labor force, ASEAN is only surpassed by China and India. In particular, ASEAN plans to launch an ASEAN Community by the end of 2015, one that comprises three main ideas—namely, politics and security, economy and society, and culture. Moreover, the organization aims to facilitate the exchange of goods and people by introducing a visa-free and tariff-free system similar to that of the EU. The entire world is paying attention to the ASEAN as its role and status will likely change upon the launch of the ASEAN Community. In light of the block’s growing prominence on the global stage, PAMS made the timely decision to select ASEAN as its country of honor for 2015. To date, Korea’s exchanges with Southeast Asia have not been as vibrant on the performing arts front as they have been in North America and Europe. For this reason, there has been little related information available. The 2015 PAMS will offer an opportunity for performing arts professionals to pursue more collaboration and exchange among the ASEAN nations and stimulate interest in the region’s arts culture.

2015 PAMS focus session: ASEAN & Current Issues in the Performing Arts ©KAMS

Current Global Exchange Activities and Implications

The focus session was held at the Dongsoong Art Center on October 5, 2015, (1–4 p.m.) and served as a platform for discussing the current trends and future of ASEAN. Speaking under the theme “ASEAN and current issues of performing arts,” presenters spent the first half of the session (Part 1) sharing the current state of performing arts in their own respective countries. The segment was moderated by Shim Gyu-seon of the ASEAN-Korea Centre, and presentations were delivered by Phloeun Prim, executive director of Cambodian Living Arts; Neo Kim Seng, an independent producer from Singapore; Kim Ngoc Tran, the founder of Hanoi-based music center DomDom; Jung Yeon-soo, the artistic director of Korea’s Post Ego Dance Company; and Norihiko Yoshioka, the deputy director of the Japan Foundation Asia Center, Vietnam. Following a short intermission, Part 2 began with a theme “Reimagining the future of performing arts with ASEAN.” Moderated by Anupama Sekhar of the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), the venue accommodated an open discussion and Q&A session. 

The first speaker of Part 1 was Phloeun Prim, who has spent nearly 15 years attempting to revive traditional culture in the Cambodian performing arts circle by drawing connections between traditional and modern styles. In the 1970s, Cambodia experienced a massacre triggered by political and ideological confrontations. As a result, 2 million Cambodians—roughly one-third of population—were wiped out, with many talented artists among the victims. In light of this grim reality, Prim has searched for surviving performance masters who can continue Cambodia’s rich artistic tradition. Five years ago, he began to mentor new artists and tried to arrange collaborations with traditional performance masters, establishing connections between traditional and modern arts. Due to the lack of nation-wide policies and support for arts, the majority of the resulting works are led by the private sector and often executed with the aid of foreign organizations. At present, Prim is on a world tour for a collaborative project arranged by 34 New York–based organizations. Prim cited vibrant exchanges with Europe and the United States, places where he says fundraising for arts is relatively easy to secure, and emphasized the need for a more animated movement within the ASEAN region. He shared his plan for a program known as the Greater Mekong Hub for Cultural Innovators, a network of culture-related personnel such as young researchers and administrators around the Great Mekong Region. Those involved with the project will gather to discuss practical topics including policies supporting arts and fundraising, with the goal of catalyzing cultural exchange among ASEAN nations. It is hoped that this discussion can lead to new region-wide policies in the near future.    

The second speaker was Neo Kim Seng, an industry professional who has spent time working as a producer at Esplanade-Theatres on the Bay, a representative venue in Singapore. Since 1995, Kim Seng has independently produced dances and plays that address the Cambodia’s tragic history, working in conjunction with Cambodian NGO Amrita Performing Arts. In 2013, he directed a joint workshop involving Amrita and the Post Ego Dance Company and arranged the resulting show, titled Horizontal Life. According to Kim Seng, the most difficult aspect of running a long-term project involving multiple countries is fund-raising, describing the tough reality in which shows are produced with project participants’ personal award money in addition to government funding and sponsorship. Despite the challenging environment, he emphasized that we shouldn’t lose sight of the goal of such exchanges. Kim Seng also expressed his hopes for more collaboration among regional countries, efforts that would ideally promote more sharing of contemporary arts trends and a greater distribution of know-how among professionals within the region. He added that it is important to maintain exchanges so that artists can express what art means to them and what they hope their art can deliver to their audiences. 

The second presentation was given by Kim Ngoc Tran, the founder DomDom, a space designed to foster experimental musicians. Tran is also an artistic director for the Hanoi New Music Festival, an event that takes place at said venue. Operating since 2012, DomDom offers training for various types of music such as electronic, ensemble, and chamber, and runs a range of programs, including lectures, artist talks, discussions, and concerts. Given that Vietnam also lacks government-initiated policies and funding for arts, financial support for the operation has come from foreign embassies in Vietnam and culture institutes. Though the Hanoi New Music Festival did not garner much attention when it was first launched in 2013, over time, as it began to introduce overseas performers alongside Vietnamese acts, the event became the largest festival for experimental music. As Tran explains, however, it has not been easy to operate the facility in a nation that lacks performance professionals such as managers and promoters. Moreover, there are not many experimental musicians and audiences in Vietnam. Despite these challenges, she noted, the goal of DomDom is to serve as an incubating platform that assists the community through training. To that end it is important to cooperate with various organizations in and out of Vietnam.  

The next speaker at the event, Norihiko Yoshioka, offered an introduction to Japan’s state-funded art projects—a hot issue for the majority of the attendants. Under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Japan Foundation Asia Center opened in Tokyo in 1972 and is working to establish footholds for Japanese artists in major cities around the world. In April 2014 the center has launched the Asia Center, an affiliated organization tasked with preparing cultural events for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The Asia Center has earmarked USD 67 million for Asian cultural exchanges and plans to open additional centers in Vientiane, Laos, and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. At present, Japan is trying to build a four-phase support system known as the 4C: Communicate → Connect and Share → Collaborate → Create. An example of such an initiative is the Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama. Formerly known as the Tokyo Performing Arts Market, the new incarnation has substituted “market” with “meeting” while retaining the original TPAM acronym. As such, the new TPAM in Yokohama places more weight on the process of networking and enabling artists to get to know each other. As an organization that strives to facilitate pan-Asia exchanges, both TPAM’s secretary-general and artistic director have promoted a system of commission-based global collaboration for its productions. Through these efforts, TPAM aims to build an organic support structure where like-minded people can meet and discuss collaboration and joint production. Session participants at Yoshioka’s presentation showed great interest in Japan’s long-term policies to support the arts.

2015 PAMS focus session: Free discussion and questions ©KAMS

Supporting Policies by Country and Our Future

Once the presentations were completed, Part 2 began, opening the floor for free discussion and questions. The audience was most curious about how each country has been supporting its cultural arena policy-wise.  

While addressing the issue, Phloeun Prim admitted that Cambodia’s Ministry of Culture and Fine Art is neglected compared to the country’s other ministries, and said that efforts are being made to elevate its priority on the national agenda. The ministry is currently making an appeal based on the impact of cultural policies on the nation’s image, citing Singapore as an example. At present, the Cambodian government is gradually recognizing the importance of culture and is attempting to formulate policies that support culture and art. Prim smiled while explaining that a number of cultural exchanges are carried out in the private sector due to the absence of relevant policies in not only Cambodia but other ASEAN states such as Vietnam and Thailand. At the same time, however, the present political climate is beneficial in the sense that arts organizations only need to consider partnering organizations without concerning themselves with national policies, explained Prim. Tran agreed, pointing out that persuading the Vietnamese government is not easy. She said that she often faces questions about why her work matters due to differing visions for the future of the various facets of the cultural industry that are deemed important in the eyes of the government. Tran attributes this to Vietnam’s tendency to put economic development ahead of other issues, which is the case for many of its neighbors in Southeast Asia. She offered a not-so-bright outlook for Vietnam’s culture and art sector in the event that the nation’s political situation should continue for a while. Kim Seng answered next, indicating that government cooperation has always come with conditions, although cultural policies appear to be better established in Singapore than they are it its neighbors in the region. He explained that the situation is challenging because most of the conditions are prohibitions. Thanks to alternative financial resources such as crowd funding, however, organizations can now afford to the government policies instead of entirely relying on state support. 

All speakers agreed that state-led support comes with tricky conditions. Assistance coming from overseas, in particular, will always come with expectations. For example, if the support comes from a Korean government agency, the project should include a Korean artist or organization. If it is provided by a similar agency in Japan, a Japanese artist or organization should be involved. Are there any organizations in Asia that might offer assistance without strings attached? Yoshioka described his experience of trying to persuade the Japanese government to create a program that would offer assistance without requiring inclusion of a Japanese national when Asia Center was established. His efforts failed because, according to Japanese officials, if a program is supported by money from Japanese taxpayers and does not involve Japanese people, there can be little justification for how it benefits Japan. Yoshioka says it is unlikely that policies supporting international exchanges, regardless of benefits for their own country, will appear anytime soon. 

The second discussion question pertained to what arts organizations should do when they fail to secure a global exchange fund. Prim said that they could apply for public funding in Europe or private support in the United States, since the latter has no government agency in charge of cultural support. It is critical, he explained, to rely on a wide range of organizations when it comes to fund-raising. Prim emphasized the need for better communication regarding funding sources since it is often the case that, rather than funding being unavailable, many artists are simply unaware of what resources are available to them. Kim Seng added that securing funding should not be the greatest priority when running a project. Instead, he a rgues, it is more important to understand individual interest and partners than whether the funding issue will be taken care of. He expressed a positive attitude by saying that he believes that support will sort itself out in the end. 

Finally, the panelists asked Part 2 moderator Anupama Sekhar about the types of difficulties faced by the Asia-Europe Foundation as a supporting organization on the global exchange front. Sekhar answered that the difficulty lies in having any sort of expectations regarding the outcome from a project they have supported. After curators have met with one another and some time has passed, the supporting organization is bound to expect to see some progress on the project. However, financial assistance and a waiting period do not always guarantee a preferable outcome. After hearing a great deal about the difficulties experienced by those who receive support, hearing about the experience of the support provider helped both parties to better understand each other. 

Korea, ASEAN, and Determination

Through the focus session, it became evident that Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Korea, and Japan have similar dilemmas in similar cultural environments. It is not an easy job to support the activities performing arts in Asia and produce positive outcomes. The event was meaningful as it shed light on the real-life experiences—and challenging realities—of artistic directors, independent producers, and administrators of supporting organizations. Through their steadfast determination to pursue cultural exchanges despite the increasingly tough market, the future of performing arts of Asia began to take shape.   

   

ⓒKAMS




 
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theApro <![CDATA[Conversations in the Big Tent]]> Conversations in the Big Tent
[Trends] On the IETM Asian Satellite Meeting in Gwangju


In his keynote speech opening the IETM Asian Satellite Meeting in Gwangju(7-9 Sep. 2015), dance critic Namsoo Kim mentioned the travels of a thirteenth-century Flemish monk, Friar William of Rubruck, to the Mongolian courts of the Great Khans. In his account of this journey, William talked about the conversations that took place in a big tent, set up for representatives of different religions to meet face to face. There, they had day-long discussions about their beliefs and differences, but always with mutual respect and at the end of the talks everyone raised a glass. It is a remarkable story that certainly inspired a group of 120 performing artists, programmers, organizers, networkers and researchers, some of whom travelled a long way to Gwangju to get to know each other, to talk about future collaborations and look for common ground.
The occasion for this meeting was rather fitting, since the opening of the Asian Arts Theatre(AAT) in Gwangju might well redefine global relationships within the performing arts. It certainly opened with a bang: an ambitious inaugural festival, showing no less than 33 performing arts productions a wide and diverse range of work from Asia and abroad, both productions and coproductions of Asian Arts Theatre itself and invited international work to a mixed crowd of local and international audiences, and this is only the beginning.
The first season (2015-2016) of the AAT will present some of the most renowned international artists and their seminal productions (directors Robert Wilson, Christoph Marthaler, William Kentridge, etc.), next to newly commissioned work from Asian artists and community-based projects with local artists from the Gwangju region.


Asian Satellite Meeting in Gwangju ©Ahn GabJoo
 
IETM Logo ©IETM
Asian Satellite Meeting in Gwangju Schedule ©AAT


The AAT team is clear about their goals with all this: They want their space to become a hub in the fast-evolving performing arts scene, not only in Korea but for all Asia. And looking beyond simply supporting creation and presentation, the group is also interested in stimulating intra-Asian networking and the international distribution of performances. It is in this way that the AAT hopes to provide a backbone for an interesting grassroots dynamic in Asia’s performing arts scene. During the last decade, new networks of artists, producers, and venues have been developing. Up until now, Asian artists and producers in need of places to network and discuss projects mostly met outside of Asia, typically at European festivals. To find the resources to produce their work, they had to rely on the choices and tastes of mainly Western festival directors and programmers. As a result, the AAT has the potential to become a powerful tool for Asian artists, working alongside other existing and developing networks such as Arts Network Asia(ANA), Japan’s Open Network for Performing Arts Management(ONPAM), and more recent initiatives such as the Asian Producers Platform.
At present, it appears likely that global geopolitical balances in the performing arts production sector might shift. For the last few decades, the center of global production capacity in the performing arts has been in Europe, where a number of producing and presenting organizations with the confident support of government shave been able to create and develop networks for transnational production/coproduction and presentation. But the pressure on this system is growing after funding cuts by different national, regional, and local governments in the wake of the financial-economic crisis. From the neoliberal perspective, governments should step back and performing arts should be pushed more toward the market.
In Asia, the exact reverse is happening. Investment in the Asian Arts Theatre is symptomatic of an increased government interest in cultural policies. This contemporary art project is part of a wider scheme to investigate and construct a new cultural identity for the whole continent, including the development of new tools for international cultural policies that will promote this identity worldwide. It is telling, then, that the Asian Arts Theatre is part of the expansive Asian Culture Complex, making Gwangju a self-declared hub city of Asian Culture with six different agencies managing research regarding the promotion of Asian culture (e.g., the Agency of Culture for Children, the Cultural Promotion Agency, and a significant archive and research centre about Asian Culture). Put simply, this is not an isolated phenomenon. In other countries and cities as well, comparable complexes are being developed (for instance, one in the Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District, opening in 2018). Here and elsewhere, gifted and dynamic arts entrepreneurs seek to connect these top-down initiatives to bottom-up dynamics.Where will all this go next? What will be the impact of this project on cultural dynamics in Asia, and even globally? Are all these developments a growing level of Asian confidence, the rise of grassroots networks, a growing accommodation for culture in international policies, the development of hubs making the connection between these grassroots and top down dynamics a viable sign of a shift in the global balance of power? Are we really at a turning point, or will these trends prove to be short-lived? For instance, it still remains to be seen how sustainable the Gwangju culture complex eventually will be. While the building is an architectural wonder and the theater has great ambitions, in the local context it seems to be an alien body. Moreover, the government appears to be stepping back: The establishment of support for local audiences and local stakeholders symbolizes a long-term effort, but the working budgets for the AAT have already been cut. 

The future will show how current developments will impact the work of Asian artists. At the same time, however, the future is now. Questions such as What is Asian art?, What is contemporary art?, and What does it mean to embrace these questions? (with the latter two found on the poster issued for the AAT opening) are at the heart of the AAT project. For reflecting on one’s own cultural identity, it is always interesting to enter in a dialogue with others which is where the IETM comes in.

Asian Satellite Meeting in Gwangju [Opening Note] Session ©Ahn GabJoo
 
Asian Satellite Meeting in Gwangju [Asia Window Presentation] Session ©Ahn GabJoo

Since the 1980s, the IETM has been an important network for the contemporary performing arts scene in Europe: as a place to find partners but also as a platform for knowledge exchange and reflection about broader developments in both the performing arts and society as a whole. Over the last decade, the IETM has shown a growing interest in developments in Asia. Since the 2006 meeting in Beijing, the IETM has organized seven satellite meetings in Asia, gatherings that have brought about important changes. Where the first meetings were held in places that represented the meeting of two very different worlds, the Gwangju meeting was less about we versus them, or the notion of uniting two worlds that were otherwise far apart from each other. Building further on earlier encounters, the Gwangju meeting instead focused on looking for common ground because, although the historical background and current contexts of Europe and Asia remain quite different, their common projects and interests have already been defined.
In our current phase, knowledge exchange is crucial. When developing new networks, emerging Asian artists and producers are aware that there is much to learn from European experiences. Europeans, on the other hand, are very much inspired by the drive and sense of entrepreneurship of Asian artists and producers, many of whom work in a context where government intervention has always been limited. This mutual learning and inspiration has a common goal: to jointly develop new collaborative models for the performing arts of the future. The meeting itself was broken down into several relevant subtopics related to this: the rising phenomenon of creative producers, the benefits and disadvantages of long-distance collaboration, the impact of the digital shift in the performing arts, and, finally, the question of (Asian) cultural identity in relation to contemporary life a question that lies that is at the heart of the Asian Arts Theatre’s project.

A first session addressed the role of creative producers and the question of what a creative producer, is exactly. Definitions seem to very not only among continents but also within them, as well as within countries and regions. The reasons for this are twofold. First, institutional contexts differ greatly in relation to cultural policies and concrete resources for developing, producing, and presenting work. Secondly, creative producers are known to adapt to the particular needs and ambitions of artists and companies, whose backgrounds and interests of course differ greatly. As a result, the working models of creative producers from all over the world are very diverse. At times they may focus on financial and management issues, while they may also direct themselves toward logistical tasks. In some cases, they are also artistically implicated in the project. Occasionally, their work is also to create contexts for presentation, for residencies, for networking, and for knowledge exchange and critical reflection.
When exploring the necessary qualities of a creative producer, however, there are common elements beyond this diversity; the arts are always artist-driven. In any case, a producer will be the one who helps artists to make it all happen by assuring well-positioned members of the community of the legitimacy of an artistic venture and by assembling the necessary resources to realise a project. Therefore, a first requirement for any creative producer is to understand the artist, to track what they are doing, and to comprehend the meaning and essence of the artist’s work. This is a role that demands trust, respect, and mutual understanding. At the same time, a good producer must also serve as a counterforce. A project can benefit greatly from a critical dialogue between artists and their producers, where the latter can help the artists become more aware of the context in which their work will be seen and/or perform, such as where a piece can be staged or  what it can potentially mean for local audiences. As stated by moderator and producer Erik Kuong Wa Fun during the conclusion of the session, Sometimes we need to tell our artists the truth.

Asian Satellite Meeting in Gwangju [Newsround & Working Group] Session ©Ahn GabJoo Asian Satellite Meeting in Gwangju [Newsround & Working Group] Session ©Ahn GabJoo  

Long distance cooperation was the topic of a second working session. Faced with not only physical distance but also distances created by differences in cultural backgrounds and funding mechanisms, how can collaboration truly be a partnership on equal terms? How can local audiences be sufficiently briefed before viewing artistic work from very different cultural contexts? What other more practical obstacles will you encounter? And, in the light of all these difficulties, why would we want to work on a long distance collaboration in the first place? We are certainly not in it for any financial remuneration, as this kind of international work is typically quite expensive. Nor do we do it for ecological reasons, though there is a growing number of artists and curators who are thinking up new and more sustainable formats for international mobility.
Among the diverse reasons for pursuing long-distance projects there is one common thread: the need for artistic exchange. This can be very personal, such as instances when an artist or a company is researching an idea and wants to test it in another context. Or when a programmer or a curator has seen the work of artists or companies in an international scene and wants to present it to his or her local community. More often, however, the personal becomes political. The choice of working with people from or within certain regions or areas might be inspired by historical or societal motivations for instance colonial history or the migrational background of some communities. Today, this might be more urgent than ever. In fact, what director Peter Sellars said in 1994 at Brussels’ Kunstenfestivaldesarts event rings more true than ever: The characteristic quality of our time is: it is the age of the refugee. According to Sellars, throughout our long human history of migratory flow, all global problems and issues have eventually become local issues, something that is especially true today.
How will we, as artists and organizers, address this issue? If you believe in the power of the artist’s voice, it becomes very relevant to infuse local communities with the highly individualized views of artists from all over the world on current issues. After that, it is the responsibility of presenters to become the hyphen, linking these artists with local audiences to develop formats for presentation and communication that are clear about the societal urgency of programming international artistic work and also intent on protecting the artists from having their voices instrumentalized, or reduced to its origins or cultural context. This is because, very much in conjunction to what was said in the first session, participants agreed that artistic drive and personal connections should remain the starting point for establishing long distance collaboration. As moderator Stephen Armstrong stated in his conclusion at the Melbourne Festival, No more f***ing arranged marriages!

A third session addressed the impact of the digital shift in society on the performing arts. More specifically, in what way do new digital tools impact the way we work, create, share, and experience the performing arts? During this session, a number of concrete practices, perspectives, and opportunities were discussed.
First, digital tools changed the ways we reach out to and communicate with audiences. For example, there are a growing number of successful experiments involving the live streaming of performances, allowing companies and venues to reach out to new audiences both locally and internationally. In addition, digital tools are increasingly used to deepen and enrich the relationship between performers and audiences, for instance by providing additional information and context during streaming, stimulating interactivity, and the streaming of rehearsals to prepare audiences for a show.
Second, the digital shift opens up new horizons for artistic creation and production. There are times at which digital technology serves a purely instrumental function, often acting a way of cutting costs. It is also becoming common, however, for digital techniques to be at the core of artistic projects, seen when robots become performers, actors interact with holograms, and new formats for interaction with the audience are being researched. At this point, we are not only talking about the impact of digital tools on the arts but also the reverse: situations in which the arts become a critical driving force in the digital shift. Increasingly, the performing arts reflect on and raise critical questions about our place as humans in social networks and virtual realities. At the same time, through collaborations with engineers, scientists, and businesses, artists are pushing technological innovation forward with their creativity. We see this happen more and more with the younger generation of artists, a group of digital natives who freely use and combine old crafts (such as theater and dance) with new, digital possibilities in artistic practices that can no longer be explained in terms of traditional artistic disciplines. In its most simple sense, their work might be labeled as transdisciplinary practices.

Asian Satellite Meeting in Gwangju ©Ahn GabJoo Asian Satellite Meeting in Gwangju ©Ahn GabJoo

Finally, the concluding session explored the questions at the core of the inaugural festival of Asian Arts Theatre: What is Asian art? What is contemporary? There is clearly a shift, said moderator Kee Hong Low (West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong) in his introduction to the session. [There is] an increased desire for multiple Asias to gaze at Asia. Our gaze used to be defined by looking at Europe. But over the last ten years this gaze has shifted toward Asia because of cultural, political, and economic reasons. The idea of the session was to address how this shift has intensified interest in research and writing about Asia’s impact on transnational collaboration in the performing arts. The aim was less to reflect theoretically on these questions than it was to push forward with practical answers. What are the areas of interest shared by the participants at the meeting, whether they are from Europe, Australia, or Asia? What practical conditions can everyone put on the table to make joint collaborations about these issues possible? The topics that emerged where manifold, including brainstorming about the development of concrete new channels and instruments for networking and collaboration, suited to the ever changing needs of artists and companies. There were also discussions about different research topics, such as the role of art and culture in cities and the issue of global migration flows, religion, and identity. All this is mammoth, Kee Hong Low stated in conclusion, but it is not impossible: There are already connections in the making and things happening.
Indeed, the IETM Satellite meeting certainly acted as a step up in the search for common ground for future collaborations, with open-minded discussions already leading to concrete proposals. Though there might not be many solid structures found on this uncharted territory yet, Namsoo Kim was quite right to talk about the concept of a tent being a metaphor for the meeting. A tent is not only a place for gathering, a hospitable shelter, and a place to have a drink; it is also a lightweight, flexible, and mobile structure. Where will it move next?


 

©KAMS



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theApro <![CDATA[2015 Survey of Musicals ②]]> 2015 Survey of Musicals ②
[Trends] Statistics Report


Continued efforts in pursuing overseas markets to seek new growth

The years from 2012 to 2014 were a new landmark for local musicals as they actively tried to make inroads into foreign markets. Their presence in the U.S. and U.K. scenes, such as the Edinburgh Festival, sharply dropped, and they turned to the Asian market, particularly Japan and China. A total of 13 productions were performed over three years in China alone, while Japan emerged as the second biggest market for local musicals, after domestic consumption.

Performance Group Tuida

Upon closer examination, there seemed to be three categories of domestic musicals making waves in overseas Asian markets: creative musicals on international tours, tours of licensed foreign productions, and the export of creative musicals’ performing rights and international co-productions. The first category involves a production team, cast, and other crew members visiting the overseas performing venue for a scheduled period; examples of this kind of overseas market expansion included productions of Laundry, Run to You, Gwanghwamun Sonata, and All the Brothers were Valiant in Japan, and Turandot, Song of 2 Flowers, and Gwanghwamun Sonata 2 in China.

Tours of licensed foreign productions involves adapting and reinterpreting the original work for export purposes. The injection of star marketing or fostering a Hallyu connection made these productions extremely popular, especially with Japanese audiences.

Lastly, we have the export of creative musicals’ performing rights and international co-productions. In 2012, a Japanese version of Singin in the Rain was produced, and in 2013, Finding Mr. Destiny was adapted into a Chinese version and titled Finding First Love. Numbers of this kind of productions are still low, but this area remains promising for future growth. As for international co-productions, one notable case was CJ E&M’s collaboration with the Chinese Ministry of Culture in 2013 to produce A Feast for the Princess with both a Korean and Chinese cast.

Survey Results for Musical Productions
- Labor costs (cast, crew) account for largest portion of expenses

At an average of KRW 7.333 billion, original productions in large capacity venues suggested the most costs were incurred in the production (planning) of local musicals. Following this were costs run by licensed productions in large venues (KRW 3.217 billion) and creative musicals in large venues (KRW 2.887 billion).

Performance Group Tuida

A closer examination of the main costs provided the following breakdown for creative musicals: securing actors (23.9 percent), production costs (17.8 percent), venue rentals (17.5 percent), and crew member salaries (15.3 percent). As for licensed musicals, the main costs were securing actors (25.0 percent), production costs (22.7 percent), venue rental (16.1 percent), crew payroll (14.6 percent), and public relations/marketing costs (12.4 percent) 

Performance Group Tuida

As original musicals often involve inviting international performing groups to domestic venues, their production costs vary slightly in nature compared to other types of musical productions. As with creative and licensed productions in Korea, original musicals also incur the most costs with cast and crew payments. Surveyed details found that cast and crew payments comprised the most costs at 26.7 percent, followed by contract agent fees (22.3 percent), and production and others (12.7 percent).

Performance Group Tuida

Survey of Audiences of Musicals
- Prefer licensed musicals, although preferences depend on frequency of viewing

The survey found that audiences enjoyed licensed musicals (35.0 percent), creative musicals (23.2 percent), and original productions (16.9 percent). A portion of musical patrons (24.8 percent) indicated no particular preference. Survey outcomes implied that patron preference for musical type depended on the frequency of watching musicals, with patrons displaying the highest viewing frequency preferring domestic creative musicals, those of medium frequency enjoying licensed foreign musicals, and those of low viewing frequency preferring visiting performances by original casts in Korea.

Performance Group Tuida

※ Frequency of watching musicals: This can be divided into the following three groups
  - High Frequency (patronizes some sort of cultural arts performances at least twice a month + musicals at least once a month)
- Medium Frequency (patronizes some sort of cultural arts performances once in 2-3 months + musicals at least once in 4-5 months)
  - Low Frequency (patronizes some sort of cultural arts performances once in 6 months + musicals less than once a year) 

Top factors considered by audiences when selecting a musical were cast (80.7 percent), plot (64.3 percent), and music (49.7 percent). Cast was shown to positively correlate with musical viewing frequency, with those watching musicals often placing increasing importance on the cast, while patrons of medium viewing frequency placed more emphasis on ‘plot.’

Performance Group Tuida

※ Frequency of watching musicals: This can be divided into the following three groups
  - High Frequency (patronizes some sort of cultural arts performances at least twice a month + musicals at least once a month)
- Medium Frequency (patronizes some sort of cultural arts performances once in 2-3 months + musicals at least once in 4-5 months)
  - Low Frequency (patronizes some sort of cultural arts performances once in 6 months + musicals less than once a year) 

Expert Opinions Regarding Musicals
- Changing challenges to opportunities, and opportunities to strengths

Industry experts noted a stable and steadily growing consumer base as one of Korea’s prominent strengths. In addition, compared to overseas markets, the domestic consumer base is young, with local talent and capacity greatly improving. In all, they opined an optimistic outlook for the domestic musical industry. However, some obstacles lying in wait included worsening finances due to increasing actor fees , oversupply from excessive production, insufficient market data to promote investment and revitalization, domestic market growth led by licensed foreign productions, and a scene that is overly sensitive to external economic fluctuations.

Performance Group Tuida

This report provided a general overview of the current status of the local musical industry. This year, 2015, appears to be a turning point for the industry as its high-speed growth starts to halt. The public sector’s aggressive support to vitalize the market and the private sector’s investments to develop overseas markets and new audiences should continue. These concentrated efforts will make 2015 a progressive year for the local musical industry.   

Reference link
Download report for ‘2015 Survey of Musicals’(based on 2014) in Korean



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theApro <![CDATA[2015 Survey of Musicals ①]]> 2015 Survey of Musicals ①
[Trends] Statistics Report


[Survey Overview]


Numerous stories involving musicals have been making headlines in different areas. In 2013, musicals were selected as one of five government-promoted “global killer content,” along with games, music, animation, and movies, and in 2014, the Presidential Committee for Cultural Enrichment proposed the Contents Industry Developing Strategies that helped facilitate OSMU (one source multi-use) trends and Hallyu content transform into musicals. At the same time, 2014 witnessed a series of industry crises, such as several production companies filing for court receivership, performance cancellations, and criticisms of the industry as being glossy and vacuous.

The lack of timely analyses or surveys of the local musical industry contrasted with the public interest displayed toward the controversies surrounding musicals in the performing arts world. In order to draw up a support plan to establish and pursue continuous growth for the industry, in 2015, the Korea Arts Management Service conducted a survey on the local musical scene over the past six years, the first of such surveys since the 2008 Survey of Musicals (2009 issue).

The present survey examined the current status of the local musical industry, production (planning) processes, audience preferences regarding musicals, and audience analyses. In addition, experts in the areas of musical composition, production, distribution, and education were interviewed.

Local Musical Market in 2014
- KRW 325.9 billion, an increase of 8.0% from 2013

According to Interpark ENT’s sales figures for performances, musicals raked in KRW 195.6 billion, or 80 percent of total performing arts revenue in 2014, where performing arts also included theater, music, classical, dance, and the traditional arts. Musicals have also demonstrated steady annual increases in the market share of the performing arts domain, while other items in the performing arts have stagnated in their market shares of sales. It should be noted that many performing arts venues do not use online reservations systems, and there are various means of acquiring tickets, so the figures from Interpark ENT cannot be considered conclusive. Nonetheless, the reported growth in market share cannot be disregarded.

Performance Group Tuida


Even though the present research team endeavored to utilize a variety of methods to investigate the musical industry market as a whole, in reality, considerable restrictions prevented this approach. As such, without deviating from research integrity, the 60 percent market share indicated through Interpark ENT’s sales figures was converted to approximate market size. Results further indicated that the musical market was worth KRW 325.9 billion in 2014, an increase of 8.0 percent from 2013. The average annual growth of 19.1 percent over the last five years demonstrated the growth of the local musical market. However, detailed time-series analyses suggested that this growth has been gradually slowing down.

Local Musical Areas in 2014
- Dip from previous year but an active scene for creative musicals 

In 2014, 545 musicals were produced, a 1.4 percent decrease from 2013, and a total of 1,341 musicals were performed, a 10.2 percent drop from the previous year. The total number of performance days numbered 29,729, a decrease of 5.2 percent from 2013. On the other hand, the average number of performance days has steadily increased over the last 12 years, with 2014 seeing an average of 22.2 performance days, a 5.7 percent increase from the previous year.

A closer look at the types of musical showed that there were 31 licensed musicals in production, a decrease of 26.2 percent from the previous year. There were a total of 87 performances of licensed musicals (a drop of 25.0 percent from 2013) and a 35.6 percent decrease in the total number of performance days to 2,499. The average number of performance days was 28.7, down 14.1 percent from 2013. On the other hand, the total number of creative musicals in production was 215 (a 2.8 percent decrease from the previous year), the total number of these performances was 383 (year-on-year growth of 4.4 percent), the total number of performing days was 12,914 days (increase of 0.8 percent from previous year), and average number of performing days 33.7 days (increase of 3.7 percent from previous year). The survey results suggested that domestic creative musicals remained active last year, despite the overall contraction of the performing arts sector.

Regardless of venue size, performance numbers were found to be declining. In 2014, medium capacity venues with between 300 to 1,000 seats were found to be the most utilized, while smaller capacity venues were preferred for performances requiring flexibility, in particular, creative and family/children musicals.

Musical Sector Still expanding Its Base

Related infrastructure had continued to expand. Various spin-offs, such as musical gala shows, musical talk shows, and musical concerts arose as the market grew, and actors and famous musical works attempted to break out into new genres.

In addition, the number of performing venues for musicals went up by 15, totaling 521 venues in 2014. Among them, 342 were located in the metropolitan areas such as Seoul, Daegu, and Busan, while 179 were in provincial areas, indicating the expanding reach of musicals. No significant differences were surveyed between the numbers of medium and large capacity venues found located in Special/Metropolitan and provincial areas.

※ Small venues: Less than 300 seating capacity, Medium venues: Between 300 to 1,000 seating capacity, Large venues: Over 1,000 seating capacity, Variable spaces: Outdoor open venues without specific set seating

To investigate the area of musical education, 9,705 current students from 138 departments related to musical performance (theater/film, music, sound) in vocational colleges were surveyed. Overall, vocational colleges have seen a decline in total student enrollment since 2012. However, while arts and physical education departments saw a reduction to 77,170 students in 2014, departments related to musical performance have enjoyed increased enrollment since 2012.   

Universities evinced the same trend. The number of university departments related to musical performance (theater and film, vocal music, music composition, other subjects related to music) has steadily increased since 2012, totaling 209 departments. Current enrollment for these departments stood at 18,741 students, a growing number that hinted at the continued interest in the performing arts.   

※ The next segment of this article can be accessed at the following link
    <2015 Survey of Musicals ②>



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theApro <![CDATA[A Snapshot of European Funding, Topics and Trends]]> A Snapshot of European Funding, Topics and Trends
[Trends] Residencies in the performing arts sector


One of the most popular sessions at the IETM Asia Satellite Meeting in Melbourne (12 May 2014) discussed artist residency programmes for the performing arts sector. Thanks to the fact that some of the key speakers did represent arts residency platforms from Europe, Asia and Australia1), the session also successfully integrated a mixed audience of artists and professionals from these world regions. The discussion went beyond the common belief that residencies are mostly designed for artists and cultural professionals originating from the visual arts sector. 

This article aims to highlight some common resources and tips on how to identify Artist in Residency programmes, with a focus on Europe, and how to interpret residencies in a different way, while still connecting it to the performing arts’ sector.

Research, production / writing, collaboration (either with regular collaborators or new ones), rehearsal, presentation as a way to engage with new audience can be among the reasons that motivate performing artists and cultural professionals to look for a residency programme. 

Whether they are focused on the creative process, a set topic, an anticipated end result, or they seek to engage with local communities, there are definitely more residencies available to artists and cultural professionals (including curators, researchers, critics, etc.) in the field of visual arts.

A sample taken from the international artists residency platform DutchCulture | TransArtists, using its search function by ‘theme’, confirms that out of an approximate 1,555 residencies listed, 580 are directly related to the visual arts sector, compared with 280 for performing arts. This includes 185 residencies in Europe2) with the top five listed countries being Spain, Germany, Italy, Belgium and France. 


1) DutchCulture/TransArtists, RES ARTIS, AsiaLink-Arts, China Residencies, J-Air Japan, Bamboo Curtain Studios and Dance Box/ON-PAM.
2) Including in Armenia, Iceland, Turkey and Russia.

더screenshot of the word cloud / search by theme under the newly revamped website of DutchCulture / TransArtists

screenshot of the word cloud / search by theme under the newly revamped website of DutchCulture / TransArtists

 Similar consultation with RES ARTIS, the worldwide network of artist residency organisations, confirms a listing of 260 residencies3)  taking place across the world that make a direct connection with the performing arts sector. There are 414 catering for the visual arts.     

  The RES ARTIS and Dutch Culture | TransArtists’ search engines allow for a more refined search through sub-categories including theatre, dance and street arts. You can also shortlist regional platforms and country-specific residencies from Spain, Germany Italy, The Netherlands, etc. 

Focusing on the performing arts through the spectrum of funding and information access...

The recent Fund-Finder, a Guide to funding opportunities for arts and culture in Europe, beyond Creative Europe, commissioned by IETM, the International Network for the Contemporary Performing Arts, and developed by On the Move, lists 18 residencies and scholarships in Europe for the performing arts. All of the listed residencies offer at least partial financial support (including contributions towards travel costs of the selected participants) for European and/or international artists and cultural professionals. 

The following key remarks can be made from this snapshot impression:
- Dance is one of the most frequently supported sectors, with residencies including the NRW Kultur, TanzLabor_21 and K3 | Tanzplan Hamburg in Germany, Tipperary Dance Residency in Ireland, Dansearena nord in Norway and the Dance Ignition Lab in Sweden. The formats of these residencies differ, including elements of creation, research, and some with a strong connection to the local environment or local communities. It is interesting to see that Dance Ignition Lab, for instance, highlights the need for research and experimentation in the development of a new model of research residency that aims to “stimulate discussion, debate, and to identify new ways of working across multiple disciplines and cultural contexts”; 

- Theatre and multi-disciplinary art residencies include the famous Akademie Schloss Solitude in Germany, the Eskus Artist-in-Residence Programme in Finland and the Arts Printing House in Lithuania, which also opens its doors to cultural managers, festival programmers and street and circus arts; 

- Street art and contemporary circus, beyond differences between countries in Europe, receive support through different residency strands. These alternative art forms have been the subject of various studies and reports, most prominently those produced in 2010 and 2012 by Circostrada (the European network for street art) across Belgium, France and the United Kingdom4)

3)Click your field of interest on the right side of the web-page under « Search residency » and then  « Facilities / support ».  
4)See in the mappings’ page by DutchCulture / TransArtists. http://www.transartists.org/publications/mappingsThe researches for France and Belgium are in French only but some of the listed organisations may have information in English on their website. 

arts printing house in Lithuania ⒸArts Printing Hous

arts printing house in Lithuania ⒸArts Printing Hous

Arts Printing house in Lithuania ⒸArts Printing House

… And expanding a view to cross-sector capacity building

As noted on page 24 of the very resourceful EU handbook on artists’ residencies, « Artists’ residencies may host artists working with a diverse range of media, in different disciplines and fields of the arts. Both artists and the residency hosts tend to explore more often the possibilities to collaborate with partners across other sectors outside the arts world ». 

Screening alternative Artist in Residency programmes related to multi-disciplinary arts, we identified an increasingly prominent connection to new media, new technologies, and most extensively, to science and research. Exciting opportunities to work with new sectors, include the Collide@CERN residency in Switzerland, Pact Zollverein in Germany and the Impakt International Residency Programme in the Netherlands. Some initiatives at the European level, like the stARTS platform, or new EU-funded projects and networks, like the European Network for Contemporary Audiovisual Creation, tend to confirm this trend.  In furthering cooperation projects with the scientific and research world, expeditions such as the UK/Canadian foundation Cape Farewell allow artists to work in a close relationship with scientists and researches on issues related to climate change. 

Environmental challenges and climate change can be a significant focus of residency programmes. The recently published GALA funding guide, supported by the EU-funded project Green Art Lab Alliance, lists sources of support for projects relating to environmental sustainability, including some residency programmes with full or partial funding contributions5). As far as the performing arts sector is concerned, climate change is a focus of residencies, including MAAJAAM in Estonia, Danse et Territoires by Association Format in France and the Cambridge Sustainability Residency in United Kingdom, which is focused on social choreography and arts practice. 

Artist in Residency programmes often connect their activity to the professional development of artists and cultural professionals, providing support for participants to develop and strengthen their own careers, often at an international level. This is often connected to soft skills, such as nurturing partnerships with other sectors. Inspiring models and residency programmes include the Unpack the Arts Programme, a EU-funded project which offered writing residencies for cultural journalists in Europe interested in contemporary circus and physical theatre. These residencies specifically aimed to share and expand knowledge of the field to concerned journalists and critics, in hope that this would subsequently have the effect of providing more understanding and recognition of the sector. 

Residencies which focus on young and promising artists at the start of their careers include for instance the Pépinières Européennes pour Jeunes Artistes in France that offers young creators a wide range of European and international residencies through its MAP programme, supplemented with professionalisation tools and cooperation opportunities.

5) See in particular the pages 27-31.

     

Pépinières européennes pour jeunes artistes ©(La) Horde

Pépinières européennes pour jeunes artistes ©(La) Horde

Pépinières européennes pour jeunes artistes ©(La) Horde


Residencies that relate directly to the performing arts sector in Europe do not exist in a vacuum. This article begins to outline the connections artistic residencies are making with other sectors and broader themes, in an attempt to adapt and extend their relevancy beyond the usual perception of what can be residency programmes. In the same vein, it is relevant to identify a shift in attitude by artists and cultural professionals working more openly to connect to other sectors outside of their own. 

As the EU handbook on artists’ residencies recalls, it is often challenging to categorise residencies and related funding support and mechanisms. With such a diverse range of themes and formats, no two residencies are the same, often embracing experimentation and cross-sector working in other fields, such as the sciences, research, environmental issues, social engagement, site-specific work etc. However, this is a good piece of news for the sector: the opportunities for artists and cultural professionals – from curators to managers, critics to journalists – could not be greater, given the wider selection of residencies looking to connect. 

More than ever it seems necessary to delve into information related to residencies, be that their overall approach or their specific missions, to find which best fits your artistic needs and aspirations. The floor is yours through the resources provided in this article! 

The author wishes to thank for her inputs: Marie Fol, Manager, DutchCulture / TransArtists, and for editing support, Hannah Van Den Bergh.

Ⓒ Marie Le Sourd

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theApro <![CDATA[What Escape Route Are Korea’s Public Dance Companies Seeking?]]> What Escape Route Are Korea’s Public Dance Companies Seeking?
[Trend] Trends in the Activities of Korean Public Dance Companies


Even up until the early 20th century, when Korea was still a kingdom, Korea had a royal dance company.
During the period of Japanese rule(1910–1945) in Korea, the activities of the royal dance company were suspended. After the nation gained independence in 1945, by 1962, the modern history of Korea’s public dance companies had already taken root, first with the establishment of the National Dance Company of Korea and then with the emergence of the National Gugak Center Dance Theater. The National Dance Company of Korea was run under twoart directors, one in charge of original dances in the style of traditional Korean dancing and another in charge of ballet. In 1972 the ballet section separated from the original dance company and the Korean National Ballet was born. In the years that following, beginning in the mid-1970s, city dance companies were established in Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Gwangju, and other major settlements. Incheon, Cheongju, Daejeon, Changwon, Gumi, and other smaller and medium-sized cities established their own municipal dance companies in the 1980s. The dance company of the National Gugak Center was the successor to the royal dance company of the Joseon Dynasty and was established with the primary aim of preserving Korea’s rich dance heritage(i.e., traditional/classical dance and folk dance). At present,there are independently operating National Gugak Center dance companies in Seoul, Namwon, Jindo, and Busan.

The Current State of Korea’s Public Dance Companies

Today there are 25 public dance companies in Korea, a group that can be categorized into national companies and municipal companies. The national companies receive financial assistance from the central government(the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism), whilethe municipal dance companies receive financial assistance from their respective municipal governments. In addition, most public dance companies have a permanent performance venue. Among Korea’s public dance companies, most aim to perform original, Korean traditional style dance pieces. The Korean National Ballet and the Gwangju City Ballet, by contrast, are ballet companies, and the Daegu City Dance Troupe and the Korea National Contemporary Dance Company(KNCDC, established in 2010) are contemporary or modern dance companies. In other words, in the field of public dance companies, where the traditional Korean dance styles based on traditional dance techniques largely dominated, the fact that a contemporary dance company such as the KNCDC was established on anational level reflects not just a growth of the genres of dance in Korea but also changing perceptions of dance as art on the part of the dancers themselves. Seoul has five public dance companies(the National Dance Company of Korea, the dance company of the National Gugak Center, the Korean National Ballet, the Korea National Contemporary Dance Company, and Seoul Metropolitan Dance).

The National Dance Company of Korea and the Korean National Ballet each have about 70 members, and the rest of the companies have 30–50 members. One exception is the Korea National Contemporary Dance Company, which has no permanent members, save the art director and staff, and thatselects performers anew for each project. The members or performances of the public dance companies all possess a college degree or above, and their ability and faithfulness to their duties are judged to be fairly high. In Korea, about 40 universities produce about 1,200 dance majors each year.

The public dance companies have various social insurance policies in place, including annual salaries. One exception is the Korea National Contemporary Dance Company, which does provide annual salaries to its performers due to them being hired on a project-by-project basis. Among the members of the public dance companies, there are a significant number of voices that have called for a raise in the annual salary, as well asthe need for a better supplement to the current pension system. Almost all of the public dance companies have labor unions comprising the entirety of the dance company.
It is customary to conduct regular auditions at the end of the year among the members of the public dance companies; in the case of the Korean National Ballet, the records of various performances take the place of the annual auditions. The retirement age for a member at the National Dance Company of Korea is 53, and at most public dance companies the retirement age is around 50, but there are dance companies where the age is closer to 60. There are no members with foreign passports at any of the public dance companies, and even in private dance companies, foreigners make up only a minority.

At every public dance company, the members, including the art director, are selected through a public application process. The coveted position of art director is typically offered for a three-year term, and though it’s possible to be reappointed, in the past decade in Korea’s public dance companies, no art director has served over two terms. Given that the tenure of each art director is relatively short, some arguepublic dance companies are unable to develop their own unique characters. In Korea’s public dance companies, the duties of an art director tend to be relatively complicated. The art director not only oversees the creative process for each performance but he or she also oversees the management and administration of the dance company. Some of the public dance companies have a board of directors or some other similar governing body, but it is more common for the art director to oversee the entire operation.

As a rule, the art director of Korea’s public dance companies will possess Korean citizenship, and there have not been any instances of an art director with a foreign passport. It is also customary to select an art director from the pool of dancers who have spent a portion of their professional careers dancing in Korea. The exception to this custom, however, was in 2014 when the Korean National Ballet appointed Korean ballerina Kang Sue-jin as itsart director. Kang had moved to Europe in her mid-teens to study ballet and has danced for the Stuttgart Ballet since entering the Germany-based ballet company at age 19 in 1986. Despite her role in the Korean National Ballet, she continues to dance for the Stuttgart Ballet as a principal dancer.

Jean-Christophe Maillot’s version of “Romeo and Juliet”
ⒸKorean National Ballet
“Already not yet” ⒸKNCDC

Searching for New Directions and a Way Out through International Exchange

The overseas exchanges of Korea’s public dance companies showed a marked increase after 2000, a shift attributed to an overall trend of increased international exchange in Korean society. In recent years, among Korea’s privately run dance companies more than 50 companies have been performing abroad annually. There are also more than 100 overseas companies that perform in Korea each year, with more than half of such performances happening in Seoul. Excluding traditional art genres, private dance organizations staging performances overseas have received more public sector financial assistance compared to theater and music. The companies in question have mostly performed in Europe and Asia, with a recent increase in the number of performances in South America. Contemporary dance performances make up most of the overseas performances of private dance companies, followed by traditional Korean dance, original dances choreographed according to the methods of traditional Korean dance, and ballet.

Most of the international exchange of public dance companies consists of overseas performances and engaging overseas dancers as staff. The Korean National Ballet, Seoul Metropolitan Dance, and Busan Metropolitan Dance Company have performed overseas almost every year since2000, and among these overseas performances there are many instances where the performances were organized for diplomatic reasons, to either promote Korean culture or promote the city hosting the performance. In the case of the Korean National Ballet, there have been several instances where the company invited eminent overseas choreographers as honorary guests and choreographers for the Korean National Ballet, including Yury Grigorovich(“Swan Lake,” “Spartacus”), Jean-Christophe Maillot(“Romeo and Juliet”), and Boris Eifman(“Tchaikovsky”). The Korea National Contemporary Dance Company also engages in this practice. Overall, Korea’s public dance companies have indicated a strengthened determination to pioneer a new direction on a global stage, regardless of genre, and there is a high possibility that there will be an increase in the number ofstage projects through international exchange.

Since 2000, when the Korean National Ballet added Jean-Christophe Maillot’s version of “Romeo and Juliet” to its repertoire of honorary guest choreographer, there has been a departure from theexclusive emphasis on classical ballet. Since then, the company has opted to occasionally showcase neo-classical or modern/contemporary ballets from the likes of George Balanchine, Mats Ek, Boris Eifman, Uwe Scholz, and Glen Tetley. The National Dance Company of Korea, while being a company that, as a rule, aims for original choreographed pieces based on traditional Korean dance forms, has also showcased fusion performances when in 2007 it invited Salta Cello, a German jazz band that had been receiving attention for its work with the melodies of Korean folk music. In 2014 the company showcased a contemporary dance performance with a piece from honorary guest choreographer Tero Saarinen, a promising Finnish talent. And as evidenced in the instances of when the Korean National Ballet(in 2012) and the National Dance Company of Korea(in 2013 and 2014) invited Korean contemporary dance choreographer Ahn Sungsoo as an honorary guest choreographer, both organizations have, for the past few years, emphasized their connection with contemporary dance. 

“Vortex” by Tero Saarinen_ⒸNational Dance Company of Korea ⒸNational Gugak Center Dance Theater

Public dance companies have regularly scheduled performances twice a year. The regularly scheduled performances generally happen in the spring and fall over the course of two or three days, with about three shows each. It is common for the newest pieces in the repertoire to debut at these paid scheduled performances. In addition, along with the Korean National Ballet, various ballet companies will perform “The Nutcracker” each December for about two or three weeks, much like a regularly scheduled performance. Besides the regular performances, public dance companies have performances for the public good throughout the year. For the past few years, the National Dance Company of Koreahas had a yearly average of 65 performances with 27 pieces from the repertoire; other dance companies have also averaged about 50 performances a year. When consideringKorean public dance companies as a whole, it continues to be rare to see the choreography entrusted to an honorary guest who is not a member.

After 2000, the development of pieces that would establish a connection with the audience was raised as priority issue at the public dance companies. In addition, the call for an increase in the choreographic activities of the art director has been consistent. This situation drove the public dance companies, in their performances, to seek an escape from the conservative nature of Korea’s public dance companies and to seek internal change. Since about 2010, there has been a definite trend toward diversification in the pieces and the styles of performance at Korea’s public dance companies. In such a trend there are two phenomena that stand out: First, in the choreography there are frequent attempts toward hybrid methods, wherein the dance will depart from basic techniques to incorporate diverse techniques and other organized types of movements such as martial arts. Second, in the creation of the performance stage, rather than telling astory through a unified structure with a beginning, middle, and end, there are an increasing number of instances where the emphasis is on the audience’s reaction, with an omnibus-style structure as the foundation.The aforementioned trends are currently happening mostly in Seoul, but it is anticipated they will gain prominence in the public dance companies of other regions in the near future. 

ⒸKAMS


 
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theApro <![CDATA[Imitation, mutual influence, and new connections in the Communal Space of Inter-Asia]]> Imitation, mutual influence, and new connections
in the Communal Space of Inter-Asia
[Trends] Asian Music


1

To close out Festival Bo:M this past April 19, the Asian Music Party (organized by Park Daham) lit up the streets of Itaewon and showcased the two DJs known as Soi48. I guess you could say something of an "incident" occurred. I certainly think it qualifies as an incident, regardless of how many people were present. This is because a complicated translation mechanism went into effect during the event.

First off, the two DJs came from Japan. Obviously, that means they’re Japanese. The music they played, however, was largely Thai. If you’re unfamiliar with the genres of Luk Thung and Mor Lam, then I’ll vaguely describe them as the origins of Thai funk, for now. Now we can get onto the meaning of "Soi." Even if you’ve never been to Thailand, you may have heard the word if you know a good Thai restaurant. It means "avenue" or "street."

When I met with the two DJs after the festivities, I greeted them in my clumsy Japanese, "Great show, Soi48!" They seemed pleased to hear their name in their native language. We then discussed so-called "mainstream music" in Asian countries, including our own Korea and Japan, as well as Thailand, India, and Turkey, using a combination of broken English and an acquaintance who acted as our Japanese interpreter.

Some readers will think I’m making a big deal out of nothing. Whether they do or not, I stand by my claim: It would be difficult for Asian nations to communicate, share, and exchange with one another without the type of cultural and linguistic translation just described. This isbecause I believe the domination of a single culture or language to be wrong, and that the chances of such hegemony developing into a medium of genuine communication are low. While the dominanceof American-British culture and the English language have planted them as the "global culture," the so-called "regional cultures" of Asian nations are decentralized and scattered—in other words, chaotic. Could this be viewed as an advantage, as opposed to a fault?

Imagine another example. The music documentary Bising was screened at another event in Festival Bo:M. What young director Aditya Utama examines in this film is Indonesian noise music. Those who wondered, "Thailand has funk music?" earlier will probably now think, "Indonesia has noise music?" However, if Korea can harbor a reggae scene, then there is no reason why Thailand can’t have funk, or why Indonesia can’t have a noise genre. There is no need to cover the entire documentary here. What I found most interesting was that the film chose to focus on the influence of Japanese artists Merzbow and Masonna, or “Japanoise,” on young Indonesian noise artists, as opposed to that of Western noise. If music doesn’t need a nationality, especially if it doesn’t have any lyrics, then this becomes all the more fascinating. Thus, if people aren’t drawn to Japanoise because of its national identity, then I can only guess that it is due to some other, unexplainable emotional factor.

The Asian Music Party  ⓒPark Swan The music documentary Bising ⓒAditya Utama


2

Based on experiences described above, as well as other previous experiences, I wish to raise and discuss the following issues.

First of all, there are numerous styles and genres of mainstream music throughout Asia, with more forming as we speak. Such styles or genres are no longer required to represent a single nation. If someone asked me if Korea’s music scene wasexclusively made up of K-pop idols, as a Korean, I would be very displeased. To think that a nation’s music is a single exclusive trait or unchangeable quality is to view that country and its people as simpletons.

Second, we need tostop stressing "tradition" or "roots" in mainstream Asian music. Mainstream music is a contemporary phenomenon, produced, circulated, and consumed according to the needs of people living in modern society. Some contemporary mainstream music has imitated Western—more accurately, American-British—genres (pop, for instance), while some varieties have blended unique cultural elements from other countries.

Third, there is no need to discover a universal commonalityamong all mainstream Asian music, whether it is audio or aesthetic. Two music varieties can sound similar but stand for different things, or sound completely different while representing something similar. More importantly, "different" or "similar" are usually concepts that revolveon one’s own country; people often evaluate other countries using their own as a standard making it difficultto call this a constructive demeanor.

My final point is that, when listening to any sort of mainstream music from Asia, it is necessary to question whether or not an element of cultural exchange amid Asian nations is in effect. Modern Asians have grown accustomed to the paradigm of My Country vs. The West. A closer look, however, reveals this to be a flawed construction. In Korea, for example, K-pop would have been impossible without the initial model of J-pop, and it would have been difficult for artists like Son Ji-chang and Kim Won-jun to thrive without the influence of pop stars from Hong Kong.

Further examination reveals that Asia’s mainstream music has witnessed very active currents of intercultural exchange, and continues to do so today. The Korean scene in the 1990s, for instance, took after Japan and Hong Kong, but now looks to other countries for influence. Such dynamic cultural exchange flows according to the currents of market demand. Certain policies and regulations attempt to exercise a level of control, though their influence is limited. But is that all?



3

In the realm of performing arts, festivals are a surefire way to facilitate exchange and communication among Asian cultures. After all, it is doubtful whether people would actually purchase Indonesian noise or Thai funk albums even if Korean record stores offered them. Record sales are already drooping for domestic artists, so it would be difficult for a foreign artist—and an obscure one from Asia, at that—to enter the current market. This becomes even more apparent when you consider that Japanese artists, who form Asia’s strongest music industry, have produced almost no major hits in Korea. Thus, we need another system that doesn’t just rely on market principles to facilitate intercultural currents.

Festivals also serve as a way to encourage intercultural exchange that doesn’t need to adhere to market principles. This is because most participants find a way in through some type of promotion or sponsorship. Such festivals allow individual nations’ mainstream cultures to blend into a shared international one. It perhaps seems reasonable, then, to devise a term that encompasses the concept of "international" while acting within the confines of Asia—something like "Asianational." If that sounds too forced, let us instead try the term "inter-Asia." As such, the sphere of Asia, or inter-Asia, is one where intercultural traffic currently flows in a space without national boundaries, which continues to grow at this very moment. This communal space is an environment where the intricate translation mechanism mentioned earlier goes into effect. In the case of artists, this is a space where they influence and imitate one another, eventually forming new connections. To be honest, the terms "mutual influence," "imitation," and "new connections"—part of this essay’s subtitle—were actually words I borrowed from a book written by an Asian scholar which was originally composed in English. In this communal international space, I believe that any artist who is creative enough can initiate unique transformations.

Such a communal space yields a cultural format that is not a direct commercial product, and continues to grow in both quality and quantity as the era progresses. After participating in a festival, the next phase is to form a sustainable network. Numerous performers may have already started to consolidate various contacts, setting new networks into operation as we speak. Within such a network, there is no need for artists and performers to represent any single nation, which is a very contemporary phenomenon. Rather, the cultural processes of contemporary exchange have shifted the focus of musical interaction from proving the superiority of one’s nation to an atmosphere of communal creation. In Asia, things always go better in harmony with something else. This isbecause there is no purely "Asian" identity; Asia is essentially "impure," so to speak, which makes it all the more dynamic.

Looking back to the Asian Music Party I described at the beginning of this article, it is worth reviewing the sentiments of Japanese guitarist and honorary Korean Yohei Hasegawa (a.k.a. Kim Yang-pyeong). One of the festival’s artists, Hasegawa described Korean rock music in the 1960s and 70s as "out of tune," an attempt to grasp the identity of Asian mainstream music. Artists back then unavoidably turned to the British-American paradigm as a reference. However, the stage has since widened to allow a more diverse artistic range, one that is now closer to home. That physical and cultural closeness is something we’ve come to know as "Asia."

                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                              Shin hyunjoon

                                                                                                                                                               

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theApro <![CDATA[Time for Another Leap beyond Street Performance Festivals]]> Time for Another Leap beyond Street Performance Festivals
[Trend] The Status of Today’s Korean Street Arts


From April 23 to 26 this year, there was an opening event for the Seoul Street Arts Creation Center at the Guui Water Intake Facility in Gwangjin-gu, Seoul. In 2011, it was announced that the water intake facility would be shut down and repurposed for street arts, drawing the attention of interested parties. After 2013’s the open studio pilot program, the center went through a full-scale remodeling and officially reopened in April of 2015. The space now includesproduction and studio spacesin the first water intake facility, while the second facility has been updated to include practice rooms. Additional remodeling for residence and education facilities and practice spaces is scheduled to occur through 2017.

The Goyang Lake Art Festival

Street Arts Market at Seonyudo Park

 by Korean Street Arts Center

The Search for a Realistic Plan for Korean Street Art

In the latter half of 2014, there was another notable event in the street art world:Facingsudden cancellations of invited pieces from international artists, the usually impressive Gwacheon Festival underwent last-minute changes that resulted in a feeble event. Despite the longstanding art director’s defense of the festival’s reputation as a national platform for street art, both the event and its leader had their image damaged by Gwacheon’s weak performance, inciting criticism. Around the same time, the local government opted to take the festival in a new direction, moving away from street arts and instead launching a Horse Festival, a decision made amid debates and hearings supporting the contrary. But in spite of the controversial shift,the 2015 festival is moving ahead as planned. At present, the organizers are accepting suggestions for a name for the new festival, one that signifies the bond that exists between humans and horses, carries on the tradition of mounted nomad descendants, and embodies the contribution of horses to local culture and tourism. The art director and the planning manager of Gwacheon Festival have already resigned from office.

The launch of the Seoul Street Arts Creation Center and demise of Gwacheon Festival are indicative of the current state of Korean street arts, which up until now were mainly represented by festivals. In 2003, the aforementioned Gwacheon Festival was renamed from Gwacheon Madang Festival to Gwacheon Han Madang Festival, with aprogram that includes courtyard performances, street performances, and outdoor performances. Since then, the term “street arts” has often come to replace “street performanceat such events, seen by some as a reflection of modern trends in the street arts sector. As a key proponent of diversity among street arts projects, the Gwacheon Festival is widely recognized as more than a convergence of invited performances from abroad, academic projects, and production support projects: The alumni of the Gwacheon Festival have spread out to Ansan, Goyang, and Seoul, leading the development of the genre at other festivals.

The Ansan Street Arts Festival, which notably includes “street performance” in its name, is recognized for having raised awareness of the genre among the mainstream crowd. The festival started out by appealing to local audiences with one- to two-person busking performances, but has since made an effort todiversify its acts. Though the festival has been helmed by a number of different art directors since its debut, each has managed to maintain the general direction of the event, which had its 10th anniversary in 2015.Artists and local citizens’ expectations from the event will likely be influenced by last year’s Sewol ferry accident—which had been transporting many students from an Ansan high school, among others—thus, this year’s program is expected to take such factors into consideration.

The Goyang Lake Art Festival intends to differentiate itself from other festivals by highlighting the concept of space in its street arts. The “Lake Park” concept, in which water, nature, and city center come together in one spaceand the idea of combining this spatial characteristic with street artsis drawing a positive response from the general public and the interest of artists. Unlike the organizations behind the aforementionedfestivals, this festival is prepared entirely by the Goyang Cultural Foundation. The festival, which had been growing steadily despite concerns regarding the lack of an artistic director, is expected to face difficulties this year due to the delicate situation with the cultural foundation itself.

Once thought to lack a clear focus, the Hi Seoul Festival has now solidified its identity as a platform for street arts, and is quickly establishing itself as one of Korea’s premiere festivals in the genre. The festival will benefit greatly from the launch of the Seoul Street Arts Creation Center, which has thepotential toencourage the development and distribution the works of contributors.In the case of street arts-inclusive festivals such as the Suwon Theatre Festival, the Chuncheon International Mime Festival, the Seoul Fringe Festival, and the Mokpo International Madang Art Festival, we can observe the forefront of the Korean street arts scene. Since the Gwacheon Festival incident, however, various opinions about Korean street arts have arose, especially regarding the boundaries set in government-sponsored festivals. These issues have sparked extensive debate regarding the development of the Korean street arts identity while developing an alternative to the current reliance on government-supported festivals.

Another remarkable trend in street arts is the significant increase in busking. These street performances, which in the past had been had been restricted to areas such as Hongdae and Daehangno, are now seen not only elsewhere in Seoul but also in nearby suburbs. In terms of genre, these performances are focused on specific genres of music and dance. Riding the wave of the audition program trend, busking seems to be spreading as a form of self promotion or appeal to a mainstream crowd. This is mainly due to the increasing popularity of street performance culture rather than an expansion of cultural diversification, but, regardless of the reason, the positive response from the general public presents an opportunity for artists. There is, however, a counterpoint: Though the street may be a space for the public, it still poses considerable limits for arts and cultural activities. Some local governments, such as those of Seoul, Busan, Yongin, and Gangnam-gu, have successfully commercializedthe concept of the street artist, but what remains to be seen is whether these efforts will result in opportunities and support for artists or unnecessary bureaucratic limitations.

Opening event for the Seoul Street Arts Creation Center

The Opening of the Seoul Street Arts Creation Center:Getting aSecond Wind

Rather than receiving support from the central government or other funding bodies, Korean street arts havedeveloped discourses independently, instead looking to festivalssupported by the local governments, cultural organizations, and participating artists. The Korean Street Arts Center serves as the discipline’s unique representative organization, established in 2009 after the 2007 launch of the Korean Street Performance Research Institute. It was founded by active professionals in the street arts community,including festival planners, members of creative organizations, and art producers themselves. With a business strategy that focuses on engaging in street arts research and providing relevant information and support for creative activities, the center has contributed to academic events, street arts flea markets, and field research. Although at times limited in its ability to produce projects due to its more informal organizational structure, the Korean Street Arts Center seeks to make changes with the appointment of a new director and managing committee in the third quarter of 2015.

With the opening of the Seoul Street Arts Creation Center, Korean street arts are now moving beyond the festivals that once acted as their sole distribution paths. What lies ahead is a new phase of development, one that promotes the dissemination of resources, improves training opportunities, encourages academic research, and resolves the current paucity of spaces for the development and public performance of street arts.

ⒸCho Youngsun


 
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theApro <![CDATA[MALAYSIA NOW! Connection Salon Talk]]> Contemporary Malaysian Art
[Trends] MALAYSIA NOW! Connection Salon Talk


The KAMS Connection Salon Talk kicked off 2014 in Denmark under the direction of producer Per Kap Bech Jensen of Odin Teatret, and then went on to be held in the U.K., France, and Australia before finally making its way to Malaysia for Malaysia Now!—the sixth talk of the series—which was held this past January 15. The Connection Salon Talk series was established to boost the number of international experts in the performing arts field, part of Korea Arts Management Service’s Connection project that was launched in 2010 to promote international exchange in the sector. The talks are designed to allow experienced professionals to share their expertise with attendees in an easygoing discussion environment, enriching the breadth of shared knowledge while strengthening cooperative ties.

Malaysia Now! was graced by choreographer Lee Dong-won from the One Dance Project Group, who took part in Malaysia Research, which was held under the theme of Exchange in Modern Dance this past November, as well as artistic director Lee Seung-hyo of Festival Bo:m and choreographer Lee Dong-min, CEO of arts and cultural management firm EO Creative. The result was a meaningful discussion of issues relevant to Malaysia’s contemporary dance scene, as well the state of affairs of Asia’s performing arts world.

On site at Malaysia Research

On site at Malaysia Research


[Connection Presentation]

Malaysia’s Contemporary Dance Scene Today: Choreographer Lee Dong-won, from the One Dance Project Group

Malaysia is a nation composed of three main ethnic groups: Chinese, Indian, and native Malaysian. In addition to the many languages and dialects associated with each of these groups, English is the national language, an influence of British colonization. Malaysia’s location is also unique, as it’s surrounded by the nations of Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Laos. These two factors make it a prime spot for an international festival. As soon as our team arrived, hectic schedules kept us busy every day, starting from around 9 or 10 a.m. For the most part, we met with art managers and people in the theater community. From the very first day, we visited every theater with the following question in mind: What is Malaysian dance? As is evident from a single look at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s economic power has already surpassed Korea’s on several fronts; similarly, the nation’s theater scene was enough to shatter common Korean misconceptions of Southeast Asia. Not only were there several adaptations of world-class musicals, artists were also actively incorporating traditional Malaysian forms. When it came to sheer volume, however, for every 100 productions that occur in the Korean performing arts scene only about seven pieces were produced in that of Malaysia.
There are only around three to four types of traditional dance in Malaysia, and there is no governmental organization that manages performances; everything is done by private organizations. There is also no public funding for traditional dance, with all performances being funded by private firms. The Damansara Performing Arts Centre(DPAC), the nation’s quintessential performance arts arena, comprises two small theaters (black box theaters), two rehearsal rooms, and a space for international residents. International choreographers are regularly invited to stay at the DPAC facilities for one or two months while they write and produce new pieces. In Malaysia, the arts scene is far less developed than its advertising culture, which embodies a fair amount of finesse and is inevitably shaped by an influx of government funding. Although there are instances of state-supported contemporary dance performances comparable to KAMS in Korea, on the whole, funding is extremely rare. Malaysia’s National Department for Culture & Arts (Jabatan Kebudayaan dan Kesenian Negara, or JKKN) regards dance forms directly rooted in Malaysian tradition as more important than purely modern dance. Malaysia’s National Arts Culture and Heritage Academy (ASWARA), a school comparable to the Korea National University of Arts, is the only public university in the nation to offer a modern dance program, though it ultimately stresses tradition above all else. I had the chance to partake in a showcase at DPAC with Steve, a dancer of Chinese descent whom I met through KAMS, and Kara, who specializes in traditional Malaysian dance. The arts in Malaysia are commonly divided according to its three ethnic groups, a division which transfers over to audiences. Although there are currently three to four contemporary dance troupes in Malaysia, audiences tend to only patronize a single company.

Damansara Performing Arts Centre

ASWARA

Damansara Performing Arts Centre ASWARA


During our time in Malaysia, we visited one of the country’s international residency programs. It was a place run by one of the nation’s most prominent architects, located around 40 minutes away from Kuala Lumpur, with all the facilities being renovations of older architecture, including an underground bunker. Once accepted into the program, artists, installation artists, and sculptors will spend between one and two months crafting individual pieces here, after which the architect who operates the facility purchases their work. The grounds of the residence are adorned with the pieces made by artists who’ve passed through, and the interior is enlivened by antique Malaysian furniture. The residency is operated as part of a program that sends artists to whichever corner of Southeast Asia they choose, whether they fund the endeavor privately or through sponsorship, which facilitated cooperation between the residency program and the artists.
We viewed six different works by six young artists, but they all displayed movements and expressive techniques that were common in the Korean contemporary dance scene of seven to eight years ago, and so failed to grasp my attention. Contemporary dance in Malaysia is in its infant stages, still mimicking techniques learned from masters in places such as Singapore and Hong Kong. Wikipedia says that contemporary art is art of the present era. If that’s the case, would it not be something created in the present, now, in this very era, right here and right now? If we accept this definition, all dance forms that are being created in Malaysia right now would qualify as contemporary dance. This perspective made me turn the mirror on myself, obliging me to ask the following questions: What is Korean contemporary dance? What is the dance that I create in Korea today (a direct product of the present era)?
What I ultimately drew out of our trip to Malaysia was a desire to work on a residency project with the people I met in DPAC. However, I wondered how contemporary dance could be connected to all this. If Korea is white and Malaysia is black, then the two simply mixing to form grey doesn’t necessarily imply a connection. Rather than the two colors simply absorbing and tarnishing each other, a true connection involves both colors remaining true to their nature while intertwining to create something new.

Visiting an Alternative Space for Malaysia’s Performance Arts: Lee Seung-hyo, Art Director of Festival Bo:m

‘Launched two years ago, the Borak Arts Series is a conference held in Malaysia for creative practitioners and business leaders, with 2014’s conference based on the theme of funding and mobility. The Japan Foundation has its Asia Center in Malaysia that promotes its culture there, which offers a great deal of support to the Borak event. Representatives from nations such as the U.K. and New Zealand have attended to offer their opinions on what next steps would best benefit Malaysia’s art scene. Although the conference is new and still in its developmental stages, it presented an opportunity to discussion the financial and cooperative aspects of network building. Malaysia’s My Performing Arts Agency is currently creating a program that connects Malaysia’s art scene with the rest of the world, similar to the role the Performing Arts Market in Seoul (PAMS) plays under KAMS. The opening performance was provided by choreographer Lee Dong-won, who put a fantastic show.

Poster for the 2013 Borak Arts Series

Affiliates of My Performing Arts Agency ⓒ My Performing Arts Agency Homepage

Poster for the 2013 Borak Arts Series Affiliates of My Performing Arts Agency ⓒ My Performing Arts Agency Homepage

Our next stop was the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC). The sign at the entrance that read "No Dress Code" was a nice touch. Malaysian audiences tend to view performing arts events as formal occasions that require a certain mode of dress. To shatter this conception, the theater created an atmosphere that shouted "Shorts and sandals are okay!" The center’s offices were constructed using mostly glass so people passing by could see inside, another effort to become closer to the public. From the artists’ perspective, KLPAC’s rental fees for its venues are relatively affordable, offered at MYR 1,000 per day (approximately KRW 300,000, as compared to the rates at the National Theater of Korea’s, which are KRW 450,000 won a day) so independent artists can actively utilize the space. KLPAC offers programs all year long in a variety of genres, including dance, theater, art, music, film, and musicals. KLPAC’s premises are actually 100 years old, using a renovated space that once served as a storage facility.
The next locale we visited was DPAC, a place where Korean choreographer Kim Jae-duk once produced some of his work. The space was operated by a young artistic director and choreographer who also served as a member of the theater’s resident dance troupe, and who had experience working with choreographers from Singapore. As someone who also personally operated a theater early in their career, I admit I was a bit jealous. When I inquired how they stayed afloat, I was told that almost no public funds are provided, and that everything relies on private sponsorship. Funding in the Malaysian arts scene is still mostly brought in from abroad, whether it’s from foundations around Asia and Europe or from cultural centers around the world. As there are no institutions to acquire public funding, such as the Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture and Arts Council Korea (ARKO), the Malaysian arts scene, unlike that of other Southeast Asian nations, relies heavily on the private sector. International artists are always welcome at DPAC, so long as they contact the premises in advance. And although DPAC doesn’t have the resources to sponsor artists’ production costs or travel fees, they offer a space where they can work on a variety of projects, and can even offer support to set up collaborative efforts.

Kuala Lumpur Performing Art Centre

Findars ⓒ Findars Facebook page

Kuala Lumpur Performing Art Centre Findars ⓒ Findars Facebook page

Our visit also provided an opportunity to listen to some music in the KuAsh Theatre, where there was a traditional dance performance titled Rhythm in Bronze. There were several performers involved, and they all wore masks of some sort. The performing arts space Findars, by contrast, had the feel of a backwoods basement and included a bar, a screening room, and a space for various performances. The Experimental Film and Video Festival was underway at the time, and people were setting up a project that combined audio and visual effects. Although the local scene for such art has yet to establish a consistent following among local patrons, a few interested parties had gathered to help set up the installation. Participants included some crews that are well-known throughout Asia, and local artists had even made connections with artists from Korea and Japan. In addition, there was the Five Arts Centre, a collective assembled by 14 artists and producers. Started by a founding crew of only three members, it has now been running for 30 years strong, representing an impressive mix of generations, from young artists in their 20s to veterans in their 60s. As artists were preparing for an upcoming digital art festival, everything in the atmosphere implied the sentiment of a fresh start.

Malaysia’s Contemporary Art Scene Today: Lee Dong-min, CEO of EO Creative, an arts and culture management firm

As a part of our mission to establish an Asian connection in terms of a continental art network, I wanted to obtain a glimpse of the possibilities that such a network could offer, and thus wanted to investigate the connective link latent in the Malaysia’s art scene, our starting point. In recent years, the Asian dance market, including Korea’s, has catered heavily to European trends in an effort to mimic them. This isn’t necessarily negative, but I sometimes worry that it will reach a point of irreversibility. Although general trends in the art market are unavoidable, I can’t help but think a change in the tide’s direction is necessary. The main reason for our trip was to plan an event where choreographers, dancers, independent management firms, and other related institutions in Asian dance could discuss the identity and direction of the dance scene across Asia.
In Malaysia’s case, production costs are surprisingly low, though the number of troupes who work in contemporary dance is limited. ASWARA, which is run by Joseph Victor Gonzales, is similar to the Korea National University of Arts as it focuses entirely on native projects. In DPAC’s case, there is a large Chinese sector, but given that many of its dancers have studied in Singapore their identity isn’t strictly Chinese. Two previously unmentioned Chinese companies in Malaysia that cater to the local population are the Kwang Tung Dance Company, one of the country’s original Chinese companies, and Dua Space Dance Theatre, which was co-founded by two local dancers who now operate as directors. Forming a contemporary dance scene with just four companies is difficult enough, but to make matters worse, little to no exchange occurs among them. When our team suggested holding a collective workshop, we were told that it would be impossible. Thus, any joint effort to research and develop methods and movements in choreography is difficult. However, DPAC has recently invited choreographers from both Singapore and Korea for joint projects, allowing the organization to infuse European methods into the local scene. The two local other companies in Malaysia, however, work in complete isolation, an environment very similar to Korea’s scene 25 years ago. Contemporary dance in Malaysia offers a bit of the old-school methods, something very rarely seen in Korea these days.

A poster for the Kwang Tung Dance Company ⓒ Kwang Tung Dance Company Facebook page

A poster for the Dua Space Dance Company Theatre ⓒ Dua Space Facebook page

A poster for the Kwang Tung Dance Company ⓒ Kwang Tung Dance Company Facebook page
 
A poster for the Dua Space Dance Company Theatre ⓒ Dua Space Facebook page
 

For three days, I had some time to meet privately with local choreographers. After a discussion on extracting human movement, I learned that they were more concerned with abstract and lyrical expression, as opposed to specific methods for detailed imagery. Either that or they simply followed methods they learned from their predecessors, as was the case with Korea’s contemporary dance scene, although the Malaysian scene may seem isolated and closed-off, an effort to preserve traditions contains the potential to create something unique. The people we met were in their 30s and 40s, and could be called the first generation of Malaysia’s contemporary dance scene. Arranging a collaboration with these dancers may certainly be difficult, but if we set out with the intention of creating a uniquely Asian method, a completely original scene, then I think it’s possible. The bigger problem, however, is that there are few management firms available. When we asked managers who worked with the companies about their status, they mostly replied that they were "independent," not because they could operate with autonomy, but because the workload of each individual manager was enormous, more than any Korean manager ever takes on. Projects related to Malaysian tradition can supposedly solicit government funding, but anything else is merely left in the brainstorming stage. An independent artist has no route to apply for support through an established cultural and arts association. As there is no way for independent artists to continuous create new projects, I admit I am a bit concerned. When this topic came up for discussion at the Borak Arts Series, it was mentioned that, although Japanese foundations were establishing local branches, there’s still a severe lack of exchange between Korea, China, and Japan, leaving developing Asian nations even more alone, resulting in a disconnected Asia. Even without any immediate financial lure, Malaysia is certainly a fascinating locale artistically.

노 블랙 타이 공연 포스터
As such, we were left with the question of how to make the best of such a situation. Despite having someone incomplete movements, the various projects that choreographers were undertaking, particularly collaborative projects that blended genres, were structurally comparable to productions back home. Moreover, because public funding was so limited, private productions were much more common. One day we stumbled upon a jazz club called No Black Tie. Known as the best jazz club in Malaysia, it was run by two sisters who had studied music in New York City. In a nation with a population of 23,000,000 and a relatively low cost of living, I was surprised at the quality of the local live music scene.
A poster for No Black Tie

Korea provides a relatively generous amount of government funding for the arts; it’s mostly the private sector that’s hesitant to show interest. In Malaysia, however, it’s the opposite, with the private sector actively involved. Occasionally, people expressed interest in collaborative projects, saying it’d be nice if I could come back with some government funding from Korea.
When it came to mainstream music, however, most people were extremely receptive to whatever ideas we had. The contemporary art scene in Malaysia is more challenging to define then that of Korea, particularly in the area of dance. On the other hand, as those in today’s scene are some of the country’s first to embrace contemporary dance on a wider level, almost all would agree on the need to create a distinctively Asian scene, with pieces that possess an expressive voice and creative capacity. The problem, however, is determining how to realistically achieve such a goal. Although Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines are all geographically related, there is almost no sense of cultural community among them. Just as we were able to explore Malaysia through the Connection Salon Talk program, I would thoroughly appreciate the opportunity to explore other Asian markets in the same way. What is more challenging is that the overall problem cannot be solved simply by simply establishing a connection between Korea and Malaysia.
Although Korea’s contemporary scene is receiving high praise, it is widely understood that many disciplines have simply imported forms or styles from Europe and altered them slightly, which raises questions regarding whether Korean works will ever be able to surpass the European market. If KAMS is willing to establish a series of Connection-like programs between Korea and Malaysia, then I’m sure the theaters and collectives mentioned above will serve as a solid base. It seems certain that collaborative efforts could offer not just material and financial assistance but richer artistic substance. Malaysia’s current residency programs operate under a system that requires international artists to arrive with their own funding, after which the organizations can collaborate with and help local artists; but a simple exchange of artistic output is an insufficient foundation on which to establish a genuine connection. Regardless of whether either country pursues further exchange, it seems apparent that those in Korea’s dance scene, both interpretive and contemporary, could help Malaysian artists elevate both the style and level of their work.
What continues to be important, however, is to not lose sight of the distinct character of ASEAN members. On the technological front, for example, these are countries that skipped over land line telephones altogether and jumped straight into world of mobile phones. This phenomenon alone constitutes a very unique ASEAN quality. As nations who have seen their societies and economies progress without undergoing basic developmental phases, they are characteristically unaware of the importance of certain transitional steps, but without seeming wanting or starved of anything. This resilience and drive could certainly work to these nations’ great advantage. Largely excluded from Korea’s main concerns, the nations of Southeast Asia could be steadily wading their way through challenges that Korea has never faced. Although it’s not immediately apparent, I think anybody who endeavors to work in Southeast Asia with an attitude of respect will likely enjoy favorable results.



[Connection Talk]

Host (Seo Myeong-gu, Manager of the Seoul Theater Center): Malaysia is a diverse mix of ethnicities and cultures, giving me the impression that it’s attained a harmonious blend of cultures and a level of diversity that we don’t yet have as Koreans. You mentioned, however, that the market is rather exclusionary. I’d like to hear your reasons for thinking this way, as well as whether or not there are any governmental efforts to devise a solution.

Lee Dong-min :
Kwang Tung and Dua Space are both companies with Chinese roots. According to them, if they apply for support of any kind, they are told that it’s impossible to acquire funding because they’re Chinese, while others simply tell them bluntly that they can’t be funded. There is a definite administrative bias toward strictly Malaysian productions. Of course, JKKN says otherwise, but when you talk to anyone who’s worked in the field for over 10 years, they all say the bias is undeniably real. Schools such as ASWARA have signed an MOU with Korea National University of Arts, but this is only possible because the school (ASWARA) focuses on strictly Malaysian productions. Although a person like Joseph Victor Gonzalez serves as co-chairman of the Asian Dance Committee, the country is still politically slanted toward ethnically Malaysian companies.

Host : Do you think governmental efforts in the realms of collaboration and exchange will help change things?

Lee Seung-hyo :
Joseph Victor Gonzalez expressed great pride in his curriculum, saying that his students learn Malaysian dance, as well as forms from China and India. Although various methods are used for instruction, it’s all under the same structure and system. That’s where I think Malaysia’s problem lies. Even politically, the incumbent party is always emphasizing that Malaysia is a single, unified nation; rather than embracing the beauty of the country’s diversity, it almost acts as if it doesn’t exist. Its members strive to leave no room for collision or conflict. In my opinion, if Malaysia is to advance both politically and culturally, its citizens first need to ask themselves how their clash of different cultures can be worked into harmony. Even among artists, this problem remains largely excluded from discussion.

Scenes from the Malaysia Now! Connection Salon Talk (from left: Seo Myeong-gu, Lee Dong-min, Lee Seung-hyo, Lee Dong-won)

Scenes from the Malaysia Now! Connection Salon Talk (from left: Seo Myeong-gu, Lee Dong-min, Lee Seung-hyo, Lee Dong-won)

Scenes from the Malaysia Now! Connection Salon Talk (from left: Seo Myeong-gu, Lee Dong-min, Lee Seung-hyo, Lee Dong-won)

Audience member: I work in publishing. I’m going to attend a book fair in Kuala Lumpur this April, and am considering going with a Korean performance group for marketing purposes. I still haven’t heard back from the organizers regarding their opinion on this, but I was wondering if you think it’d be possible for us to expand our (my company’s) audience this way, as well as engage in a joint project with a local company.

Lee Dong-min :
I think it’d be best to contact the committee that oversees the organization. If you were planning on establishing ties with a local company, then I could perhaps help, but I’m not sure if I can provide an answer if you’re planning on going with a Korean company. You could collaborate with a local company, but they won’t be able to acquire any funds. I’m sure planning the event itself wouldn’t be a problem, it’d just be a matter of acquiring adequate sponsorship.

Kim Seok-hong (KAMS): All three guests have mentioned that there is little exchange between the three ethnic groups in Malaysia. However, on the international front, I think that for a genuine relationship to exist between Korea and Malaysia, then the two nations need to express an interest in each other. I was wondering if local artists have an interest in Korea at all.

Lee Dong-won :
The desire to work on an international scale is similar to what which exists in the scene in Korea. I once asked a Malaysian friend named Steve about his impressions after visiting Korea for a week. He was curious about the intensity of trends in Korea. From his perspective, the majority of Korean dance and styles get swept up into single trends and end up being very similar. While he expressed an interest in working with Korean artists, he seemed very turned off by this aspect. However, the Korean Wave has definitely sparked a level of interest. The question is how we can bring such interests together with ours. We both want something, so we need to find a meeting point, one from which we can maintain a continuous relationship.

Lee Seung-hyo : The common consensus among Malaysians is that Korea’s performance arts scene is certainly something worthy of attention. We may think we still have a long ways to go, but I think Malaysians tend to look up to both Korea and Japan. Also, I think they feel a sense of commonality with us, as Asians, something they don’t feel towards Europeans. However, while Malaysians view the advancements of Korea and Japan as something to admire and learn from, I wonder if they really think of us as distinct from one another.

Audience member : Hi, my name is Kim Yeong-cheol, and I work in Korean dance. I visited ASWARA five years ago. Due to the fact that I managed to go through a program that provided sponsorship, I thought it’d be a great opportunity to do some valuable research. Although people call my field interpretive dance in Korea, while abroad they call me a choreographer in contemporary dance, and I can’t help but think that more possibilities would open up if people just simply referred to my work as "dance." The term “Korean dance” seems so limiting. The truth is, I’ve been thinking about how to expand into Asia, not just Japan and Korea, for the past 10 years. I’ve always been disappointed that Koreans don’t pay more attention to the continent as a whole.

Host : Mr. Lee, you’ve worked in Festival Bo:m, as well as Festival Tokyo in the past, so I’m curious to hear your perspective on Southeast Asia. Also, rather than just a series of partnerships between individual companies, I’d like to know if there’s the possibility of a collaborative, joint effort on the scale of something like a festival.

Lee Seung-hyo :
From a managerial perspective, creating an all-encompassing program for Asia is extremely difficult. I once worked on a program that ran like a public contest, but in the case of a nation like Malaysia, such contests don’t even exist. Even public performance festivals are severely lacking in substance. If we go there full of expectations, then I’m sure there’s nothing awaiting us. If we go with preconceived notions of modern dance or what "contemporary" is, then we won’t find anything. If that’s the case, we have to find out what contemporary means in Malaysia, but that process would take too long. This is the problem that we need a solution for, especially when it comes to facilitating exchange between Korea and Southeast Asia.

노 블랙 타이 공연 포스터
Kim Seok-hong (KAMS): You said that there’s almost no public funding available, but that such a situation could be worked into an advantage. However, I think that a certain amount of public support is necessary to boost the process. I understand that exchange between JKNN and KAMS has led to a benchmarking process on many fronts. I wanted to know, however, if more people are speaking up about the necessity of public funding. 
 

Lee Seung-hyo : I think Malaysians look up to the systematic and institutional precision of the scene in both Korea and Japan. In Malaysia’s case however, artists need to place a heavy focus on tradition or do something the government favors in order to acquire funding, making it difficult for more "progressive" artists to attain any support. Most people say that anyone who focuses on contemporary forms is going to be naturally more left-leaning. Because there’s no hope of receiving any public funding, contemporary artists are proud of being able to say that they can create something that audiences can truly enjoy, something they’re willing to pay for. However, I think it’s necessary to express the necessity for more government funding for the Borak Arts Series. I’m concerned, however, since the Malaysian scene uses Korea as a benchmarking standard. The creativity in Malaysia’s current scene, something that now drives itself, could go dry if the focus suddenly becomes the acquisition of public funds. As opposed to simply mimicking Korea or Japan, I think it’d be better to enhance communication with Malaysian audiences, so as to support a Malaysian brand of contemporary that doesn’t exclude their identity.

Lee Dong-min : In terms of a cooperative relationship, I think it’d be better to place more pressure on KAMS to offer support to JKNN. The artists I met through this connection were all worried about this aspect. If companies from Korea and Malaysia are to embark on a collaborative project, then would it be possible for Malaysian companies to receive financial support from Korea? Because there simply isn’t any public funding in Malaysia. In this regard, I think a country-to-country discussion is necessary on an administrative scale, so that each side provides a necessary and fair amount of financial support.

Host : I understand that JKNN uses its international networks to establish its programs, but does that mean they don’t offer any financial support?

Kim Eun-hee (KAMS) :
In that respect, JKNN isn’t very proactive. Projects that were too difficult to get off the ground with JKNN were brought to Malaysian companies or other private agencies. I think KAMS plays an important in conducting adequate research before planning begins for collaborative projects.

Host : In a previous talk, the director of KakArt Festival in Jakarta said that both the Asian market and Asian arts need to escape the currently dominant Eurocentric mindset, stressing the need to form a community that is distinctly Asian. The same thought came to mind during today’s talk. Even if we don’t immediately spawn collaborative projects between companies, it’d still be beneficial to begin establishing cooperative channels on an administrative and managerial level so as to build a base for continuous exchange.

 

ⓒConnection project



※ See more at:
- [Festivals/Markets] FRANCE NOW! Connection Salon Talk
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theApro <![CDATA[Growth of New Asia-Pacific Links and Force for Artistic Mobility]]> Growth of New Asia-Pacific Links and Force for Artistic Mobility
[Trend] Asian Producers’ Platform (APP)


The Asian Producers’ Platform (APP) is a new long-term public-private partnership initiative driven by The Steering Committee for The Producer (Korea) and the Arts Council of Korea; Open Network for Performing Arts Management (ON-PAM, Japan); Performing Arts Alliance (PAA, Taiwan) and Live Performance Australia (LPA), Performing Lines, Australia Council for the Arts (Australia). Its aim isto create a strong network of Asian producers who can work effectively across regions, sharing and developing artistic works, skills and cultural practices. This long-term collaboration of four nations will witness the rotation of an Asia Producers’ Platform Camp (APP Camp) among participants traveling to South Korea (2014), Taiwan (2015), Japan (2016) and Australia (2017).


The first edition of APP Camp was held from November 30th to December 6th, 2014, in Seoul. A group of 40 producers from the four host countries, as well as Singapore, Malaysia and China (including Shanghai, Hong Kong and Macau) attended this long-awaited gathering of producers, which was a mix of emerging and established producers of diverse cultural backgrounds and artistic disciplines (theatre, dance, music, new media, interdisciplinary). making for great discussions and idea-sharing during the Seoul camp. The event also facilitated potential collaboration among participants.

Discussion programme

Responding to the change of environment for performing arts

Previously, ten delegates from Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Australia discussed the role of producers in their respective country during the open forum of The Producer, a pilot meeting for the APP Camp which took place at Arco Arts Theatre (Seoul) in December 2013.

The discussion revealed similarities among the participants from four different countries. For instance, in Korea, Japan and Taiwan,, producers often take on the responsibility of every aspect of the production process, sometimes acting as manager, market planner, administrator, fundraiser, etc. It’s also very common for artists to take on the role of producer themselves, shedding light on the hierarchical nature of the performing arts management sector in Asia .

However, the world is confronting enormous changes. The ecology of the performing arts scene is influenced such changes, such as economics, cultural policy, audience development, changs in the creative process (production methods), international exchange, market developments, and globalization. In light of such changes, it is important to recognize the role of producers, to upgrade their abilities. Establishing trustworthy partnerships and creative collaborations between producers and artists will help us confront the instability ahead of us and the upcoming challenges in our field.

‘Producer’s Choice’ Group Research

New discussion of Asia

For a while now, Asia has set its focus (culturally, politically) on Europe and the U.S. This has deeply affected cultural policy in Asia, including the progress of the performing arts and international market development.

The idea behind the Asian Producers’ Platform is to redirect that attention back to our own soil. With participation from multiple countries in the APP, we hope to create a new channel for producers to communicate with each other, leading to better career development and international cooperation. At the APP Camp, participants have the opportunity to rethink their cultural roots and rediscover Asia’s diversity. Many ideas, concepts and experiences were shared during the camp. It was a great gateway to learn about the local art environment, a chance for the participants to better understand their own cultureand glimpse how it the contrasts with others. The experience gave everyone a surprising shock throughout the process. We begin to ask what is “Asia”? The Western world has addressed this numerous times, going so far as to say that Asia is the “center of the world” in recent years. However, what does that mean to us? What is going to change in the arts world of Asia? What will be our reaction to such changes? And what can we do to support our artists in spite of such changes?

Vibrant reflects through intercultural encounter

For seven days, 40 producers lived in traditional Korean houses, shared their life experiences with one another, discussed their research, and worked together on various topics every day. It was a rare chance for performing arts professionals to work in such intimate settings. Everyone was open-minded, cheerful, and generous. Although theAPP camp was designed to be a close meeting/workshop for 40 participates, it extends through individual participants into other creative circles in other countries, sparking a broader intercultural connection that goes beyond one’s cultural base. Some producers found inspiration in artists presented by other people in the the program and began further progress on their own creative development. All participants displayed promising connections, which will encourage more exchange between future Asia-Pacific performing arts networks, offering great connections and support for artistic mobility across countries.

As soon as Taiwanese delegates returned from the APP Camp, they joined a series of forums organized by the Performing Arts Alliance to discuss The Producer. They also partook in a sharing session of the Asian Producers’ Platform in Taipei. The feedback we got was confirmed our belief that the APP, as a new international network, is already a powerful influence in the Taiwanese performing arts sector. Both producers and artists have shown support for this international collaborative project, what they believe is a demonstration to change the environment of the arts in Taiwan.

Workshop : ‘EYES ON ASIA’ Closing Dinner

2015 Asian Producers’ Platform Camp in Taiwan

To continue strengthening the domestic professional network is also an important task for those who work in international exchange. Before Taiwan Camp 2015, the PAA is planning a series of pre-events, inviting a larger range of performance arts delegates to join the discussion on developing the market. Other than emphasizing the “local contest” of Taiwan’s arts and culture scenes, the main program of Taiwan camp will procure the idea of private-public partnership. Various performing arts venues, such as the National Performing Arts Center (including the National Theatre & Concert Hall, National Taichung Theatre and National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts) were invited in 2014. The opening of the Taiwan Xiqu Center (2015) and the Taipei Performing Arts Center (2016) will also create opportunities for intercultural collaborations headed by the APP network.

Asian Producers’ Platform is actually the center for a greater concentric network of performing arts. The platform not just connects international partners but also strengthens the connection between local professionals. The APP provides the opportunity for Asian producers to meet and communicate, to appreciate different cultures, and to inspire new ideas. The network is a great force to confront changes in the arts environment. At the same time, it is a medium through which to elevate intercultural creativity and work towards a world for performing arts that goes beyond Asia.



Asian Producers’ Platform Camp – Taiwan 2015 will take place from November 29th to December 5th in Taipei.



ⓒPo-Chieh CHEN

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theApro <![CDATA[Important Considerations in an Era of Cultural and Artistic Exchanges between Nations]]> Important Considerations in an Era of Cultural and Artistic Exchanges between Nations
[Trend] Goals for the Art Circle in 2015: The “International Exchange” Edition


The volume of export and international exchange involving Korean art is rising exponentially, thanks to the growing interest in the Korean Wave and a relatively firm public support. The quality of the Korean art has taken a leap forward as well, causing the traditionally European or Western-biased interest to begin shifting toward new areas: South America and the Middle East, as well as China and other Asian countries that were rather behind in cultural exchange.This high degree of fascination in a new area, however, cannot be attributed to changes in the global economic paradigm alone; it would be profoundly related to the nature of art that tends to pursue subjects that are “unfamiliar” and “new.”

The current period is often characterized as a time of ushering invigorous international exchanges of culture and art. As a member of an organization that seeks to vitalize these sorts of exchanges, I would like to comment on a number of things that should not be overlooked during this particular phase in our cultural history.

Encouraging Mobility of Artists and Those Involved in Art

It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of supporting for the mobility of artists and industry professionals—quite literally, in this case. Travel expenses such as airfare, the basic arrangement for an international exchange to take place,are the most commonform of grantdue to the tangible benefits these funds are able to have when compared totheir cost. The Arts Council Korea (ARKO)’s Support for Civil International Arts Exchange and KAMS’ Center Stage Korea are two examples where grants revolve around an applicant’s transportation costs.

The range of support for mobility has broadened, fortunately, and many organizations have recently partnered and begun contributing to a joint fund, organized through multilateral cooperation on national and organizational levels. On one hand, such cooperation reflects the abysmal economic climate, as a more unified actionlessens the amount of financial burden on applicants; in addition, it demonstrates a more solid commitment from funding bodies as far as offering support to revitalizethe exchanges that occur between artists and planners. In some countries, however, Korea included, it has been impossible to make this type of collaborative funding a reality due to restrictions on where award money could be used. A few years ago a Korea-Japan-Singapore “Asia Mobility Fund” was under way for the promotion of culture and arts, but the plan failed to materialize as Korea’s public funding was reserved for domestic participants.

Performance of NoreumMachi, one of the applicants, at the 2013 Paris Summer Festival as part ofKAMS’ Center Stage KoreaProject

▲ Performance of NoreumMachi, one of the applicants, at the 2013 Paris Summer Festival as part of KAMS’ Center Stage Korea Project

To overcome these hurdles, ideas are being developed to maintain each country’s usage restrictions while shaping the overall framework of the joint fund. This new system operates in a similar way that a large basket (which represents the joint fund) might hold marbles (funds from each country) of various colors (different rules and conditions). A marble of an appropriate color can be chosen to be used as a fund. Titled the “Mobility Funding Platform,” this method can help prevent reoccurrences of past failures. The joint fund is expected to materialize this year, and the Southern Europe/Asia/Arab geographical zone/Australia (SEAAA) Mobility Platform is one of funding sources that is scheduled to take effect as part of the launch. Europe’s Roberto Cimetta Fund will be responsible for executing the plan, drawing from its expertisein the activities of European and Middle Eastern artists, while the Asia-Europe Foundation will be sponsoring the project. Public and private organizations in Southern Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia—including Korea’s KAMS—will assist in raising funds.These combined efforts are hoped to facilitate the mobility of artists and industry professionals as they travel to events located across these regions.

Establishing a joint fund among Korea-China-Japan or between ASEAN-Korea is an action item for regional exchange currently being pushed forward by the Korean government. The aforementioned funding platform would be a useful reference point as Korea attempts to enact its own funding network. This is particularly crucial due to the country’s growing demand for diverse and multi-leveled support systems that guarantee unrestrained mobility for those involved in the arts circle.

Support That Ensures a Sustainable Exchange

A sustainable exchangeis essential to strengthen international exchangesand to lay the foundation for international cooperation. What must come prior to this stage, however, is an in-depth understanding of the partner, as well as a strong sense of need for this second party. Unfortunately, these two aspects are not enough; it is imperative that the system in question be able to sustain the partnership, whether it is through a sound network or a support for such a network. There are a variety of support systems—namely, (1) short-term or annual, (2) mid- to long- term or over the span of many years, or (3) divided into phases—that are known to contribute to sustainable exchanges. Collaboration in particular requires a considerable amount of labor, andits two most prominent forms are astep-by-step support and continuous assistance. Although still insufficient, continuous exchange was made possibleto some extentthrough long-term support that helped nurture the project from the research stage to execution. Examples of this process include ARKO’s Support for Mid-term International Exchange Plansprogram and KAMS’ Global Capacity Building Project for Performing Arts (also known as KAMS Connection), as well as KAMS’Project VIA for visual arts. Regardless of the source, it is clear that the level of support offered must expand and must challenge the barriers of the current system.In practice, this type of unconventional support would ideally encourage collaboration among organizations that distribute aid in stages, or would remain focused on the process rather than the result, because while the outcome is important, past experience suggests that superior results cannot come without significant effort. This is especially true when it comes to international exchange projects.

At the Korean research site of “Korea-Australia Connection” and “Korea-Malaysia Connection,” an initiative pushed forward in 2014 by KAMS under the idea of Global Capacity Building Project for Performance Arts

▲ At the Korean research site of “Korea-Australia Connection” and “Korea-Malaysia Connection,” an initiative pushed forward in 2014 by KAMS under the idea of Global Capacity Building Project for Performing Arts

▲Presented to the Netherlands’Mondriaan Foundation by KAMS as part of the 2013 Project VIA, the Orientation Trip was executed in 2014. In line with Korea’s Biennale Season, participants toured the facilities of various visual art-organizations,including both privateand nationalinstitutes,alternative spaces,and residential programs.

▲ Presented to the Netherlands’ Mondriaan Foundation by KAMS as part of the 2013 Project VIA, the Orientation Trip was executed in 2014. In line with Korea’s Biennale Season, participants toured the facilities of various visual art-organizations, including both private and national institutes, alternative spaces,and residential programs.

Encouraging Regional Exchanges

In the interest of diversifying the types of experiences participants can have through international exchange programs, it is crucial that more invigorating exchanges are arranged in communities outside the metropolitan areas. This is a practice that has frequently been carried out between the local governments of sister cities located in the same region, though the interchanges were mostly limited to the economic realm; moreover,cultural and artistic exchanges were only done for the sake of an event. In spite of this history, a positive regional partnership can promote exchange and yield better results because it allows participants to gain experience outside their native region. For instance, Busan utilizes its geographical and diplomatic proximity1 to Japan to coordinate exchanges with Japanese cities Tsushima, Shimonoseki, and Shizuoka. The Watagata Art Festival is another exchange program that sets Busan apart.
Another promoter of regional exchange is the Busan Cultural Foundation, which participates in Performing Arts Market Seoul (PAMS) annually to introduce its artists while actively partnering with foreign organizations to finance research. As a result, the foundation became part of Künstlerhaus Bethanian, a creative space in Berlin, Germany. By employing a strategic approach to their networking, the international exchanges emerging from these regions have managed tooutshine those of the capital areas. Their success offers concrete motivation for the initiation of a more aggressive promotion for regional exchanges.


1) In Joseon-era Korea (1392–1910), Busan’s southeastern coastal location played an important role in the country’s diplomatic ties with Japan, serving as a gateway for the central government’stongsinsaprogram (“Diplomatic Program to Japan”).

‘Regional Experts’: The Key to Boosting International Exchange

As is the case with many other areas, one of the challenges of stimulating international exchange is the deficiency of experts in the field. There are scores of experts in Eastern Europe and North America who have developed networks and knowledge resources in their regions based on lavish experiences, but this is not true for South America, East Asia, and Middle East, where exchange networks are less established. A deficiency of experts in the fields of culture and arts has contributed to a track record of fairly shallow exchanges, as has the dearth professionals with expertise in the language of the partnering country. Put simply, experts cannot be fostered overnight and a long-term plan is needed.

Just as a great travel guidebook cannot replace the experience of travel, the personal development cultivated through cultural exchange cannot be realized through sitting in a classroom or attending an online lecture. This is the exact rationale behind the call to increase on-site programs—for example, foreign internships or residency courses—adding to the significance of KAMS’ NEXT Expert Training Launched in 2013, the program involves sending experienced industry professionals to Korean Cultural Centersoverseas for between one or two years, allowing them to work in an environment that will help them improve their planning skills and build networks will broaden their expertise. Such experience will help the planner to not only gain an understanding of the industry practices of the local organization but to also acquire the skills to conduct and support practical business exchanges between Korea and their host country. In 2015, the project will expand to countries with top local cultural exchange organizations, with some organizations having already expressed interest in partnering with KAMS and mutually exchanging human resources.


ⓒKAMS




◈ International Exchanges that Deserve Attention in 2015–2016

Of all the news, the September launches of both the Asian Culture Complex in Gwangju, Korea, and the 2015–2016 Korea-France Year of Mutual Exchange in Paris, France, would certainly be the hot issues in the field of cultural and international exchange.Operating under the theme of “Cultural Window to the World,” the Asian Culture Complex will showcase diverse international programs that cover a wide range of contemporary Asian work including a remake of Philip Glass’opera “Einstein on the Beach,”along with many others. In addition to hosting the European Festival Association’s “Atelierfor Young Festival Managers,”the complex will also be used to holdsignificant international conferences and forums, improving its status as a hub forartists interested in the Asian region.
Some industry professionals mayrememberKAMS’ significant achievementsin year 2014: In addition to co-presenting with Sookmyung Women’s University at the International Conference on Cultural Policy Research (ICCPR), attendees at theHildesheim,Germany, event successfully lobbied to have Seoul host the 2016 conference. The city successfully fended off competition from powerful rivals such as Liverpool, U.K.,and marks the first time the event will be held in Asia.Scheduled for July 2016 at Sookmyung Women’s University, the conference is expected todraw many scholars and policy makers in the discipline of cultural policy, and is known to lead to wide spread advancements in the field.

A mid- to long-term plan for international culture exchange will be announced by the central government in June or July of this year. A study to support the plan’s design was first proposed by the Korea Culture and Tourism Institute in the second half of 2014 and is expected to be completed by the middle of 2015. This is the first proposal of its kind since 2004,at which pointa similar study was planned to examine the support offered for international cultural exchange. Though the decision to reinitiate the project may appear futile, the research’s relevance to the field means it warrants further consideration.

Compared to the frequent export of Korean musicals and nonverbal performances to the Chinese and Japanese markets, the debut of small-scale productions in other regions may appear insignificant. But 2015 will be a new era for Korean theater’s expansion overseas, starting with the company’s participation in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival during this coming August. This will be followed by a performance at a major theater in London in 2016, an especially exciting debut given England’s significance to the history of Western theater.
The production agency is yet to make an official announcement, thus the title of the piece and the location of the performance are still unavailable. Considering that Korean plays are particularly challenging to export due to the language barrier and the general financial constraints facing theater companies, the debut of a Korean playin a foreign country will be an excellent start; the response from foreign audiences will be particularly interesting.
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theApro <![CDATA[Crisis Is a Sign of Growth]]> Crisis Is a Sign of Growth
[Trend] Analysis of the Status of the 2013 Art Market


Scope of Research Period January 1, 2013–December 31, 2013
Research Period Target Period January 1, 2013–December 31, 2013
Fieldwork Period June 10, 2014–August 16, 2014
Research Targets Major Distribution Channels Galleries (432), auction companies (11), art fairs (35)
Public Domain Architectural installations, art banks, art museums (185)
Research Content The transaction of art pieces, financial condition, etc.
Research Methods Surveys, literature studies
Survey Host Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism
Survey Supervisor Korea Arts Management Service

A report conducted by the Korea Arts Management Service, the “2014 Survey of the Condition of the Art Market in 2013” consists of data on the operating conditions and transaction of pieces from 432 galleries—which are the essential distribution channels of the art market—as well as 11 auction companies, 35 art fairs, and 185 architectural art pieces, art banks and art museums. All institutions and organizations surveyed fall under the public domain, with each being analyzed and categorized in a fair and objective manner.

KRW 324.9 billion (Based on the Monetary Sum of Art Transactions): The Size of the Domestic Art Market in 2013
A 2.6 percent decrease in the size of the domestic art market compared to 2012

According to the results of a 2014 survey of the status of the art industry, in 2013 the size of the domestic art market was KRW 324.9 billion, with KRW 255.7 billion from pieces sold through the major distribution channels, and KRW 69.1 billion in pieces purchased in the public domain. When considering the KRW 604.4 billion in art sales that occurred in 2007, a peak year in the Korean art market, and 2008, when the market size decreased by 24.6 percent to KRW 455.9 billion, the 2013 figures represent a severe stagnation in the art market.

Division Transaction Sum (KRW million) Pieces Sold and Purchased (No. of Pieces) Circumstances of overlap (C)
Transaction Amount(A) Amount Overlapping with (C)(B) Total
(A-B)
Number of pieces(A) Overlapping Number(B) Total
(A-B)
Main Distribution Channels Galleries(432) 194,504 6,381 188,123 9,869 105 9,764 A. Excepting architectural art installation pieces sold
Auction Companies(11) 59,216 - 59,216 9,922 - 9,922 -
Art Fairs(35) 66,113 57,706 8,407 15,373 9,964 5,409 B. Excepting pieces sold at art fairs with gallery participation
Subtotal 319,833 64,087 255,746 35,164 10,069 25,095 -
Public Domain Architectural Installations 58,718 - 58,718 617 - 617 -
Art Bank 1,674 302 1,372 146 69 77 C. Excepting pieces purchased through the immediate purchase system (at art fairs)
Art Museums(182) 12,070 2,979 9,091 1,367 291 1,076 D. Excepting pieces purchased through galleries, auction companies, and art fairs
Subtotal 72,462 3,281 69,181 2,130 360 1,770 -
Transaction Volume 392,295 67,368 324,927 37,294 10,429 26,865 -

<Table 2> Estimated Transaction Volume of Art in the 2013 Domestic Art Market

▲<Figure 1> Changes in the Size of the Domestic Art Market 2007–2013

Major Distribution Channels:
The expansion of the low- and mid-range market, and the exclusive growth of the art fair

When examining the volume of transactions in 2013 among major distribution channels, the monetary sum of the transactions decreased compared to the volume of transactions(when examined alongside the 2012 data, the sum of transactions decreased by 20.5 percent, and the number of pieces sold increased by 28.4 percent). Together, these figures lead to the conclusion that, overall, sales of low- and mid- range pieces increased.

Division 2010(KRW million) 2011(KRW million) 2012(KRW million) 2013(KRW million) 2013 Increase/Decrease from previous year
Increase/Decrease in Sum(KRW million) Rate of Increase/Decrease(%)
Total (Sum) 451,578 420,992 402,431 319,833 -82,598 -20.5
Galleries (Average) 1,190.1 973.1 1,007.5 609.4 -398.1 -39.5
Auction Companies (Average) 4,882.9 5,588.4 6,559.5 5,383.3 -1,176.2 -17.9
Art Fairs (Average) 1,423.1 1,290.2 1,200.6 1,889.0 688.4 57.3

<Table 3> Yearly Increase in the Average Sum of Art Transactions

Division 2010(No. of Pieces) 2011(No. of Pieces) 2012(No. of Pieces) 2013(No. of Pieces) 2013 Increase/Decrease from Previous Year
Increase/Decrease(No. of Pieces) Rate of Increase/Decrease(%)
Total (Sum) 29,577 33,517 27,377 35,164 7,787 28.4
Galleries (Average) 47.4 49.8 31.1 30.9 -0.2 -0.6
Auction Companies (Average) 824.8 802.2 624.3 902.0 277.7 44.5
Art Fairs (Average) 176.3 197.8 307.8 439.2 131.4 42.7

<Table 4> Yearly Increase in the Average Number of Pieces Sold

In particular, while the monetary sum of art sales at the auction companies decreased by 17.9 percent compared to 2012, the number of pieces sold increased by 44.5 percent, with the sales volume of pieces less than KRW 60 million increasing from 93.8 percent of pieces sold in 2012 to 97.9 percent in 2013, signaling the expansion of the low- and mid-range market.

▲ <Figure 2> Estimated Transaction Volume of Art at Auction Companies, by Price (2012–2013) — According to Number of Pieces Sold
Note: Based on data from 13 auction companies in 2012 and 11 auction companies in 2013

Unlike other channels, the art fair market, which had thus far led the low- and mid-range market, showed exclusive growth in both the monetary sum of art sales and the volume of sales compared to 2012 (57.3 percent and 42.7 percent growth, respectively). The growth of the 16 gallery-participating art fairs, with two new fairs, is particularly striking, with the average price of each piece rising from KRW 2.2 billion in 2012 to KRW 3.6 billion, and the average number of pieces sold more than doubling from 294 to 622. This growth injected energy into the stagnant art market, and offset, if by a little, the overall downturn in the market.

Division Number of Cases Selling Price(KRW million) Pieces Sold(No. of Pieces)
Average Median Total Average Median Total
Total (Sum) (35) 1,889.0 559 66,113 439.2 199 15,373
Management System Gallery-participatig (16) 3,606.6 1,500 57,706 622.7 295 9,964
Artist-participating (19) 442.5 150 8,407 284.7 494 5,409

<Table 5> 2013 Art Fair Sales

The Public Domain
-Shrinking budgets lead to a decrease in the purchase of art

The decrease in the installation of architectural art pieces, and the shrinking budget of the national public museums led to a decrease in the public purchase of art, and to a downturn in the market overall. Only art banks showed an increase (11.0 percent, approximately KRW 100 million), but the scale of the architectural art installation market, which had been declining since 2010, fell to KRW 58.7 billion in 2013, following the decrease to KRW 62 billion in 2012. The shrinking budgets of art museums led to a decrease in the purchase of pieces, and despite the increase in the number of museums, the public domain showed a KRW 2.1 billion decrease from 2012 onward.

Division 2012(KRW million) 2013(KRW million) Rate of Increase/Decrease(%)
Government Funding for National and Public Art Museums 197,137 141,697 ▴28.1
Total Spent on Art at National and Public Art Museums 12,028 9,477 ▴21.2

<Table 6> Government Funding for National and Public Art Museums and the Estimated Sum Spent on Art (2012–2013)
Note: Based on data from 19 national and public art museums in 2012, and 21 in 2013

The Unchanging Polarization of the Market:
Performance slump at large-scale art galleries and auction companies affects the dwindling of the market

The top 10 galleries, making up 2.3 percent of 432 galleries, have a market share of 85.3 percent. The top two auction companies that make up 18.2 percent of 11 companies have a market share of 76.2 percent. And the top five art fairs, that make up 14.3 percent of 35 art fairs, have a 48.7 percent share of the market, revealing the unchanging polarization of the domestic art market. Although there was some change at the top in the gallery market, there were no major changes overall, and keeping this in mind one can see that the top-10 group performed poorly in a stagnant market and also played a role in the shrinking of the market overall.

▲ <Figure 4> Market Share of Top Groups in Major Distribution Channels According to the Monetary
Note: Galleries n = 432 / Auction companies n = 11 / Art fairs n = 35
  2012 2013
Division Volume of Art Sales(KRW million) Division Volume of Art Sales(KRW million)
Galleries Total 275,136 Total 194,504
Top 10 275,382 Top 10 165,851
Other 387 29,754 Other 422 28,653
Auction Companies Total 85,274 Total 59,216
Top 2 63,617 Top 2 45,106
Other 11 21,657 Other 9 14,110
Art Fairs Total 42,021 Total 66,113
Top 6 23,311 Top 5 32,180
Other 29 18,710 Other 30 33,933

<Table 7> Top Groups among the Main Distribution Channels, and Their Market Share (2012–2013)

The year 2013 was the most difficult year in recent memory for Korea’s domestic art market. The implementation of the capital gain tax and various social incidents happening in conjunction with an expanding lack of confidence in the art world, followed by the closure of galleries, whether temporary or permanent, as well as evacuations and consolidations in a market atmosphere of confusion, all characterized the start of the year. As such, the year ended without much hope of recovery. The growth of the low- and mid-range market, however, is definitely perceived to have had a significant influence on some of the changes seen in the market. A number of factors have contributed to the idea that, amid the unusual growth seen in 2013, the year saw the market structure adapt to one that was safer and more stable: the simultaneous appearance and energetic participation of a broad range of new and potential collectors, the increasingly active presence of a variety of artists beyond those who had once been overemphasized in the market, the increased participation of new artists (due to a widening of the actively traded market), and more. The year 2013 is seen as the year when the domestic art market began to fall back into normalcy, and against such a viewpoint I anticipate that the analyses of 2014 will reflect even further growth in the field.

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theApro <![CDATA[The World Art Market, from Recovery to Growth]]> The World Art Market, from Recovery to Growth
[Trend] Analysis of the Status of the 2013 Art Market:Overseas Edition


Survey Reference Point December 31, 2013
Target Period January 1, 2013–December 31, 2013
Subject The art market from a sales perspective (galleries, auction companies, art fairs)
Content The condition of the world art market, the overseas expansion of Korean art
Method Literature analysis


The “2014 Survey of the Overseas Art Market in 2013” was conducted to gain an understanding of the salability of art pieces and art market trends, carried out by collecting and analyzing statistical data on the world art market by nation, sale channel, period, and genre/medium. Moreover, to gain an understanding of the position of the Korean art market in the world art market, KAMS researchers analyzed the records of successful bids on pieces created by Korean artists at Christie’s Hong Kong auction, and instances of Korean galleries participating in overseas art fairs. Along with the aforementioned sample, the team also collected information on overseasart fairs over the course of a year and prepared a calendar of events to present to Korean art professionalswho might be interested in participating. Of all of the above, we excerpted "KeyTrends in the WorldArt Market" for presentation in TheApro.The reportwas prepared with particular reference to "The TEFAF Art Market Report 2014: The Global Art Market with a Focus on U.S. and China," which draws on data collected from 308,500 dealers, galleries, and auction housesregarding fineart and decorative art, and "Key Trends in the World Auction Market," a study exploring the auction bids on fine artfocus ofmarket researcher Artprice’s 2013art market report.

Key Issues in the 2013 World Art Market

The size of the world art market in 2013 was KRW 68.9 trillion, its highest sales performance since 2007. The main contributor to this heightened performance was the growth of the U.S. art market, the volume of which increased by 25 percent from 2012, and firmly established itself as the center of the world art market. China’s volume grewa modest 2 percentfrom the previous year, but in terms of size is viewed as the most influential art market for the future. With regard tosales among particular genres of art, postwar and contemporary pieces stood out, recording KRW 7.12 trillion (€4.9 billion) in sales and an 11 percentincrease compared to the previous year. Sales in this genre made up 46 percent of total auction transactions in 2013, with the number of pieces sold rising by 6 percent.

Among the distribution channels, online sales showed the most promise for potential development. In 2013 the volume of art sales made through online channels comprised 5 percent of the total art market (KRW 3.63 trillion, €2.5 billion), but yearly growth is predicted to be 25 percent, with sales expected to reach KRW 14.53 trillion (€10billion) by 2020.

The Size of the World Art Market in 2013

For the fiscal year of 2013, the size of the world art market was calculated asKRW 68.90 trillion won (€47.42billion), about KRW 6 trillion more than the previous year. This growth is attributed to the increaseof the U.S. and Chinese market share, with U.S. postwar and contemporary art leading the market. The U.S. recorded sales of KRW 26.18 trillion—KRW 6 trillion more compared to 2012—and a 38 percent share of the market. China trails by a significant margin, with sales of KRW 16.54 trillion, about KRW 1trillion more than the previous year, and auctions making up 65 percent of itstotal market. But whilethe U.S. and China showed progress, the art market in Europe continues to show signs of stagnation or decline. Throughout the entire global art market, the auction market grew by about KRW 2 trillion to take up 47 percent of the total market, similar market to the previous year.

The Size of the World Art Market
KRW 68.90 trillion / €47.42billion

By Nation By Distribution Channel
Region Market Share Total Distribution Channel Market Share Total
U.S. 38% KRW 26.18 trillion
€18.02 billion
Auction 47% KRW 32.69 trillion
€22.5 billion
China 24% KRW 16.54 trillion
€11.38 billion
Europe U.K. 20% KRW 13.78 trillion
€9.48 billion
France 6% KRW 4.13 trillion
€2.85 billion
Switzerland 2% KRW 1.38 trillion
€0.95 billion
Galleries, Dealers, Art Fairs, Online Channels, etc. 53% KRW 36.21 trillion
€24.92 billion
Italy 1% KRW 0.69 trillion
€0.47 billion
Germany 1% KRW 0.69 trillion
€0.47 billion
Austria 1% KRW 0.69 trillion
€0.47 billion
Sweden 1% KRW 0.69 trillion
€0.47 billion
Other 6%  

<Table 1> Art Sales by Nation and Distribution Channel (2013)
(Source: TEFAF Art Market Report 2014)

<Figure1>World Art Market Sales(2003–2013)(Source: TEFAF Art Market Report 2014

<Figure1>World Art Market Sales(2003–2013)(Source: TEFAF Art Market Report 2014)

<Figure2>World Art Market Transactions by Number (2003–2013) (Source:TEFAF Art Market Report 2014

<Figure2>World Art Market Transactions by Number (2003–2013) (Source:TEFAF Art Market Report 2014)

1) The data in <Figures 1, 2>addresses thesales of fineand decorative art through auctions, galleries and other art markets

The Size of the World Auction Market, by Nation, Genre/Medium, and Major Auction Companies

In 2013, the world auction market grew by 13.0 percent from the previous year to KRW 13.15 trillion, taking up 47 percent of the total art market.

<Figure3>Estimated Sales in the FineArt Auction Market (2004–2013) (Source:Artprice.com; Report: The Art Market in 2013)

<Figure3>Estimated Sales in the FineArt Auction Market (2004–2013)
(Source:Artprice.com; Report: The Art Market in 2013)

China recorded KRW 4.49 trillion (US$4.1 billion) in art sales and has been leading the world auction market for four years running, with the U.S. following closely behind with KRW 4.34 trillion (US$4.0 billion). The U.K., Europe’s leading auction market, recorded KRW 2.27 trillion (US$2.08 billion) in sales in 2013, but with the U.S. and China still far ahead, the European auction market remains stagnant.

Ranking Country Sales Market Share
1 China KRW 4.49 trillion (US$4.10billion) 34.1%
2

U.S.

KRW 4.34 trillion (US$4.00billion) 33.0%
3 U.K. KRW 2.27 trillion (US$2.08billion) 17.3%
4 France KRW 0.60 trillion (US$0.55billion) 4.6%
5 Germany KRW 0.23 trillion (US$0.21billion) 1.7%
6 Switzerland KRW 0.17 trillion (US$0.16billion) 1.3%
7 Italy KRW 0.12 trillion (US$0.11billion) 0.9%
8 Austria KRW 0.08 trillion (US$0.07billion) 0.6%
- Other KRW 0.85 trillion (US$0.72billion) 6.5%
  Total KRW 13.15 trillion (US$12.00billion) 100%

<Table 2> Auction Markets by Key NationAccording toSales Figures
(Source: Artprice.com 2013 Art Market Report)

When examining the auction market by genre/medium, the painting categorydisplayedthe greatest amount ofcommercial activity, with KRW 7.25 trillion (55.1 percent of the entire market) in paintings sales, followed by sculpture sales at KRW 1.00 trillion, then prints sales at KRW 0.29 trillion.

Ranking Country Sales Market Share
1 Painting KRW 7.25 trillion (US$6.62billion) 55.1%
2

Sculpture

KRW 1.00 trillion (US$0.91billion) 7.6%
3 Prints KRW 0.29 trillion (US$0.26billion) 2.2%
4 Photography KRW 0.17 trillion (US$0.15billion) 1.3%
5 Drawings and other KRW 4.44 trillion (US$4.06billion) 33.8%
6 Total KRW 13.15 trillion (US$12.0billion) 100%

<Table 3> The Auction Market by Genre/Medium According toSales Figures
(Source: Artprice.com 2013 Art Market Report)

When examining the market shares of the individual auction houses that currently lead the world market, major auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s each made up 29.5 percent and 25.8 percent of the total market, respectively.

Multiple Chinese auctions houses were rankedwithin the top 10 recorded a combined market share of 16.5 percent,such as Poly International Auction Co., Ltd.; China Guardian Auctions Co., Ltd.; Beijing Council International Auctions Co., Ltd., DuoYunXuan Auctions Co., Ltd., and Xiling Yinshe Auction Co., Ltd.

Ranking Country Sales Market Share
1 Christie’s KRW 3.88 trillion (US$3.54billion) 29.5%
2 Sotheby’s KRW 3.39 trillion (US$3.10billion) 25.8%
3 Poly International KRW 0.78 trillion (US$0.71billion) 5.9%
4 China Guardian KRW 0.68 trillion (US$0.62billion) 5.2%
5 Beijing Council KRW 0.42 trillion (US$0.38billion) 3.2%
6 Phillips KRW 0.28 trillion (US$0.25billion) 2.1%
7 Bonhams KRW 0.28 trillion (US$0.25billion) 1.6%
8 DuoYunXuan KRW 0.15 trillion (US$0.13billion) 1.1%
9 Xiling Yinshe KRW 0.15 trillion (US$0.13billion) 1.1%
- Other KRW 3.22 trillion (US$2.94billion) 24.5%
  Total KRW 13.15 trillion (US$12.00billion) 100%

<Table 4> The Auction Market by Key Auction House According toSales Figures
(Source: Artprice.com 2013 Art Market Report)

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theApro <![CDATA[New Artistic Activities Encompassing Form, Attitudes and Environment]]> New Artistic Activities Encompassing Form, Attitudes and Environment
[Trends] Festival/Tokyo Korean Edition, Korean Dawon Art(ダウォン芸術)


Festival/Tokyo 2014 was held from Nov. 1st to 30th at locations scattered throughout the Japanese capital: the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre, the city’s theaters and parks, and the Shinagawa district. The show included 15 installations, including Peter Brook’s festival opener <The Valley of Astonishment>, a video feature on Christoph Schlingensief, who passed away in 2010, four symposiums with the theme ’diversity in art’, and a ’Three-Night Talk Series’ with the theme ’Thinking about Performing Arts Management’. In addition to Brook’s piece, which featured Asian themes, an emphasis on continental Asia was particularly noticeable across the various foreign works featured in the festival, with contributions from Palestine, China, Myanmar and three from Korea.

Official poster for Festival/Tokyo 2014

Peter Brook’s <The Valley of Astonishment> the opening piece

Official poster for Festival/Tokyo 2014
 
Peter Brook’s <The Valley of Astonishment> the opening piece

Collaboration and Asia

Like the theme of the festival, ‘border play’, I wonder if the keywords that describe this festival, from the pieces to the symposiums, are not ‘collaboration’ and ‘Asia’. These themes were reflected in the five pieces Festival/Tokyo introduced as part of the festival program, each of which created by a diverse selection of artists. Collaboration between creators working in various fields is always a part of performance arts production, but unlike the established method of creators participating as one part in a production with a unified theme, this time the goal was to promote collaboration between independent creators. For example, in the performance of that I saw, Momoko Shiraga was behind the direction and choreography, Yuko Mori behind the stage design, and Yasuno Miyauchi behind the music. The show’s concept came together through each of the works individually, as well as through, clashes and encounters between them. There were artists who were new to performance pieces and artists who had taken on collaborative roles in past productions, but what was certain was that the production deviated from the established method of a single director controlling the entire show. If there was one regrettable aspect of this effort, it was that in this sort of collaboration, the producer’s role was more important than anything else. Art director Ichimura Sachio, who was previously the chair of the executive committee, was back for this year’s Festival/Tokyo, stressed the importance of collaboration for diversity in art, both in works created by many artists and those original pieces by individual creators. Further expanding upon this idea, he explains, "Diversity is not when 100 artists each showcase something different; it’s when 100 artists collide and, together, showcase something new."

Yet another noteworthy effort at Festival/Tokyo this year is the debut of the ‘Asia Series’. The Festival/Tokyo Asia Series begins from a perspective that differs slightly from the notion of ‘Asia’ that has recently been making waves in the performing arts world. More specifically, rather than present the impression of Asia that comes from a Eurocentric worldview, the Asia Series proposes an Asian identity built from more concrete and direct interaction with the continent’s culture and people. For example, if Toshiki Okada is introduced to us as a discovery from the European avant-garde scene, and if we’re being introduced to ‘Asia’ as observed by this Western-based patron, then Festival/Tokyo indicates an attempt to construct a more direct network. Following this year’s Korean edition, the Asia Series will cover Myanmar in 2015 and Malaysia in 2016, decisions that represent the considerable thought given to an a perspective of Asia that, up until recently, adhered to a more Eurocentric view . Furthermore, the Asia Series attempts legitimate collaboration instead of simply introducing each culture’s performances as distinct sections of the festival program. The close relationship between Festival/Tokyo and Festival Bo:m can also be attributed to the collaborative process. Festival Bo:m art director Lee Seung-hyo, who was involved with this year’s Asia Series as a programmer, pointed out that Festival/Tokyo’s Asia Series was "Japan in the process of being seen as a scene in Asia," and that the Korean edition was a search for a common foundation between Japan and Korea.

<The Rites of Spring> ⓒYohta Kataoka

Lim Jeeae’s <10 Years in 1 Minute>, part of the Asia Series ⓒKazuyuki Matsumoto

<The Rites of Spring> ⓒYohta Kataoka
 
Lim Jeeae’s <10 Years in 1 Minute>, part of the Asia Series ⓒKazuyuki Matsumoto

The Impossibility of Translating ‘Dawon Art(ダウォン芸術)’

The Korean edition, which made up the first part of the Asia Series, was curated under the theme of ‘Dawon art’, or pluralism in art, and included three pieces—<From the Sea> by Seo Hyun-suk, <The Conversations> by Creative VaQi, and <10 Years in 1 Minute> by Lim Jeeae—as well as a symposium titled "The State and Future Prospects of Korean Dawon Art." The uniquely Korean flavor of this year’s theme is reflected in the fact that the expression ‘Dawon art’ was not translated into Chinese or English in the festival’s program materials; instead, the word was phonetically written out in Japanese(ダウォン芸術). The programmer of the Korean edition, Lee Seung-hyo, said, "As much as the performance pieces themselves, the decision to not translate ‘Dawon art’ and instead introduce it as a unique concept was just as significant a part of this year’s program." The plan for the symposium was to present, with greater focus, the concept of Korean Dawon Art.

Seo Hyun-suk’s <From the Sea>, part of the Asia Series

‘Creative VaQi’s <The Conversations>, part of the Asia Series ⓒTsukasa Aoki

Seo Hyun-suk’s <From the Sea>, part of the Asia Series
 
‘Creative VaQi’s <The Conversations>, part of the Asia Series ⓒTsukasa Aoki

The symposium took place on Nov. 16 at 5 p.m., the closing day of the three performance pieces, in the atelier of the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space where the Creative VaQi and Lim Jeeae pieces had been shown. Korea edition programmer and Festival Bo:m art director Lee, critic Bang Hye-jin, and I were responsible for presenting. First, Lee discussed the development of Dawon art and introduced Festival Bo:m as a major showcase for Dawon art. His explanation focused on the fact that Korean Dawon art began with policy support for new artistic activities, and with the establishment of a Dawon art scene, works that had no place were given a legitimate cultural space. For example, Song Hojun’s <OSSI Electronic Parts Rap> avoided featuring its namesake satellite—that is, the satellite that Song Hojun launched privately—and instead profiled the societal reactions to his launch. On one hand, Song’s piece exemplified Dawon art in that it focused on process rather than result; on the other hand it also illuminated the aspect of Dawon art that provokes new questions about what constitutes art.

I approached Dawon art from the perspective of art policy, focusing on the activities of Arts Council Korea’s Dawon Arts Subcommittee. This involved describing the historical context of how both organizations came to be, from the increased activity in non-mainstream genres taking place around festivals in the 2000s to the new sensibilities and artistic activities of a new generation. Spanning a wide expanse of cultural ground, the activities in question include events such as the Seoul Fringe Festival and its more independent counterparts, the transformation of the Korea Culture and Arts Promotion Act to the privately run Arts Country Korea, and a social atmosphere that called for a change to the inflexibility of art policy at the time. I also focused my presentation on the debate surrounding arts support policies and how they could adapt to the new types of artistic activity being attempted by the Dawon Arts Subcommittee.

As an art critic, Bang discussed the artistic activities currently in the spotlight in the Dawon art scene, exploring the significance and possibilities of Dawon art from the perspective of this era’s art. His analysis also addressed how the post-genre/multi-genre climate and artistic activity emphasizes the process rather than the result, relating this phenomenon to contemporary art and the characteristics of pieces from this specific generation.

A diverse audience participated in the symposium. Audience members who had seen the Korean edition performances, critics, performing arts industry professionals, journalists, arts management professionals, and workers from various support organizations demonstrated their interest in Korean Dawon art during the question and answer session that followed the presentations. One participant asked how such varied pieces with contrasting visions could all fall under the common category of "Dawon" art, while a festival professional asked what sort of crowds a Dawon art–focused festival such as Festival Bo:m might draw. There were also detailed questions on Dawon art support policies, such as queries on whether public interest could result in the funding of arts policies that focus on a younger generation alienated from established mainstream art, non-mainstream genres, and new artistic activities, or how pieces were evaluated in a support program that focused on processes rather than results.

2014 Festival Tokyo Symposium

Theater critic Kim So-yeon, who participated in the symposium as a panelist

2014 Festival Tokyo Symposium
 
Theater critic Kim So-yeon, who participated in the symposium as a panelist

As the presentations of the three panelists continued, it became subtly apparent that there wasn’t complete accord between the three on the understanding and definition of Dawon art. These differences were emphasized in the presentations themselves, and the impossibility of reaching an agreement, or even a partial agreement, was touted as one of the features of Dawon art. The differences in understanding and perspective among the three presenters were also apparent during the question and answer session. For example, when Lee was asked about the Dawon-like characteristics of the three pieces introduced as part of the Korean Edition, the director answered with an emphasis on how each of the pieces demonstrated a certain attitude toward art, rather than discussing any formal commonalities shared by all three pieces. Bang, by contrast, spoke of artist Seo Hyun-suk, with his roots in visual arts, and Creative VaQi, with its foundation in theater, and their parallel qualities with in the context of the mainstream art scene.

Given that Korean Dawon art has been introduced to the Japanese art world intermittently since 2010, this year’s Korean edition at Festival/Tokyo was a movement that, despite its small scale, was relatively organized in its introduction of discourses and works compared to the past. In particular, Lee’s efforts as programmer to introduce Dawon art not as a specific artistic form or tendency but rather from a multifaceted perspective that encompassed the pieces, activities, attitudes, environment and policy were successful to a certain extent. The audience interest in Dawon art as a whole that was demonstrated at both performances and question and answer sessions is different from the artist-focused response shown toward individual artists or performances, translating as an increased interest in each piece’s specific social context and overall artistic environment. Beyond the concept of Dawon art, there was also a great deal of interest in the three pieces themselves, and in regard to the individual works, none were so abstract that communication was outright impossible, even from the perspective of established genre practices. The criticism, too, showed that Dawon pieces could fit in with the approach of established genres such as theater and dance. Seo’s and Creative VaQi’s <The Conversations> were accepted as plays, and Lim’s <10 Years in 1 Minute> was enjoyed as a dance piece. But with Dawon art brought into the spotlight as a theme, I felt as though we all gave more attention to the ‘attitudes’ demonstrated in each of the pieces.

Regarding the decision to forego translation of ‘Dawon art(ダウォン芸術)’, the cooperation of the Japanese audience and performing arts industry professionals can likely be explained by the fact that Dawon art was probably accepted as a concept tied to Korean society and the context of Korean art. At Festival/Tokyo I was also able to confirm that the emphasis put on that context was also one of the reasons why the Japanese art world found itself drawn to Korean Dawon art. When considering that, in the Korean art world, debate on Dawon art remains at a standstill, the Japanese response is both contrasting and intriguing. As to whether this outside debate can reignite the conversation on Dawon art within the Korean art world, as I witnessed the Dawon art in the Korean Edition of Festival/Tokyo,only time will tell.

ⓒFestival Tokyo Website


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theApro <![CDATA[How are performing arts produced and distributed in North Korea?]]> How are performing arts produced and distributed in North Korea?
[Trends] North Korean performing arts and North-South exchange


North Korean performing arts groups and production conditions

The North Korean performing arts scene encompasses numerous multi-genre, sizable projects, including large-scale group gymnastics, performance art and multi-faceted shows that comprise multiple genres such as opera, theater, dance, music, puppet theater, and popular music, with all forms combining art, music, and dance. Most of the performances fall under the jurisdiction of approximately 20 centralized troupes and about 10 regional troupes. (Korea Culture and Tourism Institute, 2010) The centralized ones, including the Mansudae Art Troup, Pibada Opera Troupe, State National Art Troupe, National Theater Troupe, Pyongyang Puppet Theater Troupe, State Symphony Orchestra of the DPRK, National Circus Troupe, Film and Broadcast Music Group, Korean People’s Army Ensemble, and Korean People’s Army Ground Force Ensemble—each have an exclusive venue in Pyongyang. Regional troupes such as the Hamgyeongnam-do Art Troupe and Kaesong City Art Troupe also have exclusive regional venues that serve as their base. (Korea Culture and Tourism Institute, 2011) For example, the all-female musical group the Moranbong Band, which emerged with the rise of Kim Jong-un, has sparked a certain craze for popular music.

Moranbong Band performance ⓒ Rodong Sinmun screenshot

Opening scene of <Sanullim>(2010), a light comedy ⓒ Tongil Sinbo screenshot

Moranbong Band performance ⓒ Rodong Sinmun screenshot Opening scene of <Sanullim>(2010), a light comedy ⓒ Tongil Sinbo screenshot

North Korean performance troupes, however, have a distinctly state-controlled character, and are enabled through government organizations controlled entirely by the state. There are no private performance troupes, and therefore there is no "performance market" as there is in South Korea. This is perhaps inevitable, given that the overall nature of North Korea’s performing arts world prohibits the free movement of individuals or troupes, from production all the way to audience reception . Thus, concepts that have begun to find a place in South Korea, such as theater management or arts management, do not exist in North Korea. (Lee Seung-yeop, 2001)

Regardless, the performing arts are recognized as an important national asset in North Korea, and through the active support of the state, production and distribution are thriving. Performances such as the Moranbong Band’s Pyongyang concert of April 2014, held at the 4.25 Cultural Hall, or the nationwide tours of the comedy show <Sanullim>(2010) and the play <Remember Today>(2011) by the National Theater Troupe are all examples of how, through active publicity campaigns and marketing to tourists, such shows managed to provoke an "audience craze." For example, the comedy show <Sanullim>, attracted audiences totaling 210,000 for 180 shows in 2010 alone, and for its 500th show in December 2012, it set a record with 400,000. (Choson Sinbo, 2012) This was possible because Kim Jong-il, Chairman of the National Defense Commission, saw the show a whopping four times, thus enabling the aforementioned record. Of course, in North Korea, the production and distribution of the performing arts happens under strict guidance and regulation. Thus, an "audience craze" in North Korea is characteristically very different from the commercial success we have in South Korea. North Korea’s performance art is regulated throughout the entire process, from creation to consumption and thus can be categorized as a political activity.

The creation of performance pieces and the process of putting them on stage

North Korean performance art goes through the following process: the piece is written, and under the director’s direction, actors perform their respective roles to complete it. What’s worth nothing, however, is that production and distribution happen separately. Production happens within the troupe itself and in the venue, while distribution occurs separately through an organization called the National Arts Performance Operations Agency Considered in the context of the film industry, it’s a structure where there are multiple production companies, but there is a monopoly on distribution―one organization handling everything.

In the North Korean performing arts, not only are production and distribution kept strictly separate, but the creative and production processes are also divided. In theater, for example, the writer takes care of writing the actual script first, and the directors and staff take the completed play for the staging process. This kind of "drama-centered" approach is also apparent in the structure of 「About the Art of Theater」(1988), written by Kim Jong-il, where Chapter 2, "Theater Art," is followed by Chapter 3, "The Form of a Theater Stage." (Park Yeong-jeong, 2007) After the creative process, with the written piece serving as a foundation, production is brought to the stage, and the process of creating a performance production is complete.

2012년 중앙예술보급사가 국가예술공연운영국으로 개명 ⓒ조선중앙텔레비전 캡처

It was in such a way that ta "principle of precedence” in creativity was institutionalized in the North Korean performance arts scene through a process of deliberation and structural review in the early 1970s. In February 1971, under orders from Kim Jong-il, the National Board for the Review of Performance Pieces was established within the culture ministry, and from then on North Korean movies and theater pieces all had to undergo inspection by the board to be eligible for production.(Moonye Publishing, 1989) The ultimate goal of establishing and running this national board is to ensure that the creative process properly aligns with the policies and directions of the state. In its method, the board isn’t simply playing the part of the jury with a stamp of approval. Rather, under the name of "collective wisdom," the regulations enable the board to actively intervene in the creative process of the artist. Ultimately, what this signifies is centralization, confirming that the establishment and operation of the National Board for the Review of Performance Pieces enables the Party to regulate, through policy, North Korean performance arts.

When a piece is selected for the stage, the piece is then prepared by every art troupe, with directors leading the process, at a rapid pace. Because most troupes have their own venue, which usually runs like a production theater and has the architectural ability to fit a number of genres, one can imagine how it’s possible to race through the process of adapting the piece for the stage. Besides the pieces of special individual troupes, such as foreign troupes invited to North Korea, or outbound performances of North Korean troupes, everything is under the jurisdiction of the Korean People’s Arts Exchange Society(President Dong Gyeong-su). Large-scale gymnastics exercises or special performances such as <Arirang> fall under the authority of a separate organization called the Arirang National Preparatory Board (Managing Director, Kim Geum-ryong).

The distribution of performance pieces and audience structure

While the performance pieces are written and prepared for the stage at the respective venue of an individual art troupe, a separate organization takes care of publicity and marketing. Even up until the early 1970s, production and distribution in the performing arts in North Korea, much like South Korea, happened at the level of individual troupes and venues. But since the establishment of the Central Art Propagation Organization by Kim Jong-il in November 1972, this organization has been responsible for marketing and ticket sales.. In June 2012, Kim Jong-il renamed the Central Art Propagation Organization the National Arts Performance Operations Agency, thereby raising the status of the organization (Korean Central Television, 2012). In North Korea, the distribution of performances happens under Juche thought (North Korea’s ideology of “self-reliance”)and the comprehensive regulation of the state. The organization that corresponds to the National Board for the Review of Performance Pieces in the area of content creation can be said to be the National Arts Performance Operations Agency.

2012, The Central Art Propagation Organization is renamed the National Arts Performance Operations Agency ⓒ Korean Central Television screen capture

2012, The Central Art Propagation Organization is renamed the National Arts Performance Operations Agency ⓒ Korean Central Television screen capture

2012, The Central Art Propagation Organization is renamed the National Arts Performance Operations Agency ⓒ Korean Central Television screen capture

The National Arts Performance Operations Agency is responsible not just for the programming at the various venues, performance publicity , and ticket sales, but also for managing data related to the performance. The Programming Department in the Agency collaborates with central and regional art troupes to create daily, weekly, and monthly schedules for policy implementation. In other words, the agency oversees even venues’ individual programming. Performances are advertised through posters, newspapers, and broadcasting, but because the performances lack a competitive market or a truly commercial nature, advertisements mostly serve the purpose of conveying basic information about the performance.

The Area Distribution Center in the National Arts Performance Operations Agency is responsible for ticket sales. There are distribution centers all over the country, with about 10 locations in Pyongyang, including Junggu, Dongdaewon, Seoseong, Seongyo, Pyeongcheon, Moranbong, Botonggang, Mangyeongdae, and Nakranggu. Thus, because North Korean performance venues don’t have their own ticket booths, without a ticket for admission purchased in advance, attempting to purchase on the spot might mean that you will not be able to see the show. In this way, whether the performance is free or has an admission fee, because tickets are sold in advance by the Central Art Propagation Organization, when it’s time for a performance, audience members rush in as though mobilized in a group, and seats fill up. The tickets, as befitting a socialist society, are mostly sold in batches to large groups (a way to mobilize audiences), but there are also individual sales. Recent "popular" performances such as the Moranbong Band live concerts provoked intense competition for tickets, and the percentage of individual sales is surmised to have been considerably large (Rodong Sinmun, March 25–27, 2014). The National Arts Performance Operation Agency is also responsible for designing and printing the tickets as well as the "performance list" (a leaflet with information about the performance).

The task of managing performance-related data consists of collecting, recording, storing and managing scripts, musical scores, dance performance records and stage art. Moreover, the National Arts Performance Operations Agency also preserves and manages the pamphlets used for a performance, major costume pieces, and accessories. Performance data stored at the National Arts Performance Operations Agency’s archives is reported to have played a major role in recent reincarnations of pieces from the 1950s and 1960s, such as the Pibada Operate Troupe’s opera <Hongrumong> and the National Theater Troupe’s comedy <Sanullim>. (Korea Central Television, 2012)

Performance scripts archived at the National Arts Performance Operations Agency ⓒ Korea Central Television screen capture

Script of opera <Hongrumong> ⓒ Korea Central Television screen capture

Performance scripts archived at the National Arts Performance Operations Agency ⓒ Korea Central Television screen capture Script of opera <Hongrumong> ⓒ Korea Central Television screen capture
 

Performance leaflets archived at the National Arts Performance Operations Agency

Performance leaflets archived at the costume preservation room (Right) ⓒKorea Central Television screen capture

Performance leaflets archived at the National Arts Performance Operations Agency (left) and the costume preservation room (Right) ⓒKorea Central Television screen capture

Taking the above into consideration, it’s possible to claim that in North Korea, the production and distribution of performance art happens under a comprehensive national system. If individual troupes are responsible for the creation of apiece and its direction on stage, the National Arts Performance Operations Agency is responsible for compiling the program, for marketing ticket sales and distribution, and for the management of all related material and data. The responsibilities of the National Arts Performance Operations Agency can be said to cover the functions of both the performance planning agencies and art data centers of South Korea. This comprehensive system enables "focused support" for pieces that have already been selected (a North Korean-style selection and focus), and makes it easy for the state to manage the performance arts, but at the price of sacrificing the creative variety of individual troupes. It is therefore reasonable to claim that the system is fundamentally limited.

ⓒPark Yeong-jeong





◈ References

- 「The 500th showing of light comedy <Sanullim> with about 400,000 audience members」 (Choson Sinbo, October 5, 2012)
- 「Capital Pyongyang prospers through the audience craze over Moranbong Band shows」 (Rodong Sinmun, March 25, 2014)
- 「Moranbong Band shows successful day by day, with audience craze intensifying」 (Rodong Sinmun, March 27, 2014]
- Moonye Publishing, 『The Genius of Art 14-The Enlightenment of Art』 (Pyongyang: Moonye Publishing, 1989)
- Park Yeong-jeong, 『Survey and Analysis of North Korean Theater/Drama』 (Seoul: Theater and Humanity, 2007)
- Broadcasting program, 「The Immortal Leadership Embedded in Our System of Arts Distribution: National Arts Performance Operations Agency」 (Korea Central Television, November 7, 2012)
- Lee Seung-yeop, 『Theater Management and Performance Production』, (Seoul: Yeoksanet , 2001)
- Korea Culture and Tourism Institute, 『Comprehensive Survey of North Korean Culture and Physical Training Facilities』, (Seoul: Korea Culture and Tourism Institute, 2010)
- Korea Culture and Tourism Institute, 『Comprehensive Survey of North Korean Art Troupes』, (Seoul: Korea Culture and Tourism Institute, 2011)
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theApro <![CDATA[A snapshot of the Czech Crash]]> A snapshot of the Czech Crash
[Trends] Review of SYMPOZIUM CZECH CRASH 2014


October 2014 was a very busy month in Europe with some festivals and networks’ meetings happening almost at the same time: the Trans Europe Halles’ 78th Meeting in Pilsen(Czech Republic), the IETM Autumn Plenary Meeting in Sofia(Bulgaria), the Culture Action Europe Conference in New Castle(United Kingdom) and the International Symposium on Festival’s curating part of the 4+4 Days in Motion Festival in Prague(Czech Republic), which is the focus of the present article.

Four Days is a non-profit, non-governmental association which since 1996 has implemented the international theatre festival(4+4 dny v pohybu) and also coordinated a great number of Four Days is part of the IN SITU network, the European network for artistic creation in public space. The programme of the two-day symposium “Czech Crash”, as part of the 4+4 Days in Motion Festival last October, attracted an interesting range of European and international professionals. The packed meeting proposed a number of discussions ranging from the definition of “curators” and “programmers” to the questions of identification of young and promising talents, or the multiple missions of festivals; what follows is a selection of topics that gives a glimpse of the contents of the presentations and exchanges.

Symposium Czech Crash 2014 poster

4+4 dny v pohybu 2014 poster

Symposium Czech Crash 2014 poster 4+4 dny v pohybu 2014 poster

Curators vs Programmers vs …?

The term “curators” comes from the visual art sector and has been introduced in the performing arts field since the 1980s. It contributes somehow to reposition the programming process in terms of time and space, particularly through the elements of performativity and a more collaborative/participative approach adopted progressively by part of the sector. As Florian Malzacher(Impulse Theatre Festival - Germany) mentions in his introduction talk, with the inclusion of the term of curatorship in the performing arts sector, there has been a shift to consider the art work in relation to other aspects of the performance than the production in itself. This requires from the curator a set of professional skills in order to combine elements that were not connected before, in particular in the case of site-specific works. This implies as well another intellectual dynamic that is different from the visual arts sector, where more direct information can be provided to the visitors or the audience. The question of the creation of conditions was then particularly highlighted by Silvia Bottiroli(Santarcangelo di Teatri - Italy): “Curators create conditions of what does not exist yet. It can be a work of art or a practice (…) Curators believe in miracles … which happen only to those who are committed to see them”.

The following discussions between the participants showed that some professionals prefer to use terms like curator or programmer, or even other titles such as art directors, to introduce themselves. It all depends on the specific contexts in which they operate, all the more since some notions do not even exist in some languages - like the term “programmer” which does not exist in the Hungarian language. “Dramaturg” is finally the notion preferred by Sodja Lotker(Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space - Czech Republic) as the term implies very much the idea to help the artists grow and expand.

East and West, the twain has met but…

Interestingly enough (or luckily enough?) one of the topics of the first session “Trends and aesthetics in the performing arts sector: stereotypes of Eastern, Central and Western Europe’s performing arts” was not directly approached as such by the speakers. The discussion among the panellists was more about the inter-related questions of innovation and creativity. There is a general impression that creativity must be in all aspects that surround our life. Artists and creators are therefore increasingly put under pressure, while this notion has become a mainstream and commercial one. This consequently devalues the term of creativity and leads for example to the fact that there have been less in-depth discussion and writing on the artistic works themselves. Janez Janša(Maska - Slovenia) raises this point through his double question: “How do you translate something which happens in the real life into an object that becomes a part of entertainment or cultural industries? How to operate as an artist in conditions which are already artistic?”

To a great extent, creative economy is going against an artists’ driven type of economy. Furthermore, despite budget constraints, many policy-makers and funders seem willing to invest more in infrastructures - “hardware” - than in nurturing spaces for expression, and this is hard for directors and programmers, creators of “software”.

Czech Crash 2014 ©Katarína Križanovič

Panel session on Festival beyond presentation (with Katrien Verwilt, KIT Festival – Member of the IN SITU network) ©Katarína Križanovič

Czech Crash 2014 ©Katarína Križanovič
 
 
Panel session on Festival beyond presentation (with Katrien Verwilt, KIT Festival – Member of the IN SITU network) ©Katarína Križanovič

Audience vs Participation: please have a “moving” seat!

Audience or public engagement and/or participation are nowadays trendy terms, very much used and referred to in funding guidelines, for instance those of the EU Creative Europe Programme. This emphasis on funding criteria should not however hide some very interesting projects and initiatives such as the EU-funded project Create to Connect that, among others, deals with the relations between the “international artists” and the local communities/audience they interact with.

The exchanges focused very much around the space of expressions left to the audience or the public (the latter term being used more for creation in public space). It seems that if people shape their own performances, they do not only add value to their own lives but also to the performing arts sector as a whole. However as Rainer Hofmann(Spring Performing Arts Festival – The Netherlands) highlighted it: “Who says that people don’t participate when they sit on their chairs? Moving your bodies is not automatically moving your minds!” Indeed participation projects require a strong strategic and managerial aspect, and it seems therefore highly important to include the audience or the public in the decision-making process and the development of the project. This was stressed in particular by representatives of festivals and events focused on creation in public space, like the KIT Festival in Copenhagen(Denmark): “We talk about public and not audience, and we want people to feel engaged in the process” (Katrien Verwilt).

Festival: Ask for the programme(s)

Beyond the productions and the works proposed to the public, festivals definitely include a diverse range of programmes and activities of educational, social and environmental kind. Such additional programmes can have various formats: workshops, training, residencies or gatherings for change like the WAKE UP, Assembly for a different Europe in the 2013 edition of the Spielart Festival in Munich. Here the panellists also discussed about the increasing number of festivals doing talents’ development programmes as a new way to attract funding, as well as about the blurred lines between the roles and responsibilities of producers and/or festival programmers.

Audience snapshot ©Katarína Križanovič

Czech Crash 2014 ©Katarína Križanovič

Audience snapshot ©Katarína Križanovič Czech Crash 2014 ©Katarína Križanovič

What’s next?

What about the impact of the process once the Festival is over? Especially when you work with local communities and/or people representing minority groups or refugees? The answer provided by several festivals and venues (including the very interesting Archa Theatre and Johan Centrum – Czech Republic), is that you have of course a sense of responsibility for these people and that the relationship you have built shall not stop with the end of the event. It is crucial to know the people you are going to work with, all the more since people from certain local communities or groups feel “tired” of creative works “coming to them” without any return, long-term impact or connection between the different projects they may experience.

As it often happens in such meetings, the Czech Crash raised more questions than the answers provided, which somehow is a very healthy way to initiate and develop a conversation on festivals’ curating. According to the organisers, only a limited number of Czech artists, professionals and organisations attended this symposium, despite the much effort done to invite a local audience; however the limited participation and engagement of local professionals in international seminars in a particular venue is a common scenario. Anyway, Prague passed its crash test and we shall continue to nurture miracles – and be willing to see them!

- Edited by Elena Di Federico, IETM

ⓒctyri dny/Four Days Website

 

 

Marie Le Sourd’ travel and accommodation were supported by the Institut Français of Prague


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theApro <![CDATA[2012 Korean Performing Arts Conditions Survey]]> Domestic Performing Arts Market Showing Sustained Growth
[Trend] 2012 Korean Performing Arts Conditions Survey


The Performing Arts Conditions Survey was first conducted in 2005 to capture the conditions of the performing arts industry in Korea. After receiving official approval (License No. 11315) from Statistics Korea in 2007, the survey has been conducted yearly.

[Survey Overview]

Survey Target |
-Performing Arts Facilities: 944 (last valid responses: 443/complete + sample)
-Performing Arts Groups: 2,108 (last valid responses: 814/complete + sample)

Survey Content |
-Performing Arts Administrative Organizations: General status, status of performing arts budgets, status of regional performing arts festivals, etc.
-Performing Arts Facilities and Groups: Basic status, status of personnel, financial status, performance records, etc.

Survey Period | Performing arts facilities (yearly), performing arts administrative organizations and performing arts groups (every other odd year)

Survey Method | Interview method and documentary survey

Sample Extraction Method | Multi-stage systematic sampling

Sampling Error |
-Performing Arts Facilities: 95% margin of error, ±4.5%
-Performing Arts Groups: 95% margin of error, ±3.1%

Survey Reference Point | December 31, 2012

Survey Target Period | January 1, 2012–December 31, 2012

Actual Survey Period |
-Performing Arts Facilities: July 15, 2013–August 30, 2013
-Performing Arts Groups: July 29, 2013–September 30, 2013

The 2013 Performing Arts Conditions Survey includes the results of survey and analysis into the yearly performance records, financial status, and personnel status of the following targets: the "performing arts groups" responsible for the creation (production) of performing arts pieces, the "performing arts facilities" responsible for the distribution (mediation) of performing arts pieces, and the "performing arts administrative organizations" responsible for funding and support.

The Performing Arts Conditions Survey categorizes performing arts facilities by their unique characteristics, with government facilities, art halls and other public facilities categorized as public facilities and Daehakro and other (non-Daehakro) private facilities categorized as private. The survey categorizes performing arts groups by the unique characteristics of the group into public groups, including the national, public (regional) and public (local) groups, and private groups, including private production companies and private groups.

The size of the 2012 performing arts market was 713 billion won, a 30% increase from 2010

The size of the performing arts market in 2012 was 713 billion won, showing a 30% increase from 2010. The Performing Arts Conditions Survey calculates the size of the performing arts market by combining the sales from performing arts facilities and performing arts groups.1) This method encompasses more of the market than calculations based on ticket sales, which focus on the distribution aspect of the market.

Survey results put the number of performing arts facilities in 2012 at 944 (an 8.8% increase compared to the previous year) and the number of performing arts venues at 1,188 (an 8.7% year-on-year increase). The number of workers at performing arts facilities was 11,224, 11.8% more than the previous year, and the total recorded sales was 377.2 billion won, a 19.1% increase compared to the previous year. The increase in sales was attributed to the improved performance in large-scale theaters that only stage musicals, which were fully running by the latter half of 2011.

Examining the market share of each type of performing arts facility, private facilities (excluding Daehakro facilities) recorded a higher proportion of sales in proportion to their number than other facilities (taking about a 50% share of the total sales at performing arts facilities).


1) Sales from performing arts facilities include internal sources of income (income from admission fees, facility rentals, other performing arts projects, and other business projects) and other sources of income (parking fees, rental fees, interest etc.), and sales from performing arts groups include internal sources of income (sale of performance arts pieces, ticket sales, acting fees including invitation fees, other performing arts projects, and other business projects) and other sources of income (parking fees, rental fees, interest, etc.)

[Figure 1] Market share by performing arts facilities

[Table 1] Market share by performing arts facilities

The number of performing arts groups decreased by 4.8% from 2010 to 2,108, but the number of workers in the industry increased by 7.8% from 2010 to 50,847. Sales totaled 335.9 billion won (a 51.4% increase from 2010), and private production companies mainly dealing in theater (including musicals) took the largest share of 53.3%. Examining performing arts groups by characteristic, the private performing arts groups account for 78.3% of the total number of groups. They also take a larger share of the total sales at 57.7%.

[Figure 2] Market share of performing arts groups

[Table 2] Market share of performing arts groups

2012 Management Conditions of Performing Arts Facilities: 43,618 performance arts pieces, 173,022 performances, and 35,318,633 audience members.

-The number of performance pieces by genre was ordered as follows: Western music, multi-genre, and theater. The number of audience members by genre was ordered as follows: musical, theater, and multi-genre.
-Of the total 1.363 trillion in income, public funding made up 56.6%, and internal income made up 30.7%.

The performance record for performing arts facilities in 2012 added up to 43,618 performance pieces (a 23.4% increase from the previous year), 173,022 performances (a 24.6% increase from the previous year), and 35,318,633 audience members (a 16.7% increase from the previous year). By genre, the most performance pieces were in Western music (14,871), followed by multi-genre (11,886) and theater (6,231). In terms of audience, musicals attracted the largest crowd (11,532,900 audience members), followed by theater (8,380,511) and multi-genre (5,967,955).

[Table 3] Performance record of performing arts facilities

The rate of operations for various arts programs at performing arts facilities came to 55.8%, and private facilities had a higher rate of operation (76.2%) than public facilities (37.2%). The rate of operations2) for performance arts venues was 67.4%, and the rate of operations at public facilities (focusing on art halls) with a higher proportion of various events was 56.1%, a higher rate than the rate of performance programs.

The total income for performing arts facilities in 2012 totaled about 1.363 trillion won (a 5.6% increase from the previous year) and the proportions of public funding and internal income were 56.5% and 30.7%, respectively. Total expenditures added up to about 1.327 trillion won (a 3.3% increase from the previous year) with various administrative expenditures taking up 60% and project fees taking up 25.4%. 73.8% of project expenditures were used for performing arts projects.


2) Performing Arts Facilities Rate of Operations(%) = Number of performance days + Number of days in preparation + Number of days for other events


365 - (Days spent on inspecting the facilities, installation + yearly holidays) x 100


[Table 4] Financial situation of performing arts facilities

Status of Operations for Performing Arts Groups in 2012: 39,042 performing arts pieces, 117,853 performances

-Out of the major genres of activity, traditional Korean music had the highest average number of performing arts pieces, followed by multi-genre, and Western music. The theater genre had the highest average number of performance pieces, followed by multi-genre and traditional Korean music

In 2012, performing arts groups presented a total of 39,042 (18.5 on average) pieces onstage and performed these pieces a total of 117,853 (55.9 on average) times. Out of the major genres of activity, Korean music had the highest number of performances (33.2), followed by multi-genre (28.2) and Western music (19.2). The theater genre had the highest average number of performances (106.1 times), followed by multi-genre (78.9 times) and traditional Korean music (55.8 times).

[Table 5] Performance record of performing arts groups

The total income of performance arts groups was around 785.5 billion won (a 35.7% increase from 2010), and the proportions of public funding and internal income were 54.9% and 42%, respectively. 88.6% of the total project expenditure was used for performance arts projects.
Of the major genres of activity, the sales from theater, including musicals, made up 64.9% of the total sales, and also had a large share of the market.

[Table 6] Financial status of performing arts groups

[Table 7] Details of performing arts groups incomes (by major genre of activity)

※The 2013 Performing Arts Conditions Survey Report will be available through the Korea Arts Management Service website beginning Thursday, December 19.
How to download: www.gokams.or.kr > Center Database (Lower right) > Survey/Evaluation > PDF Download




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theApro <![CDATA[Expectations for "culture" and "welfare for artists"]]> Expectations for "culture" and "welfare for artists"
[Trend] Survey Results of ‘Top Five Arts Management Stories from 2013’


For two weeks from November 27 to December 12, the "Top Five Arts Business Management Stories from 2013" were nominated. What kinds of issues within the culture and arts industry did the industry insiders themselves deem worthy of notice? This year a total of 267 participated in the survey, and of the respondents 178 were female, comprising 66.7%, and 89 were male, comprising 33.3%.


In terms of age distribution, 107 respondents were in their 30s and comprised 40.1%, 105 respondents were in their 20s and comprised 39.3%, and the proportion of respondents in their 20s and 30s together totaled up to 80%. Respondents in their 40s and 50s comprised 14.6% and 6% of the total, respectively.


Examining the type of profession of each respondent, 117 (43.8%) of the participants worked in the performing arts, 30 (11.2%) of the participants worked in the visual arts, and 81 (30.3%) of the respondents said that they worked in both fields. 39 (14.6%) of the respondents identified themselves as being in another category.


In terms of professional domain, a majority, 88 (33%), of the respondents were in funding/administration, followed by 37 (13.9%) in production/distribution, and 32 (13.9%) were students.

Professional domain of survey participants

In terms of professional domain, a majority, 88 (33%), of the respondents were in funding/administration, followed by 37 (13.9%) in production/distribution, and 32 (13.9%) were students.

An Overall Increase in Culture and a Demand for the Diversification of Hallyu

The most significant questions posed by the survey, a total of 12 multiple-choice questions encompassing major news events of this year in the arts business industry, resulted in the following:

Major News Events of 2013 in the Arts Business Management Field, In Order of Votes

Number 11, "Culture" emerges as a major government policy keyword, received the most responses, with 163 participants comprising 12.2% of the total. Following, No. 1, "The start of welfare for those in the arts--the first year?!" received 159 (11.9%) votes, and then No. 2, "The expansion of cultural content that encompasses this generation," with 150 (11.2%) respondents, without much variation in votes among the top three issues. Following the top three the 4th and 5th most popular issues were No. 9, "The craze over the humanities--is it due to introspection or is it just another marketing ploy?" (9.7%) whether the depletion of funding for the arts was a crisis or opportunity (9.3%).

In the free response section of the questionnaire on the major news events of the industry in 2013, "the craze over convergence" and "Hallyu in the arts" each received attention from five or more participants. This year there is of course an interest in the convergence of the arts and science in the visual arts, but it was particularly emphasized in the performing arts industry. Festivals big and small even opened with "convergence” as keywords, but there was also criticism about the fact that many of the pieces presented simply "mixed" work without a basic understanding of the two different fields. The national expectations for the Hallyu that Korea’s cultural content was driving had not subsided, either. This year in particular was the year that there was special emphasis on a full-fledged popularization of Psy’s "Gentleman" (the successor to "Gangnam Style"), and besides that K-Pop, with multiple idols stars at the head, drove the continuous expansion of K-Food and other various aspects of Korean arts and culture under the banner of K-Culture into foreign markets. Of course, it has not passed by unnoticed that there remains a heavy emphasis on K-Pop within this flow, and that the Hallyu (Korean Wave) will not last unless it is backed up by a diversification in the cultural content that is exported. Further, there were opinions to the effect of "I want to know more about the conditions of the export and import of culture, and without remaining simply within the realm of content production, explore how these can be applied in various ways" and a desire that these topics be introduced through the [Weekly@Arts Management] newsletter.

In terms of personalities, the figures that garnered the most votes this year were the now-deceased Kim Ju-ho in the field of arts business management and artist Suh Do Ho in the creative field. Kim Ju-ho was among those selected in the first open call for personnel at the Seoul Arts Center and held posts in succession at the LG Art Center, as a consultant at METAA Consulting, director at the Korean Arts and Culture Education Service, and president at the Seoul Philharmonic. He was the president of the Lotte Concert Hall when he passed away on May 26 of a heart attack and his passing has been mourned by many in the arts and culture industry.



Artist Suh Do Ho, a contemporary artist in the spirit of Nam June Paik and Lee Ufan
Public awareness of Suh Do Ho has increased to the point where his Home within Home exhibition, which opened at Samsung’s Leeum in 2012 attracted the highest number of visitors since the opening of the museum. Suh Do Ho will also hold an individual exhibition at the Seoul branch of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, which opened last November. After being featured in the November issue of the Wall Street Journal Magazine as "this Year’s Innovator," Suh recently took the top prize for TV, film, cinema and animation at Germany’s Red Dot Design Awards and is currently one of the most well-known artists in the country.

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theApro <![CDATA[2012 Korean Art Market Conditions Survey]]> Domestic Art Market "Hazy"
[Trend] 2012 Korean Art Market Conditions Survey


The [2012 Art Market Conditions Survey] includes an objective and reliable summary and analysis of the current status of the management, sale and purchase of artwork in the key distribution areas of the art market, including galleries (397), auction companies (13), and art fairs (35), and the public domain, including architectural artwork, art banks, and art museums (172)


Survey Scope Time Period January 1, 2012-December 31, 2012
Survey Period Target Survey Period January 1, 2012-December 31, 2012
Due Diligence Period June 10, 2012-August 16, 2012
Survey Target Main Distribution Domain Galleries (397), auction companies (13), art fairs (35)
Public Domain Installation of artwork about architecture, art banks, art museums (172)
International Market Domain -
Survey Content Current status of art transactions in main distribution domain
Current status of art transactions in public domain
Current state of finances, etc.
Survey Methods Interview method, documentary survey
Survey Host Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism
Survey Supervisor Korea Arts Management Service (Foundation)


Size of the domestic art market in 2012: 440.5 billion won (based on the price of artwork)
-The size of the domestic art market, based on the price of artwork, decreased by 6.7% from 2011.

The size of the domestic art market in 2012 was estimated at a total of 440.5 billion, including 366.8 billion won from sales through the main distribution channels (galleries, auction companies, and art fairs) and 73.7 billion won in purchases of artwork in the public domain (architectural artwork, art banks, and art museums). According to these results, the size of the domestic art market in 2012 showed a 6.7% decrease (of about 31.7 billion) from 472.2 billion in 2011.

  Sum of art transactions
(Unit: one million won)
Number of pieces in transactions Details on Overlap
Transaction Sum(A) Overlapping Sum(B) Total
(A-B)
Number of pieces(A) Number of overlapping pieces(B) Total
(A-B)
Main Distribution Domain Galleries(N=397) 275,136 4,347 270,789 8,487 127 8,360 Excluding the sale of architectural art pieces
Auction Companies(N=13) 85,274 - 85,274 8,116 - 8,116 -
Art Fairs(N=35) 42,021 31,268 10,753 10,774 4,127 6,647 Art fairs with participating galleries Excluding pieces sold
Subtotal 402,431 35,615 366,816 27,377 4,254 23,123 -
Public Domain Architectural Art Installation 62,051 - 62,051 619 - 619 -
Art Bank 1,508 855 653 281 117 164 Excluding pieces purchased on the spot (art fair)
Art Museums(N=172) 14,233 3,235 10,998 1,642 353 1,289 Excluding pieces purchased through galleries/auction companies/art fairs
Subtotal 77,792 4,090 73,702 2,542 470 2,072 -
Transaction Size 480,223 39,705 440,518 29,919 4,724 25,195 -

Persistent Market Depression

-Despite publicity through the auction market, the distribution market fell by 4.4%
-Artwork purchases at art museums increased, but public domain activity dropped 20.9% because of a decrease in the installation of architectural artwork.

When we examine the actual transactions of artwork by domain without taking into account the overlap between domains, the sum of art sales in the main distribution domain decreased by 4.4% (approximating 18.5 billion won) from 420.9 billion won to 402.4 billion won compared to 2011. The sum of art sales in the public domain decreased by 20.9% (approximating 20.5 billion won) from 98.3 billion won to 77.7 billion won compared to 2011.

When we examine the main distribution category, gallery sales decreased 7.1% from 296.3 billion won to 275.1 billion won, and art fair sales fell 9.5% from 46.4 billion won to 42 billion won. On the other hand, sales for auction companies have been on the upswing and have offset the decline in the market with sales increasing by 9.0% from 78.2 billion won in 2011 to 85.2 billion won.

The installation of architectural art, which comprises about 80% of art transactions in the public domain, was shown to have decreased by 25.7% to 62 billion won compared to the previous year. Therefore, despite an increase in the purchase of artwork by art museums (a 7.5% increase to 14.2 billion won year on year), it was seen to have contributed to an overall decline in the market. On the other hand, art purchases via the art bank only decreased slightly compared to the previous year, to 1.58 billion won.

Unit: One Million Won

[Figure 1] Art Price Trends in the Main Distribution Domain (2009~2012)

Unit: One Million Won

[Figure 2] Art Purchase Price Trends in the Public Domain (2009~2012)

Persistent market depression, the growth of small-scale art fairs, and the expansion of the lower and mid-range piece market

In 2012, the gallery market lacked information on the capital gains tax law that was due to take effect in 2013 and was generally unprepared for the various social developments related to art. Thus, it was hit the hardest in the market depression. 2

Besides the overall decline in the sale of art, the number of galleries without any sales in 2012 came out to 124 (31.2% of the total) compared to 66 (17.8%) the year before, roughly twice as many. And in 2012 there were 70 new galleries among the survey targets, but there were also about 50 galleries that had gone out of business or were on their way, indicating that conditions had worsened for small and medium-sized galleries.

Despite these conditions, the sales of artwork increased marginally by 3.5% from 2011, although the survey results showed that this increase could be attributed to an improved performance on the part of larger galleries with yearly sales of more than 50 million won. Smaller galleries with yearly sales of less than 50 million won showed a decline in their performance. Furthermore, results showed a polarized market, with the 16 largest galleries with yearly sales of more than one billion making approximately 249.7 billion in sales and taking up 90.8% of the total.

  2011 2012 2012 Year-on-Year Increase
Cases Sum
(Unit: one million won)
Cases Sum
(Unit: one million won)
Increase in Numbers
(Unit: one million won)
Percentage of Increase(%)
TOTAL (305) 973.1 (273) 1,007.5 34.4 3.5
Sales Less than 10 million (9) 8.2 (26) 4.1 ▲4.1 ▲50.0
10-30 million (71) 17.3 (87) 14.2 ▲3.1 ▲17.9
10-30 million (71) 17.3 (87) 14.2 ▲3.1 ▲17.9
30-50 million (58) 33.4 (34) 39.6 6.2 18.6
50-100 million (65) 64.6 (51) 90.9 26.3 40.7
100 million-1 billion (80) 229.1 (59) 307.6 78.5 34.3
More than 1 billion (22) 12,301.4 (16) 15,659.0 3,357.6 27.3

*Based on galleries that reported in the affirmative to an artwork sales survey conducted in 2011 and 2012


Unit: One Million Won

[Figure 3] 2012 sales percentage by gallery size

The auction market, which has been consistently on the rise, also showed a similar phenomenon. Two large auction companies with yearly sales over 5 billion hit 63.6 billion in sales (74.6% of the total), marking a 44.5% increase from 2011. But nine smaller auction companies with less than one billion won in yearly sales recorded a drop from 28 billion won in sales in 2011 to 11.8 billion. The average also plunged from 3.1 billion won to 1.3 billion won.

Moreover, while the sales of artwork rose 9.0% in value from 2011, the number of pieces sold decreased by 27.7%. As with 2011, the survey results showed that most of the transactions concerned high-priced pieces traded through auction companies.

Unit: One million won, (cases)

[Figure 4] Current status of artwork sales by auction company size

The art fair market showed a 9.5% decrease in the total value of art sales compared to 2011, but the number of items sold increased by 51.0%, emphasizing the art fair market’s role as a market for lower and mid-range pieces.

The success of art fairs featuring artists with relatively lower-priced pieces was especially noticeable. While art fairs featuring galleries suffered a decrease in sales from 36.6 billion won in 2011 to 31.2 billion won (the number of pieces sold increased slightly from 4,028 in 2011 to 4,127), art fairs featuring artists recorded a 9.4% increase in sales compared to the previous year, reaching 10.7 billion won. The number of pieces sold also more than doubled, to 6,647 pieces year on year.

Unit: One million won, (cases)

[Figure 5] Current status of Art Sales by Art Fair Management Method: Based on Sum of Art Sales

Unit: One million won, (cases)

[Figure 6] Increase in Art Sales by Art Fair Management Method: Based on Number of Pieces Sold

The domestic art market is finding it difficult to shake off the downward turn that began in 2011. The number of visitors to galleries is increasing yearly, but these visits are not leading to sales, so galleries remain largely dependent on profits from existing consignments. Art fairs are yet another sales channel for galleries. However, examining the current status of sales through gallery participation in fairs shows that, though there is a slight increase in the number of pieces sold through domestic art fairs, the total value of sales shows a decrease. This explains how, despite the emergence of medium-sized and larger art fairs in 2012 (the new gallery-based art fairs in 2012 include Artshow Busan, Busan Alternative Market for Art, Art Asia, and Art Gyeongju), the scope of sales at these fairs actually decreased.

The art auction market alone showed growth, but as previously mentioned the largest auction companies led the market, so conditions remain tough for smaller companies. But a variety of online and offline auctions and auction events are making a wider range of prices more easily available. In addition, companies are publishing information about the pieces that feature in auctions and the results of those auctions as part of a tireless attempt to push for price transparency and thus lead to a recovery in the art market.

The 2012 Art Market Conditions Survey Report will be distributed in December 2013 to various galleries, auction companies, art fairs, art museums and related institutions as well as subscribers. It will also be available for download from the Korea Arts Management Service Foundation database starting on December 19. End.

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theApro <![CDATA[Actors of the Social Game?]]> Actors of the Social Game?
[Trends] Artists in Arab Countries


According to a report of the Arab League’s Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALESCO), there would be 70 million illiterates in the Arab world. Egypt, whose number of illiterates is 17 million, is one of the worst cases. Sudan, Algeria and Morocco are a little luckier. These numbers support those of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) which estimate that about 40% of those in Arab countries, or 140 million of them, live below poverty line. This economic, social and cultural poverty leads to the severe marginalization of artistic creation. A majority of them don’t have access to any richness either physically or symbolically. Moreover, those with power do nothing to narrow such a gap. In contrast, arts, which encourage more independent thinking, particularly look dangerous for authoritarian political systems. Indeed, numerous artistic presentations call for the democratic transformation of societies. These presentaitons are not satisfied with just questioning the legitimacy of the governments. By means of their frictions and stories, they suggest the forms of fairer redistribution of the "sensitive." Such "sharing" is obviously reminiscent of the overall inequality penetrating Arab societies.

What we see is that separation between artists and the public is artificially maintained by those who make utmost efforts to keep their people ignorant. On the other hand, most of artists try to be popular. Without being populist, they develop strategies in order to make their activities accessible to the greatest number of people. For example, Hanssan El-Geretly, who is well known in the independent drama scene in Egypt, doesn’t hesitate to draw on oral traditions, puppet plays and tales but his performances couldn’t be more contemporary. Some offers of Hanssan El-Geretly revisit traditional forms and others allow the audience to discover Egyptian authors who were forgotten too fast. His company called El-Warsha performs in the most remote areas and approach the residents and their culture, not to comfort them in their certainty but to encourage them to move. This approach obviously pertains to awareness. Egypt led a huge civilization. However, history must not be used as an excuse for immobilism. We must resist to the temptation to have a reactionary attitude when it comes to responding to the challenges ahead. Just as the poet René Char wonderfully said, "Our inheritance isn’t preceded by any will." The works of Hanssan El-Geretly glorify the power of imagination and its ability to make people masters of their own destiny. We won’t be surprised to know that this artist actively participated in the Arab Spring and that he is one of the fierce opponents of the Muslim Brothers.

, Tarek Bacha ©Roger Anis

The degradation of the economic and social situation leads to the rise of extremists who, in turn, aggravate the marginalization of artists. This vicious circle widens the gap between creation and people. Artistic forms in themselves aren’t inaccessible at all. An example would be Hany El Metennawy, a director based in Cairo who has worked in relative privacy for 20 years. His performances, which are deliberately burlesque, target the general public while those with power would make utmost efforts to reduce the political and poetic aspects of Hany El Metennawy’s "message."

The Moroccan choreographer Toufiq Izeddiou is inspired by ancestral traditions and the art of Sufi trance. Nevertheless, his creations make us clearly see today’s bodies who try to be liberated from all the ideological and moral constraints. Thus, one’s root isn’t antinomic with the openness toward the world and toward the others at all. For Toufiq Izeddiou, the artists’ own disruption is an echo of the collective issues of Moroccan society which is trapped between tradition and modernity. Making bodies move, the choreographer makes these tensions visible. Each culture tells us what is forbidden socially, religiously and politically in order to regulate the use of our body. And the artists enjoy the shrewd pleasure of emphasizing the arbitrary aspect of these "laws." In the same vein, Karima Monsour, who created the first independent contemporary dance company in Egypt, reproduces in her choreography the entire "flesh"of Arab society. This freedom stands in contrast with the almost pathological obsession of fundamentalism which always tries more to restrict bodily expression in public places.

In Tunisia as well, artists actively participate in the path of social transformation. Historic approaches such as that of El Teatro and young artists, attack the most taboo issues. More and more projects take place in public places, as in the case of the Dream City led by the choreographers Selma and Sofiane Ouissi. This biennale was specially designed for the Tunisian media. In fall 2012, under the pressure of Islamists, the event was almost cancelled. However, the organizers endured the situation well. The creations were designed on the spot, in the medina. Merchants and residents were thus able to share the production process with the artists and were given a chance of real-time feedback. History is being made through arts.

, Souad Ben Slimane © Kerim Salem

Artistic power exists but it is seldom supported by local governments. Cooperative projects are thus essential. Support from the European Union, foundations (Step Beyond, Ford Foundation and Young Theater Fund) and scholarships (Roberto Cimetta Fund, Art Moves Africa...) greatly facilitate artistic mobility that is essential for freedom of people and societies.

Therefore, today, an approach that is initiated by la Friche La Belle de Mai in Marseille, along with several countries on the other side of the Mediterranean Sea (Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Iraq and Kuwait), contributed to highlighting the diversity of contemporary Arab writing. Plays were translated and edited and some were created in the framework of Marseille-Provence 2013, the European Capital of Culture. These works deal with the conflict among classes, freedom of awareness, women’s position in society... To those who might still doubt it, such projects demonstrate that the Arab-Muslim civilization isn’t incompatible with artistic modernity at all.

, Tarek Bacha ©
Sofiane Ben Youssef
, Nidhal Guiga © Med Karim El Amri
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theApro <![CDATA[Experimental Current of Dramatic Theatre in Beirut]]> Experimental Current of Dramatic Theatre in Beirut
[Trend] Three ‘Lecture-Performances’ Recently Presented in AshkalAlwan’s Home Workspace


This brief article won’t attempt a history of the lecture-performance, a format many claim was founded in Lebanon; rather it is a brief outline of three performances recently held in AshkalAlwan’s Home Workspace. In fact, although Beirut audiences would popularly call all three works– RabihMroué’s Pixelated Revolution, MarwaArsanios’ Have you Ever Killed a Bear? or Becoming Jamila, and JessikaKhazrik’s The Influence of Prostitution on Tourism – ‘Lecture-Performances’, two of the artists, RabihMroué and JessikaKhazrik, prefer different terminologies. And although the three works are by three artists aged roughly between 50 and 20 the differences highlighted are not intended to set up generational paradigms. Rather, through these examples presented over the last two years at AshkalAlwan’s Home Workspace, I hope to explore the elasticity of the lecture-performance as a format, offering a commentary on the works themselves, and an outline of the lecture-performance without resorting to a definition.

Rabih Mroué, The Pixelated Revolution at Home Workspace, 2011 Courtesy of Ashkal Alwan

In the case of The Pixelated Revolution, RabihMroué prefers the term ‘Non-Academic Lecture’ to ‘Lecture-Performance’. Which holds a certain degree of irony because of the three performances, his borrows the most from academia – from an academic lecture. In Pixelated, Mroué sits behind a desk on a raised platform, his face lit by his MacBook screen and a small desk lamp. The audience sits in darkness. As he talks about “death today in Syria”, he scrawls through a PowerPoint presentation juxtaposing images, still and moving, gleaned from YouTube with a cinematic manifesto. The images are made by ‘Syrian citizen journalists’ – basically anyone with a mobile phone camera trying to document any event from a protest to a funeral – from the ongoing Syrian revolution, while the manifesto, Dogme 95, was famously produced by a group of provocative young Danish filmmakers. The manifesto was an attempt to enhance the realism of cinema by spurning expensive techniques such as sets, special effects, postproduction or props in order to focus on narrative and performance – advice that Mroué passes on to the Syrians risking their lives in protests they attempt to document and disseminate with pixelated images from their mobile phone cameras. Mroué focuses on clips when the cameraman inadvertently seems to film his killer and his own death, particularly focussing on a moment that he terms ‘Double Shooting’ – a play on the ambiguity of the word to shoot in English, meaning both to film and to fire a bullet. The cameraman films, the soldier fires a bullet, and for a brief moment in the YouTube clip, the two are locked in the ambiguity of a verb – ‘Double Shooting’.

In its structure, the set-up is academic: the combined apparatus of the stage-desk-laptop, the pre-written speech printed on sheets of A4 read out to the audience in formal Arabic, the choice of computer programme, the amplified voice. And much like a lecture given by an academic to present colleagues with new research, the aim of RabihMroué’s non-academic lecture is to provoke debate. But after reaching the end of his sheaf of lecture-notes, Mrouéslips off-stage while the final YouTube-clip plays through. Only after the lights go up do the audience notice that Mrouéis no longer onstage. Unlike in academia, the debate must take place only outside of the lecture hall, and not directly with the performer who has presented his research.

But the point of using the structure of an academic lecture is not merely to stoke debate: it is also a tactic that places the performer in a position of authority. Inevitably, the audience debates the ethics of juxtaposing images of death with a cinematic manifesto, and doubts are aired over the timeliness of analysing aesthetic aspects of images, when, as the lecture begins, “The Syrian protestors are recording their own deaths.”But what are the consequences if that authority is used, even exploited, in order to build a fictional narrative? Because despite the academic apparatus and the academic techniques – the analysis of images juxtaposed with the analysis of a manifesto – Mroué is spinning a narrative. It is a narrative that ends in death – the death of the ‘Syrian citizen journalist’, the cameraman. But it is also a narrative that ends in transcendence –Mroué’s claim that that death is virtual, or aesthetic, existing only within the image – a happy ending. And perhaps this is the point where the academic apparatus becomes problematic, by leading to dead end questions around ethics – questions that cannot be asked or perhaps are not even worth asking – while the performance’s narrative and artistic content – provocative and problematic in their own right – go unexplored.

Marwa Arsanios, Have You Ever Killed a Bear? or Becoming Jamila presented at Home Workspace in the context of Home Works 6, 2013. Courtesy of Ashkal Alwan

In MarwaArsanios’ Have you Ever Killed a Bear? or Becoming Jamila, the artist adopts the more common term lecture-performance. And in this case the performance borrows almost nothing from academia, and in fact, it is only appropriate to call it a lecture if we go back to one of the roots of the word ‘lecture’, meaning ‘to read’. In Jamila, a reader, rather than the artist, sits on a chair, no desk separating her from the audience, reading from an inexpensively bound booklet. In certain respects, the lecture resembles a storytelling session – the audience sit on chairs identical to the performer’s, surrounding her in a semi-circle. There is no stage or platform –audience and reader sit on the same level. In fact, the script itself of the performance is handed out to the audience as they enter the room, so if they wish, they are able to follow the text as the performer reads it. Since the reader is not the artist, there is also a sense that any member of the audience could just as well be sitting in the middle of the semi-circle, reading the text to what feels like an intimate and informal gathering.

During the lecture, given certain cues in the text, the reader raises an image to her face –at times the photograph of a revolutionary Algerian from the 50s, DjamilaBouhired, dressed like a female Ché Guevara, in the camo of guerrilla fighter. At others, she raises to her face the covers of an Egyptian feminist magazine, Al-Hilal, from the same period. These modest acts – the performer covering her face with an archival image –not only represent the attempts by the artist to become Jamila, but also the lost legacy of the left, an unattainable tradition she attempts to embody in vain – a dusty, two-dimensional mask. A mask perhaps reminiscent of the masks of classical theatre. Behind the reader, a screen projects clips from Egyptian cinema’s portrayal of the young guerrilla fighter.

The script tells the story of a young actress cast as DjamilaBouhired for a film inspired by La Batailled’Alger that will recount the story of her infamous trial. She was apparently cast because the original actress panicked and dropped out because of moral objections to portraying a “criminal”. The scripts cuts between research the actress undertakes into contemporary leftist movements in preparation for her role and moments when she becomes Djamila, acting out episodes from her biography – first her military training, then the moment of her most famous act: placing a bomb in a crowded café – and finally moments of dialogue between the young actress and the now-nonchalant veteran fighter.

It is clear that this script, a literary narrative that blends biography and fiction, is not intended to spark debate – at any rate, the topic isn’t newsworthy in the way that Mroué’s Pixelated undoubtedly is. The exploration of an iconic figure’s biography is really a quest by the artist to understand her own position with regards to the legacy of a now-buried left. The decision to defer the reading of the text to a performer is interesting, matching as it does the original actress’s moral objection to portraying the iconic “criminal” in the narrative. Is the artist playfully suggesting she holds similar moral objections to portraying Djamila? However, something is also lost by the decision. The limited elements of theatricality– images covering face, snapping fingers, stamping feet of performance in a static set up – struggle to compensate for not seeing the artist herself perform this personal exploration.

Jessika Khazrik, The Influence of Prostitution on Tourism presented in the context of the Home Workspace Program 2012-13 Open Studios, 2013. Courtesy of Ashkal Alwan

For her work The Influence of Prostitution on Tourism, JessikaKhazrik prefers the simple ‘Performance’ – though her work is in fact based on a piece of academic research: her mother’s MA thesis submitted in 1979, written when she was a student at the Lebanese Institute of Tourism, and called “The Influence of Prostitution on Tourism.”Dropping the word ‘lecture’ also seems precise, since Khazrik neither reads, nor borrows the set up of an academic lecture. During the performance, Khazrik sits on a chair with a back but no legs, her own legs stretched out in front of her. The audience sits either on cushions or on similar chairs-with-no-legs, spaced out irregularly around her. In her lap lies an iPad mini with which she manipulates the photographs beamed onto the wall behind her, and in her hand she holds a stack of iPad mini-sized, paperclip-bound revision cards. The images show Georgette Karam, the artist’s mother, posing provocatively against various backdrops. As she slides her fingers to swipe between the photos, pinching to zoom in or flipping the tablet over to switch between portrait and landscape, Khazrik recounts the story of her mother, the airhostess who authored the eponymous thesis.

The performance is unscripted, and as she comes to the end of an anecdote, Khazrik flips through her stack of notes before moving onto the next speculation. After selecting her next card, she flicks through her iPad’s photo album to find the appropriate image. The performance is built around questioning the reliability of a document – an academic thesis. In this way it shares a documentary element present in both the other works. Through a series of teasing speculations, she hints at possible fictions contained within that document. As Khazrik recites a series of ‘What ifs…’ the doubts about the reliability of the document, and her interpretation of it, begin to grow. At first, we doubt whether or not Karam actually interviewed any prostitutes during her research. Did her mother simply transcribe her fantasies? Then, we begin to think that perhaps Khazrik is insinuating that her mother’s thesis was autobiographical. And this is where the work’s tension lies: Khazrik examines so many possibilities to explain the thesis’s many inconsistencies, so many speculations as to why her mother switched jobs from one airline to the next so often, but always stopping just short of asking whether perhaps her mother had worked as a prostitute. All the while, she flicks through yet more provocative photographs, showing her mother in various stages of undress, against kitsch, then suggestive, then tourist backdrops. The audience can clearly see the elephant in the room that Khazrik is playfully skipping around. We begin to think that she might be in denial over her mother’s seedy past, that she is constructing a host of fantasies to avoid confronting the issue – Khazrik’s mother must have been a prostitute.

The anecdotal structure of the performance is held together by this unspoken explanation. Through the various fragments collaged together, the audience, conversely, builds this simplified fantasy. It is an intriguing technique, playing on the ease with which an audience resorts to an obvious and prurient explanation. The informal set up – Khazrik sitting on a legless chair with no barrier between her and audience – helps Khazrik lure the audience into a false sense of superiority, of both understanding and interpretation. The treatment of fiction and fantasy without adopting a traditional narrative arc is brilliant. The language is difficult – often heavy on critical theory jargon, at times impossible to follow – but even this gives the impression of a rococo flourish, an ever-more-elaborate and misguided fantasy that the performer can’t come to terms with. In the end, it is the audience alone that has built an elaborate fantasy, an easy fiction.

Despite the differing terminology, these three performances share common features – they examine documents of various kinds, always images and often texts. Granted, those images are much more different than they are similar, ranging from Mroué’s YouTube clips of newsworthy concern to Arsanios’s dusty archive of magazines from the 50s. The performers rarely adopt overtly dramatic techniques – the performer always sits, largely immobile. But the drama is stored up, subtly, in the set up of the pieces themselves – be that the presence of a desk, the positioning of the audience, or whether or not the performer’s chair has legs. And the relationship to narrative varies greatly – from Mroué’s conventional arc concealed behind academic-style image analysis, to the loose, fragmentary approach of Khazrik that undermines the notion of narrative, revealing it to be an audience-constructed fantasy. In any case, the works all confirm the immense possibilities contained within the lecture-performance, possibilities not yet mastered even by the most established practitioners of the format in Beirut.

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theApro <![CDATA[Oasis Feeds Next Generation in Barren Land]]> Oasis Feeds Next Generation in Barren Land
[Trend] Contemporary Performing Art Festivals and Art Centres in the Middle East


The past two decades have witnessed the emergence of a large number of independent initiatives aiming at promoting contemporary performing arts (i.e. theatre and dance) in major cities of the Middle East– Alexandria, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, and Ramallah. Up to this point, established mainstream festivals had been the main centres of cultural production.

Although each one of these cities has its own art (hi)story, socio- political and economical context (where specific tendencies triggered by the politics of culture can be identified), their performing art scenes face common challenges. The lack of public funding coupled with the absence of contemporary artistic spaces or educated audiences constitute major obstacles in the region. Due to the lack of governmental support for culture or restrictive governmental control, the endeavours undertaken are usually implemented by artists’ collectives, non-profit organisations, curators or art organisers. These independent groups have been striving to build alternative platform to encourage artistic projects, regular events and festivals. They have also invested great efforts in opening creative spaces and galleries dedicated to contemporary art practices. In order to achieve these goals, these independent associations have relied on a variety of financial support modalities: local individual philanthropic donors, pan-Arab funding bodies (Arab Fund for Youth and Culture, Al-Mawreed Al-thaqafy, Young Arab Theatre Fund, Arab Digital Expression Foundation, Safar Fund), international organisations such as Prince Claus Fund (Netherlands), Ford Foundation (USA), Roberto Cimetta Fund, Sida Foundation (Sweden) and locally implemented European cultural centres. The lack of physical spaces dedicated to art projects prompted artists and cultural operators to respond to this demand in various creative ways.

Beirut Art Center (Lebanon). Photo by Nadim Asfar Al Balad Theatre (Jordan). Photo by Raed Asfour

Although, public funding for the arts is negligible to non-existent in Lebanon, Beirut is home to one of the most dynamic contemporary art scenes in the region. Its cultural annual agenda comprises several events organised by non-profit associations, cultural venues or theatres. The multidisciplinary ‘Home Works’ Forum initiated by Ashkal Alwan (The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts) offers a yearly programme of exhibitions, dance and theatre performances, film and video screenings, book launches, concerts, and debates. ‘98 weeks’, an artistic research project and curatorial collective, combines both theoretical and practical forms of research, organising workshops and symposia. Zoukak Sidewalks by Zoukak Theatre Company hosts international artists in residence providing a shared space between international artists, local practitioners and interested audiences. Zicco House, a cultural and residency space operating within a communal approach organises the ‘Beirut Street Festival’ dedicated to in situ public performances. Theatre venues such as the Monnot Theatre organises an International Storytelling Festival. More symbolic festivals, like the ‘Beirut Spring Festival’ in memory of assassinated journalist Samir Kassir, take place yearly in the city with a international program revolving around themes of tolerance and cultural diversity. However, Beirut still suffers from a lack of local art spaces due to the complexity of land deeds and expensive running costs. The only centre solely dedicated to contemporary art practice in Lebanon is the Beirut Art Centre, which was inaugurated in 2008.

It is in this context that art organisations have learned to become flexible and adapt to multiple venues. One advantage to this situation is that mobility prevented censorship from shutting venues down.

With the recent war situation in Syria and its direct impact on cultural and artistic life in the country, eminent events and festivals in Damascus are facing major difficulties to keep up their activity. Nevertheless, remarkable initiatives are still emerging such as ‘Ettijahat’, an organization stimulating the growth of independent culture in Syria. Lately, Beirut has become a hub for displaced Syrian performing artists from the diaspora. Dawar al-Shams Theatre in collaboration with SHAMS, a cultural theatre cooperative were responsible for a special event bringing together more than 100 Syrian artists (painters, actors, dancers and playwrights). The 2013 Arab Dance Platform focused on Syrian choreographers and dancers. Other groups like Sima Dance Company have elected the local Babel Theatre as a residency space.

In Egypt, despite the socio-political instability, Cairo witnesses an activ(ist) performing art scene with numerous events. Studio Emad Eddine organises the Downtown Contemporary Art Festival (DCAF), a large international multi-disciplinary contemporary art festival. A contemporary dance thematic festival ‘Transdance’ conceived and produced by HaRaKa is also held in Cairo focusing on alternative forms of thinking about choreography and performance. Its central themes of resistance and memory seek to interrogate and provoke audiences intellectually. Since the number of venues is very scarce for a city of 20 million inhabitants, with poor audience development and heavy reliance on funding –due to the recent closure of platforms and socio-political pressure–, artists are seeking independent art spaces. This situation led young artists to respond to the situation in an inventive way. Thus, ‘Hal Baddel’ (literally meaning ‘Alternative Solution’), a three-week non-profit voluntary local festival, was initiated in 2013 by two young cultural activists. It included music, puppets and contemporary dance. With the aim to develop further the emergent contemporary dance scene, a young cultural operator and dancer, built the first adapted independent dance studio EECDS in Giza and funded the ‘Contemporary Dance Night’, an event offering dance residencies and supporting Egyptian local dancers.
Further north, in Alexandria, although the cultural landscape is sparse and sporadic, the Art Centre of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina supports performing art programmes. For 9 years, it held the ‘Creative forum for independent theatre groups’ in collaboration with I-act. Today, I-act organises the ‘Backstreet Festival’ promoting art in non-traditional spaces, whereas ‘Dancing Egyptian Spring’, an experimental artistic project, invites Egyptian and international artists to take over some symbolical locations around the city and transform them into unusual venues for performance.

Ahmed El Gendy, < One >(2012),
CDN 2 (Egypt). Photo by Amr El Sawah.
Omar Abi Azar (Lebanon),
< Hamlet-Machine >(2009), Zoukak Theatre Company. Photo by Randa Mirza
Nawal Skandarani,
< harassment@artonly >(2012), Hakaya Festival (Jordan). Photo by Raed Asfour.

With its annual International Theatre Festival, Amman is also turned towards performing arts, especially dance with its annual ‘Zakharef Motion Dance’ festival. It also organises the storytelling festival ‘Hakaya’ in collaboration with Al Balad Theatre. This venue hosts theatre and dance performances along side the governmental structure of Al Hussein Cultural Centre. Other independent art centres like Makan and Darat Al-Funun are part of the artistic landscape but they are mainly interested in visual arts, music, and photography.

On the other side of the border, the Popular Art centre promotes a vibrant and dynamic performing art sector in Palestine. It organises the ‘Palestine International Festival’ and the ‘Heritage Festival’ focusing on local folk performing arts. Working for the development of contemporary dance performance, ‘Sareyyet Ramallah’ brings the annual ‘Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival’ introducing a variety of contemporary dances to the Palestinian people.

In order to increase visibility and encourage audience building, the various artists involved in the independent performing art sector are sharing their experiences and resources by collaborating together. This dynamic is strengthening their solidarity. Cooperative and networking strategies are being developed to create synergies through the creation of pan Arab production structures such as the Arab Theatre Training Centre. Joint residency programme between Ashkal Alwan in Beirut and the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo are being programmed, platforms such as ‘Dancereflaction’ or ‘Masahat’ a dance festival network that brings together Beirut International Platform of Dance, Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival, Amman Contemporary Dance Festival and Tanween Network for Theatrical Dance (Syria) were created.

As a result, performing art practitioners are becoming increasingly more capable to develop an open field for thinking beyond borders and crossing them while seeking for a larger international exchange. This dynamic is shaping the Middle Eastern Arab contemporary artistic space in an original way through the paradoxal phenomena of migration and de-territorialisation.

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theApro <![CDATA[Arabian tradition style and its influence to contemporary performing arts]]> Arabian tradition style and its influence to contemporary performing arts
[Trend] Traditional forms of theatre in Syria


Nobody can confirm or deny the existence of some forms of drama and theatre activities in Syria before the end of the 19th century, which is the time when AbūKhalīl Al-Qabbānī (1835–1902) introduced these activities in their western form. Al-Qabbānī, a rich merchant from Damascus who was the first to present a performance in his grandfather’s house, might have seen plays in the neighboring city of Beirut where French and Italian visiting groups performed, or could have known Moliere and Racine through the Turkish translation of their texts. The originality of Qabbani resides in his capacity to adapt the occidental form of the theatre to the taste of the local audience. The plays he wrote and directed were inspired by the "One Thousand and One Nights(Arabian Nights)" folk tale, and he introduced songs and dances into the story plot, which transformed his plays into a rich Operetta. The atmosphere he created on stage was magical and captivating to the audience who found something quite new and unfamiliar in these events.

It is true that the same audience was familiar with the shadow theatre that was performed in coffee shops, but the difference was enormous between flat articulated figures moving behind an illuminated curtain, and real actors dressed in costumes from the Middle Ages, playing the roles of sultans and caliphs. The illusion that was created on stage was unexpected, and spectators couldn’t comprehend this magical transformation to a point where, as mentioned in books that described some of these events, some of the audience tried to intervene on the stage to rescue the threatened characters.

The big success of Qabbani’s plays frightened the conservatives in Damascus, and the new adventure ended with a decree by the Ottoman government preventing theatrical performances in Syria. Qabbani’s theatre was closed, and the artist was obliged to immigrate to Cairo where the atmosphere was more open to new artistic experiences.

Paradoxically, shadow theatre, which was full of obscenities, was allowed and tolerated by the religious authorities that accused Qabbani’s work of corrupting the morals!! Is it because he put on stage real actors1 ? Was it a result of the mockery of the Caliph Harun Al-Rashid in the second play he presented? Or is it the fear of the huge success of this new form of entertainment? Whatever was the reason behind this prohibition, it was able to stop the first attempt to introduce theatre in Syria for quite a while.

1At the beginning of the experience, hairless men played the roles of women, and gradually, Christians and Jewish women were hired to play on stage.

Traditional Syrian shadow puppet ‘Karagöz’  

As for shadow theatre, it was known in all Silk Road countries, and it could have been brought in to Syria by the gypsies. This is confirmed by the local Syrian name for shadow theatre:"Karagöz". The word means "black eye" in Turkish, and it might be a reference to the gipsy puppeteers manipulating the shadow in coffee shops and public baths in Syrian towns. Gypsies originate from central Asia, and they used to travel through countries to perform in souks (market places) and fairs. Their presence in Syria is known for centuries, and they are behind many popular forms of entertainment like dances and acrobatic movements, fortune telling, and animal entertainment using dogs, bears and trained monkeys. The plots and the scenarios of "Karagöz" were short, simple, and farcical. It presented stock character types like the stupid old men, the tricky servant, the shrew wife and the soldier that is full of false audacity. The improvised dialogue was a severe satire of the current events, and a caricature of all stratus of the society. In these performances, one could hear dialects and pronunciations of the different nationalities that lived in Syria like people from Cairo, Baghdad, Morocco, Yemen, Sudan etc.

The obscenity of the dialogue, which was tolerated in the past by the men-only audience, was the reason for its disappearance in the 1960th, when the Ministry of Culture and National Guidance was created in Syria in a mission to present the finest aspects of culture to educate people. The Indecency of the language also prevented the preservation of the scenarios after the disappearance of the genre in the 1960th. When the Ministry of Culture approved the documentation of this popular form of theatre, and decided to publish a book about it, many of the words in the dialogue were removed.

The impact of Karagöz remained very present in the collective and popular memory, and it influenced the creation of The Tricks of Ghawar: comic sketches that were written and performed by the Syrian actor Durayd Lahham. These sketches are the transposition of the plots and "canvas" of Karagöz, re-interpreted for real actors instead of flat figures. The Tricks of Ghawar aired on Syrian television during the 1970’s, and were replayed many times later due to their popularity.

< The Tricks of Ghawar >  

If we try to make links between Karagöz and the regional entertainment forms, we can observe continuity between this local shadow theatre and the traditions of the Greek comedies of the 4th century BC, the Roman comedies of Plautus and Terence, the Atellan farces, and the Commedia dell’arte of the 16th century in Italy.

Even though the origin of the Syrian Karagöz is still disputed, and even though we don’t have concrete and chronological proof for the continuity that exists between the aforementioned entertainment forms, our hypothesis can be reinforced by the geographical position of Syria: Situated at the meeting point of three continents: Asia, Africa and Europe, which is why Syria hosted many ethnic groups and a variety of religions and communities. Also, the Sumerians, Egyptians, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Arameans, Persians, Greeks and Romans, colonized the land from the third millennium BCE onwards, which is why Syria had certainly known many forms of dramatic traditions that were brought by the conquerors and assimilated by the local population.

The huge and perfectly preserved Roman theatre of Bosra (south of Syria) enforces the hypothesis that performances could have been held there during the Roman hegemony. We are unable to reconstruct a clear picture of the nature of the performances that were held in this theatre, which seats 15 thousand spectators, and is considered as one of the most beautiful amphitheaters in the world; but we might suggest that these performances could have been initially linked to pagan and agricultural ceremonies and carnivals that were associated with fertility. These ceremonies did not develop into theatre (tragedy and comedy) like in the other Roman provinces, but they became gradually a kind of folk entertainment after the rule of Muslims.

Roman theatre of Bosra in Syria  

How could such an important tradition of ritual ceremonies die? Many scholars believe that the disappearance of lot of pagan rites was a result of Muslims’ reign in Syria. But it’s surely not the only reason: popular forms of entertainment were neglected by the scholastic texts that preserve the history of a country. Only some documented accounts of everyday life in big Syrian cities, especially by travelers visiting the region, suggest the presence of buffoons, mimes, comic performers, jesters, acrobats, fortunetellers and jongleurs from different cultures. They were part of the social landscape in the region from the Middle Ages to the 1950’s when they were replaced by cinema and television.

In this brief panorama about the traditional forms of theatre in Syria, we have to also mention the very popular art of Storytelling, which usually happens in coffee shops, and tells the stories of heroes and other popular folk tales, especially during the month of fasting. With his book on his knees, the storyteller used to sit on a high chair in the middle of the listening audience; He captures the hearts with his enthusiastic intonation, talking about strength, chivalry, honor, and folk heroes. He often adds personal touches to the story plot to engage the audience and get them to sympathize with the pain of the story’s characters and their struggle for justice. Some storytellers would add dramatic effects to their stories by playing musical instruments while telling the story, or by making dramatic gestures at appropriate points in the tale.

Storytellers, just like shadow theatre, are now object of exotic curiosity for the Syrian people. Syrian modern theatre never returned to these popular forms; it followed the technical and thematic evolution of theater all over the world instead. Roots, identity and heritage were topics of discussion among authors and critics during the last decades, but the radical changes that are happening in the Arab world have brought a new reality and new priorities. Democracy and freedom are more pressing issues today, and authors and actors are more concerned with what theatre should reflect, and which role should it play in rebuilding the new society people are aspiring to.

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theApro <![CDATA[Creating Alternatives to Cover the Gap in Public Funding]]> Creating Alternatives to Cover the Gap in Public Funding
[Trend] Creating a Supportive Environment and Public Funding for Artists Practicing in the Arab World


Arab artists seeking to stage new and experimental work in the performing arts have, until now, sought financial support primarily from international sources but also from a few local foundations. Most performers and theatre-makers face critical challenges in accessing financial resources, challenges augmented by the fact that they work, in general, in an unstable environment within very modest conditions. The lack of cultural policies in the Arab world has impacted negatively on every component of the cultural scene, with theatre-makers and performers equally influenced.

Institutionalizing, clustering, and recognizing the economic value of cultural activities have never featured highly on state agendas in countries across the Arab region. Because of this lack of government support we have seen an emphasis on individual creativity, and consequently a flowering of emerging independent art scenes based on individual initiatives, mainly led by up-and-coming cultural leaders and suffering from financial deficits, rather than the development of effective and self-sustained institutions.

Overcoming Internal Hurdles through Achieving Further Independence and Securing More International Funding

Alma Salem, MENA Regional Arts Programmes Manager at the British Council, believes also that: "Still it would be wrong to assume that all the dynamism of the creative sector comes from sole traders or micro-businesses. Especially if we include the Gulf region in the equation, and more specifically in the Visual Arts and Music industries where we witness that larger businesses are overwhelmingly concentrated in one part of the value chain – i.e. distribution – while the small and micro-businesses dominate the top end of the supply chain – the creative end.

One major element to develop this shaky environment is the role that the relatively small investments in developing cultural relations between the Global North and South play in the growth of small creative businesses, which is encouraged and supported by international agendas and funds aiming to support development of the Creative Economy in our region. "

In Syria, for example, The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency partnered with the Damascus Opera House to fund five theatre performances by young people in 2009. The General Authority of the Damascus Opera House in turn offered direct financial support to certain productions.
A few of the more daring contemporary theatre productions have also received support from these and other donors, such as the Arab Fund for Arts Culture who supported recently the production of Pinter’s the Home coming directed by Oussama Ghanam in 2013, Al Mawred Al Thaqafy (Culture Resource), and the Hivos Fund based in the Netherlands. Dario Fo’s A Lone Woman, directed by Amal Omran in 2010, debuted at the Opera but was later banned from participating in the 15th edition of the Damascus Theater Festival due to its bold nature. These productions, which have widened the horizons of discourse in the theatre, have revealed that the ceiling of censorship needs to be repaired and the empty space below it filled before it can be lifted.

Mey Sefan is a choreographer, dancer and cultural organizer. Since her return to Damascus, she has been working with the High Institute of Dance in Damascus. She formed Tanween for Theatrical Dance in Damascus, she is the founder and director of the Damascus Contemporary Dance Platform DCDP.
During her work in Syria between 2003-2011, Sefan faced three challenges in dealing with financial needs: fundraising for her own performances, for the workshops of DCDP, and for the dance students’ workshops. Although the three types of project have different approaches, the routes to raising funds are the same: asking foreign cultural councils, cultural departments at the embassies, and donors.

Mey Sefan〈Destruction for Beginners〉
© Yara Seifan - Syria
  Zoukak Theatre Company and Cultural Association
〈Nes bsamne w nes bzeit〉,  © Randa Mirza - Lebanon

Increasing Political Instability, Censorship, and a Lack of Transparency, but Growing Alternatives

In Egypt, independent artists are faced with many challenges that are not confined to funding alone. They lead very precarious lives marked by financial instability and social pressure. Artists deal with uncertainty about the future due to their unstable economic situation and their fight for social recognition; in terms of funding, they are obliged to carve out their own paths in order to follow their passions and lead their lives as artists.

Amina Abodoma, a member of Teatro Eskendria which is a very promising art center and social hub, believes "there is a big problem in public funding, principally because although it exists, it lacks transparency about how funding schemes are managed, in terms of announcing calls, declaring finance, diffusing deadlines and specifying the allocated genres and formats for each project. Secondly, it was not until very recently that independent artists could benefit from these so-called funding schemes, as independent artists were always known for their leftist inclinations in opposition to the prevailing political system of the government during the reign of Mubarak. Therefore, independent artists were deprived of these benefits, which were instead given to right wing artists treading government lines."

However, it is worth mentioning that Egypt’s foreign cultural relations office, has played a large role in supporting the independent scene from 2007, providing the only source of funds for some artists (especially musicians) who received travel grants to perform abroad. Public funding in Egypt is channeled through only one source: the Ministry of Culture and all the state-governed establishments affiliated with it. Other sources of funding include the foreign cultural centers as well as independent cultural organizations; the most vibrant and effective of these is the Al Mawred Al Thaqafy (The Culture Resource), which takes over a large part of the role that should be played by the ministry and leading on very regionally role at the same time.

The majority of funds available to Egyptian artists comes from these organizations rather than from the state and this is almost the same scenario at most of the Arab countries. It is worth mentioning that in recent years artists and cultural practitioners have started to show a new entrepreneurship in their thinking, attempting to square their talents with financial imperatives in order to supporting themselves, at least in part.

The prevalent situation of socio-economic chaos in Arab counties is very blurry and nobody can predict at this stage what may come out of it. However, if something positive is to be mentioned, it is the fact that over the last 2 years the independent arts scene has flourished and the alternative media has played a significant role in giving visibility to the artists involved, who have been well-received by masses of audience members looking for change in every aspect.

Sawsan Bou Khaled 〈Performance Alice〉
©Tanya traboulsi - Lebanon
Abdalla Daif 〈pERFORMANCE〉
© Fasel we nwasel - Egypt

The following charts refer to the annual open call in the Performing Arts category for the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC)1 , and The Young Arab Theatre Fund (YATF)2 :

○ Arab Fund for Arts and Culture – AFAC

Year List of supported performances Country The budget
2013 15 7: Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Tunis, Morocco 182,000 USD
2012 12 7: Tunis, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Morocco 163,000 USD
2011 10 8 : Tunis, Palestine, Syria, Morocco, Iraq, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon 109,400 USD
2010 7 6: Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Egypt 104,500 USD
2009 10 6: Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt 130,700 USD
2008 8 3 - Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon 158,400 USD
2007 5 3- Lebanon, Syria, Morocco 61,500 USD
TOTAL in 7 Years 67 Performances 9 Different Arab countries 909,500 USD

1For further information you can contact: Zena Takieddine – zena.takieddine@arabculturefund.org


○ The Young Arab Theatre Fund (YATF)

Year List of supported performances Country The budget
2013 2 2: Egypt, Lebanon YATF production grants are between 2000 and 5000 Euros each year, It give an average of 3grants per call,and it has 3 calls a year.
2012 3 3: Lebanon, Palestine, Syria
2011 6 2: Egypt, Lebanon
2010 1 1: Egypt
2009 3 2: Jordan, Egypt
2008 5 4: Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt/ Palestine
2007 8 4: Morocco, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt
2006 6 3: Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia
2005 7 3: Syria, Tunisia, Egypt
2004 8 4: Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon
2003 3 3: Mali and Egypt, Lebanon
2002 2 3: Egypt and Ivory Cost, Lebanon
2000-2001 3 2: Egypt, Lebanon
TOTAL in 13 Years 56 Performances 7 Different Arab countries plus Mali  

2For further information you can contact Jumana Al-Yasiri: grants manager- grants@yatfund.org
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theApro <![CDATA[The Future of Gugak on the World Stage]]> The Future of Gugak on the World Stage
[Trend] How Can Gugak Approach a Global Audience?


I was approached by KAMS to write an article on ’The Future of Gugak on the World Stage.’ Questions to be answered are: How can gugak approach a global audience? And what should we keep and what should we try? Of course I feel much honored to write an article about this subject. But it is a little bit scary too. Although I’m already working for more than 20 years in the ’world music business’, and I have been presenting Korean traditional music in The Netherlands for quite some years, I would like to stress that the views presented in this article are strictly my opinion. It’s definitely not a ’recipe’ or ’a solution’.

First of all, please let me stress that KAMS is already doing a very good job in supporting gugak. Since approximately seven years more and more Korean ensembles are to be seen in festivals and in venues all over Europe. Quite a different situation from ten years ago, when hardly any Korean music was presented on the world stages.

Journey to Korean Music 2013

Quite alien to western ears

Let’s start at the beginning, the content. To speak from an European point of view, gugak is not easy listening music. Whether it is religious music, court music or folk and shamanistic music, a lot of it sounds quite alien to western ears, like the high pitched and piercing sounds of the piri and taepyoungso, the noisy cymbals and kkwaenggwari, the very slow rhythms, and the emphasis on huge vibrato. It might be traditional music for the Koreans, but it is avant-garde music for most westerners. So the audience outside Korea needs to get acquainted with it. Gugak needs a different way of listening. It’s an acquired taste. There is certainly an audience for gugak outside Korea, but clearly it will never be a huge audience.

Of course within gugak some genres are more accessible, like pungmul and samulnori. But does this mean KAMS should only support the more accessible genres? Or those Korean artists should play more ’westernized’ music in order to approach a global audience? No, not at all. To the contrary I should say. To start with the latter question, I have been asked several times by Korean artists “what music should we play”. Well, that’s not the right approach. Good music comes from the heart, from the soul. Keep close to what you like best. Don’t change your style in order to please other audiences, it won’t work.

Stick to your guns

To speak for myself, I’m not coming to Korea to see and hear western style music. There’s plenty of that where I come from. And often it is better, and certainly cheaper to put on stage. So as a Korean artist, please take that into account. If you want to play western or westernized music in order to go global, you have to compete with half of the world. It’s not impossible, but you must be very very good and very distinctive to pull that off.
So why not stick to your guns, stick to gugak. Nobody outside Korea plays it, so it’s already very distinctive. That’s a big plus. Think of the complex rhythms, the deep vibratos, and the silence between the notes in genres like sanjo, sinawi and court music. These are elements to work with. Not western harmonies. These only dilute the Korean music and, to my opinion, most of the times make it less interesting. I think people in the West like to see and hear something different, that’s what gugak can bring. Especially in these hectic modern times, the slow rhythms and build-up in sanjo and court music are a welcome change, for some people at least. There might be a future for ’slow music’, like there is a movement in the West for slow food. This directly answers the first question too. The way KAMS is working now is fine, supporting both more and less accessible genres.

Different markets, different approach

But it’s not only about the content. It’s also about the market. In order to reach out to a global audience I think there are different markets to approach. Talking from a world music perspective, first of all you have the outdoor festivals. As I mentioned before, a lot of Korean groups tour these festivals nowadays, especially pungmul and samulnori groups. In this way they reach out to a lot of people. However, I have the feeling that (outdoor) festival audience isn’t very ’loyal’. Although they might have enjoyed the performance, they are not easily convinced buying a ticket for a separate gugak performance in a venue. Secondly you have the venues who present Korean music. However, apart from some specialized world music venues there are not many halls that present gugak regularly (approximately three to four times a year), because it doesn’t attract big audiences. The audience that comes however is quite a loyal audience, an audience of music lovers. Anyhow, on gugak concerts venues almost always lose money. So more and more the tendency is to present gugak as part of a bigger indoor festival. Which means to stage gugak regularly in the future more audience is needed. There’s where western promoters and agencies and Korean musicians, managers and institutions need to help each other. How?

Well, let’s start looking at Hindustani classical music from India, one of the first non-western music styles to become big in the West (although its popularity has become much less now). This music is also ’difficult’ music. Music for acquired taste. Because sitar player Ravi Shankar performed at a western pop & rock festival where all the big western names were performing, and because bands from the west like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones started incorporating sitars in their music, this raga music suddenly reached out to a global audience. Of course these were different times; times of love and peace, and the Indian philosophy (think of the entire guru’s who toured Europe and USA) also played its part. I’m not sure there’s the same over all sensibility towards new sounds like gugak in the West in modern times, and I really now can’t think of any famous groups or composers that would incorporate geomungos, haegums or ajaengs in their music and make gugak fashionable worldwide in five years time...but who knows?
We can certainly start somewhat more modest.

Promote gugak to diverse opinion readers and journalists

First of all in Europe hardly anyone knows about gugak. It’s never to be seen on national television, hardly to be heard on national radio, and it’s not even available in record shops (apart from a single specialized one). So you need a network of journalists who are really into gugak, preferably journalists (radio, TV, internet, magazines and newspapers) working for the national channels so that it reaches out to as many people as possible. These are your ’media ambassadors’. Apart from that it is important that the music is available and accessible for an international audience. So you might not only look for distributors, but you also have to make sure the released music has got texts and translations in English too. Media need input, so it would be a big help if Korean people, especially artists and managers, (dare to) speak English too. You really don’t need to be ashamed if you don’t speak it perfectly. Nobody does, apart from the native speakers maybe.

To reach out globally collaboration and international exchange projects could be good tools, for instance the pansori-flamenco project I just saw during my visit to Korea. Through these kinds of projects gugak could be presented in completely different venues and different festivals. In this way gugak reaches out to different markets, and people get acquainted with the instruments and sound of gugak. However, quality is always the main criteria, so apart from involving a very good pansori group, you should involve a flamenco group of at least the same level as well. This of course also applies to other kind of collaborations and international exchange projects that work on a smaller scale. But always watch out not diluting the gugak too much. And if collaboration doesn’t work out as expected, and then just stop. Don’t present something that musically isn’t good enough.

Besides that you need a durable network of reliable agencies and enthusiastic promoters that stage gugak regularly. Like the ’media ambassadors’ these are ambassadors too. Talking about Europe you of course already know about and work with the world music festival network EFWMF, but there are also several other networks as well like a European Jazz Network and some national and regional venue networks. At this moment a new network is being set up, an European network of world music venues, called Lemon. I’m sure there are networks like these in the USA too and maybe in Asia itself. If not, it might be wise help establishing such a network in Asia because it’s a growing market. At the moment there’s more money in Asia than in Europe and USA, and also interest in ’world music’ is getting bigger in Asia.

These promoters and agents could also function as links to bigger (pop en rock) festivals, or to other kinds of festivals and venues, so to reach out to different audiences and different markets. I can see gugak being part of a contemporary music festival, a jazz-improvisation festival, a minimal music festival or even of certain underground festivals, all with completely different audiences. From the Korean side maybe more could be done to involve the Korean embassies in the different countries, for instance in reaching out to the Korean community. And maybe big companies like Samsung, LG, Hyundai and Kia could act as ambassadors for gugak too. Other countries like for instance Taiwan, have established offices in Europe (the Cultural Centre of Taiwan in Paris) to reach out more globally. Other examples are of course the Goethe Institut (Germany) and Institute Français (France).This could be a point of consideration, although I’m afraid the costs of running an office outweigh the potential benefits.

So to wrap things up. Regarding content, please keep your music as distinctive as possible, which means not westernizing gugak. Stay focused on high quality music. It will pay off in the end. Furthermore keep on establishing a durable and reliable network per country or region, not only with promoters and agencies, but also with journalists/media and record distributors. Use them as ambassadors for gugak and, via them, focus on other music scenes and markets too. Keep developing high quality international exchange projects, but make sure the distinctive Korean flavor is kept alive. And try to involve Korean embassies and Korean companies more in reaching out to a global audience. It will take some time, but I’m sure there is still a world to be won for gugak.

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theApro <![CDATA[Seeking sustainable performing arts Hallyu—A cultural policy task]]> A simple truth, strengthening creative ability!
[Trend] Seeking sustainable performing arts Hallyu (Korean Wave)—A cultural policy task


The burden and trappings of international exchange

Speaking as a person involved in changing cultural policies by analyzing and organizing international exchanges at a systematic level—not as an activist directly conducting international exchanges—trying to create a realistic validity for the effectiveness of international cultural exchange policies and systematic support is always burdensome. This kind of concern is on par with skepticism about whether it is possible—in the current circumstancesof international exchange, where the pathway no longer exists as a hierarchical or political monopoly—to have a systematic frame to capture the various internal motivation and results. Another sensitive issue in establishing international cultural exchange policies is that it can lead to a reverse effect, in that a social atmosphere of trying to rediscover local worth through international recognition can invert the original meaning behind such an exchange. Even the term “performing arts Hallyu” includes a sense of self-worth through the recognition of others. The origins of this thought lies in the historical context of establishing and executing cultural policies in a nationalistic state as well as in the actions of a part of the culture and arts sector that tends to follow this trend.

An article on Arts Council Korea’s announcement of its five-year plan
(Maeil Business Newspaper, June 26th, 1972)

Korea’s modernization had a tendency to form in a biased way, in a social climate where the model of developed nations was seen as fair and effective, and the culture and arts sector was no exception to this. The hierarchical and political characteristics of Korea’s international exchange activities during the 1960s and 1970s, when there were limits to overseas activities, were quite dense. At this stage, when paths towards cultural exchanges were limited and the formation of autonomous exchanges were underdeveloped in the culture and arts sector, it was common for the government to choose the content for exchange as well as how to introduce this content. In introducing Korean culture and arts to the international community, there is an inescapable connection with local cultural policies. The “restoration and development of national culture” paradigm that was prevalent at the time was reflected in Korea’s international cultural relationships as well. With this, in the public sector, the main chunk of the support was for exchange activities centering on cultural and arts genres that featured the high quality of Korea’s traditional culture. Rather than being an exchange of mutual communication, the policy goal was to increase outside interest in Korean culture by presenting an exotic cultural identity. Strictly speaking however, every country in the world has its own culture and a singular aesthetic principle and its own way of realizing this. The problem is that when these unique cultural and artistic values become known internationally, the way of getting this recognition wasn’t through communication with those who embrace this culture and finding interactive meanings in this process. Thus, by showing what one thinks is an absolute value—instead of trying to communicate and understand through exchange—international exchange has become no more than promotion and advertisement.



Tasks for revitalizing international exchange

The direction for Korea’s policies regarding international exchange of culture and arts had been formed through a mix of official government reports, promotion, and the concept of diplomacy. The fact that international activities of national organizations or associations were not conducted in a way that materializes the essence of international cultural exchange is revealed in the fact that there aren’t many specialists or international exchange departments in these organizations. For international exchanges to be conducted thoroughly, this kind of manpower is crucial, and the organizational structure, manpower, and funds to realize this is also needed. However, the structure mentioned above does not support this kind of exchange. Cultural centers overseas are being built, and promotion and cultural diplomacy efforts are beginning in earnest. As such, although the foundation for introducing Korean culture and art overseas is starting to build up, at this stage, when Korean organizations do not have a clear vision or goal for international exchange, it is clear that maximizing the full effect of this kind of infrastructure is tough.

Bongsan talchum (traditional Korean mask dance drama)
performance at Le Maison des Cultures du Monde in France

In addition, overseas Korean culture centers operate mainly to introduce Korean culture and art overseas in a passive way and act as a public gateway of sorts rather than to act as a portal for mutual exchange. Government support of the arts, which had been conducted as a means of cultural diplomacy and promotion, changed to include two different approaches to operations along with awareness of the economic benefits of culture and the arts——“interactive exchange” and “overseas expansion. ”By 2012, the number of overseas culture centers had increased to 24. Although there was this emphasis on expanding the exterior infrastructure, there were limits to expanding general international exchange for the performing arts sector, including the private sector. Rather than having a connection to a government-made infrastructure, support for international exchange in the performing arts sector relies on the role of the government (Korea Arts Management Service) and Arts Council Korea, including support for individual groups’ participation in international festivals and overseas markets; support for artists to participate in local and overseas residency programs; support for improving the competence of international exchange; support for international cooperation (production); and support for nurturing future talent in the international sector. Although there may be different arguments in clearly defining performing arts Hallyu, if we consider it firstly to be about a rise in interest in Korean performing arts, and secondly, as a rise in artistic creativity through this, the tasks below must be resolved.

- Supporting creativity for diversity
Firstly, the most important thing is to conduct policies that can make a platform for a fuller scope of creativity locally. Recently, there was the case of a rather twisted criticism regarding a famous Korean director winning the top award at a prestigious international film festival, saying that the film’s success was special because it had been made with the intention of competing at overseas film festivals. Another example is a famous foreign director saying that the specialness of Korean films lies in the difference between its vampire film, Thirst, and the Hollywood vampire film, Twilight. Although the development of the Korean film industry leaves much to be desired and hasn’t been receiving positive responseslately, and although the Korean films mentioned are not made by unknown, new directors, this just goes to prove just how important maintaining a widespread platform for creativity is in international competence. In the end, in order to maintain and develop performing arts Hallyu, we need to make it possible for the support for Korean performing arts to be deducted to this kind of platform.

- Expansion of the topography of consumption
Secondly, the performing arts ecosystem can be complete only when there is circulation between creation and consumption. This is sometimes interpreted in a negative way, in that it heightens the creation of works that reflect the tastes and likings of the public. However, when looking at the fact that a sense of place and continuing the reproduction element is important in performing arts, a performance that can’t reach the public emotionally will only turn out to become some record on paper. It also becomes important in the fact that the autochthonous and constructive know-how gained by the creator when meeting with the audience plays a crucial role in international exchange activities.

Le Maison des Cultures du Monde in France Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin

Although the quality of works is important for the landscape of consumption to expand, there needs to be support for developing more diverse tastes to prove that popular appeal is not the only connecting point in creation and consumption. Thus, there is a need to nurture the ability of current and potential audiences to have more sensibility towards diverse types of creative works and to appreciate these works. International exchange is not a one-way street, so instead of just featuring Korean performances in other countries, there also is a need for Korean audiences to be able to take in works from other countries as well. When the consistency of context and cohesion is heightened, the understanding and interactivity of the Korean audience will be heightened as well. However, fundamentally, there is a need to train the local audiences’ consistency of so that they can appreciate performance art works from various cultures in a more mutually comparable level rather than simply regard them as “exotic.” Communicating the values and problems of the same generation is possible through various mediums and platforms. However, understanding of context and change can only be achieved by being in contact with diverse views from the past to the present. Thus, improving audiences’ contextual understanding the process of translating a culture will contribute to making a balanced inbound and outbound scene. In this sense, by continuously providing various performing arts around the world, from ethnic to modern, La Maison des la Cultures du Monde in Paris, France, and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Germany, are able to contribute to the horizontal and vertical expansion of international exchange among consumer audience.

- Strengthening the capability of specialist manpower
Thirdly, as mentioned in the beginning, the important thing when it comes to international exchange is internal motivation for exchange. This internal motivation—whether it lies in exporting works, artistic inspiration for instilling creative drive, or producing innovative, creative works—is the force that hauls through all stages of exchange. However, in this process, if this motivation is not backed by a system, it can’t be realized. In this sense, organizations and manpower that professionally support and conduct international exchange in state-run and public cultural arts institutions are the very basic element for international exchange activities. If it becomes possible for overseas cultural centers to be run by international exchange professionals, leading to the building of internal and external networks and real-time exchange of information, exchange will be conducted in a more effective way. Also, in the private sector, there will be more suitable support. It is also important for private arts organizations to understand and broaden their appreciation for the landscape of international exchange; creating an exchange network that centers on the actual scene, when connected to the system, has a higher possibility of creating synergy. The reason that UK’s Visiting Arts and Switzerland’s Pro Helvetia hire employees with a vast knowledge of the respective culture and arts sector and conduct cultural and arts exchanges in a public format is because it isn’t possible to achieve good results if the private sector can’t absorb the professional manpower internally.

Picture of the Joseon Tongsinsa _ photo by Busan Cultural Foundation

The simple truth

Although this may be a story from a distant past, the fact that international cultural exchange is at its height when a nation’s cultural influence is peaking has been historically proven. I had the opportunity to learn about the tongsinsa (diplomatic missions) and yeonhengsa (envoy) systems through the Busan Cultural Foundation’s ’Joseon Tongsinsa Project’ when I participated in the Connection Box eventorganized by the Korea Arts Management Service. I found that historical events have a fuller meaning than we generally think. It has been known that the aim of operating the tongsinsa was not only diplomatic reasons but also to encourage Japan to take in Joseon culture. What kind of meaning lies in the fact that the severance of the tongsinsa system occurred when Japan formed their own cultural pride by accepting and internalizing Western culture before Joseon? What kind of meaning lies in the fact that the leading artists of the time, including Kim Hong-do, participated inyearly eventsduring the reign of King Jeongjo, exalting the creative capacity of the era and making latter-era Joseon culture and arts internationally known? The lesson that history gives us is that, before focusing on international exchange or export, the capacity of exchange can be changed by the full, even overflowing source that is the internal capacity of the nation’s culture and arts. Before thinking of how to face the outside world or occupy it, the simple truth is to look internally first. This simple truth exists because it is timeless.

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theApro <![CDATA[Modern, Mixed and Multiple: Two Pioneering Theatre Practitioners in Malaysia and Singapore]]> Modern, Mixed and Multiple: Two Pioneering Theatre Practitioners in Malaysia and Singapore
[Trend] Krishen Jit from Malaysia and Kuo Pao Kun from Singapore.


Contemporary theatre in Malaysia and Singapore is arguably defined by the multiplicity of performance vocabularies and spoken languages used in performance to reflect the rich cultural plurality of society. As two nations with multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-lingual populations that were once part of a shared history, both countries have developed official multicultural policies that acknowledge these diversities, and seek to translate their significance into national and cultural identity. Hence theatre has also reflected this mix and collage of cultures, sustaining and advancing practices in a range of languages (English, Malay, Chinese, Tamil), while using a variety of styles and approaches (traditional, modern, realistic, non-realistic, inter-cultural, inter-disciplinary, multilingual, etc.) to reflect the fusions and tensions that emerge.

Two theatre practitioners who were pioneers in forging contextually grounded interdisciplinary and multi-cultural approaches to theatre were Krishen Jit (1939-2005) from Malaysia, and Kuo Pao Kun (1939-2002) from Singapore. Acknowledged doyens in their field, they experimented with a range of cultural forms and theatre vocabularies styles (such as traditional shadow puppetry, martial arts, method acting and Brechtiandefamiliarisation) to develop profound articulations of a mixed and modern society. Their theatre was admittedly rooted in various local cultures but consciously adapted to the changes of contemporaneity by bringing these multiple elements together. Hence their work was often seminal in advancing new visions of local theatre and highly influential in deepening philosophical and process-based practices in theatre-making, training and research that engaged with difference. This stemmed from their backgrounds of multiplicity and ongoing change.

Krishen Jit _ © Five Arts Centre Kuo Pao Kun _ © Intercultural Theatre Institute

KrishenJit, born to emigrant Punjabi-Indian merchant parents, in the then capital of British Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, was committed to developing theatre that expressed and interrogated issues of cultural diversity, change and conflict. Growing up in Batu Road, the business heart of a colonial-cosmopolitan environment, Jit was exposed to a wide range of cultural influences, having access to street performances of Chinese Opera, Hindi cinema, outdoor Bangsawan (Malay Folk Opera), as well as Cabaret performances. Later his involvement in the Drama Society of the Victoria Institution, his alma mater, would introduce him to a canon of English plays that further broadened his spectrum of theatre. This awareness of the wide mix of elements that constituted Malaysian culture would critically inform his attempts to forge local theatre that allowed for this variety and openness. Hence for Jit, multiculturalism in societies such as Malaysia and Singapore could be experienced ‘within bodies’ and not just ‘between bodies’ – thus allowing for juxtapositions of aesthetic and historical elements in inter- and intra- cultural ways.1)

Kuo Pao Kun also experienced a life of frequent shift and cultural multiplicity. He was born in a small village called Hebei, in China, and after brief stays in Beijing and Hong Kong, he eventually moved to live with his father in Singapore as a young boy of ten. As a young adult he travelled to Australia to study and work before returning to Singapore to settle for good. Nonetheless he subsequently journeyed to various parts of the world in his career as playwright and director. Ongoing encounters with difference accorded him a strong sense of being at the ‘margins’ of culture, where the desire to ‘invent vocabularies’ to express these ‘uncharted’ and ‘unfathomed’ experiences was ever present and powerful.2) In Singapore, Kuo was particularly alert to the challenge of generating ‘Open Culture’ where multiple influences could inform a society largely made up of immigrants from varied Asian backgrounds.

Working across official and perceived cultural boundaries such as race, gender, language, class and religion, to contest reductive and rigid norms, was a critical part of the theatre vision that Jit and Kuo developed in response to their contexts. Resisting prejudice and bias that curtailed the capacity for cultural equity, they developed approaches to theatre that juxtaposed and intersected elements from varied cultural histories to emphasise their co-existence and mutual imbrication. This included collaging and overlapping aspects of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Western cultures that were often seen as separate and incompatible. They proposed alternative imaginings of cultures as discursive and relational, by performing the interaction and mixes that were part of everyday life.

Multilingual plays that saw actors speak different languages and create mixed vocabularies of performance, were perhaps most efficacious in depicting how multi-cultural societies were accustomed to improvising ways of connecting and communicating. Kuo’s seminal play Mama Looking for Her Cat, first staged in 1988, was Singapore’s first multilingual performance, which addressed issues of growing inter-generational estrangement amid the pressure to become modern, using the politics of language.3) Similarly Jit’s devised multilingual performance US: Actions and Images, first performed in 1995, examined perceptions of identity and family history among young Malaysians grappling with

contemporary urbanization and the disparities of race.4) As in several other works, they articulated ways in which being Malaysian and/or Singaporean meant acknowledging the co-existence of several cultures, and being rooted in histories that were continually adaptive and able to incorporate aspects of difference without fear of cultural dissolution.

Kuo Pao Kun < Mama Looking For Her Cat > (1988) _ © The Theatre Practice Ltd. Krishen Jit < A Chance Encounter > (1999) _ © Five Arts Centre

Jit and Kuo worked with theatre as an imaginative and empowering space to advance contextually-grounded and indigenous notions of culture. As public intellectuals in newly formed post-colonial nations, their politics involved moving away from Western-centric notions of ‘progress’, drawing instead on local aesthetics and performance traditions to engage the particularities of Malaysia and Singapore. Nonetheless their awareness of the deep and critical influences of the West, in political, social, educational and cultural spheres, also meant they incorporated aspects of the West without being dominated by them. Hence they experimented widely with the traditional and modern, Asian and Western, folk and classical, realist and expressionist – not as binary opposites but sources from which to explore possible ways of embodying and enacting what it meant to be multiple, mixed and modern. Kuo’s play Lao Jiu expressed the loss of a traditional Chinese puppetry form due to the overwhelming pragmatism of a rationalized and economic materialism in Singapore.5) Similarly Jit’s staging of K.S. Maniam’s The Cord in 1984 and 1994 was an attempt to engage how cultural conflicts across race, class and gender were linked to wider national advances towards economic affluence and a streamlined cultural rationalism in Malaysia.6)

Jit and Kuo’s work established a practice of contemporary experimentalism in their respective theatre communities from the 1970s till their untimely passing in the early 2000s, serving as a critical foundation for several practitioners in years ahead. Respected as public intellectuals, their views were often elicited in relation to wider issues concerning the arts and society, and their writings on the arts and culture have continued to inspire and provoke thought.7)


annotation

  • 1) In a 2004 recorded interview with the writer, Jit articulated his view that ‘multiculturalism in societies such as Malaysia, Singapore and even India, is experienced within the body and not just between bodies’.
  • 2) Kuo, P.K.; ‘Foreword’ in Images at the Margins: A Collection of KuoPaoKun’s Plays; (Times Books International, Singapore, 2000); p.8.
  • 3) See Quah, S. R.; ‘To Imagine, To Represent and To Construct: The Practice of Multilingual Theatre in Singapore’ in Coping with the Contemporary: Selves, Identity and Community; (The Esplanade Co. Ltd., Singapore, 2004);p.11-24, for further discussion of multilingual theatre in Singapore and Kuo’s critical contribution to its development.
  • 4) See Rajendran, C. and Wee, C.J. W-L.; ‘The Theatre of KrishenJit: The Politics of Staging Difference in Multicultural Malaysia’in The Drama Review (TDR) Volume 51 Number 2 (T194) Summer 2007 (MIT Press, Cambridge MA), p.11-23, for further discussion of Jit’s approaches to staging issues of cultural difference in Malaysian theatre.
  • 5) See Wee, C.J. W-L; ‘Introduction: KuoPaoKun’s Contemporary Theatre’ in The Complete Works of KuoPao Kun: Volume Four – Plays in English edited by C.J.W-L. Wee; (The Theatre Practice and Global Publishing, Singapore, 2012) p. xi-xxx, for further discussion of Kuo’s theatre as a response to contemporary Singapore.
  • 6) See Rajendran, C; ‘Performing Cosmopolitan Clash and Collage: KrishenJit’sStagings of the ‘Stranger’ in Malaysia’ in Identity in Crossroad Civilisations: Ethnicity, Nationalism and Globalism in Asia edited by Erich Kolig, Vivienne SM Angeles and Sam Wong; (Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam, 2009) p.173-194, for Jit’s theatre as a response to cosmopolitan culture and contemporary change in Malaysia.
  • 7) See Rowland, K. (ed.); KrishenJit: An Uncommon Position – Selected Writings; (Contemporary Asian Art Centre, Singapore, 2003), for collection of articles written by Jit. See Kuo, P. K., The Complete Works of KuoPao Kun – Volume Seven: Papers and Speeches edited by Tan Beng Luan (World Scientific Publishing,Singapore, 2005) for collection of Kuo’s writing.
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theApro <![CDATA[Focus on Networks!]]> Focus on Networks!
[Trend] Looking for a Sustainable Korean Wave in the Performing Arts: The Role of the Public Sector


We use the term “Korean Wave,” or Hallyu, to describe the trend of Korean popular culture finding an international audience. It’s a very non-cultural term, though—indeed, it’s quite commercial, political, unilateral. Personally, I have never once used it in all my time spent as director of the Korean Cultural Center in Paris. This is partly because it is so contrary to the values and goals of international cultural exchange, but also because even aficionados of Korean culture around the world dislike the term. In our own internal forums for discussion, we understand the term Hallyu, in the context of the performing arts, to mean a push for greater interchange activity with Korean productions. I would like to begin this piece by talking about the Korean Cultural Center in France.

Korean Cultural Center(KCC) : A Focus on Networking and Marketing

As of December 2012, there were a total of 24 Korean Cultural Centers around the world. Except for the ones in the US, Japan, and France, which were founded more than 30 years ago, all of them are relatively new, having arisen in the last ten years. There are also around 90 Sejong Academies teaching the Korean language to people around the world. Conditions are almost uniformly poor—there is usually one person deployed as chief, with locals staffing the different positions—but I think they offer enough of a foothold for sharing and spreading Korean culture and art internationally. In the past, these centers have held events to introduce Korean culture and art, intermittently and directly,to local audiences on behalf of the Korean government. They have also worked to promote Korea’s national image by publicizing its culture. But now that Korean popular culture has extended its reach outside Asia and is drawing attention from around the world, the KCC’s mission needs to be recalibrated. As we all know, culture is different from information, technology, or international politics. Sharing it cannot just be about broadening understanding through publicity. Culture is something to share and love together, as a personal experience. What Korea’s culture and art need is not to be used for one-off, diplomatic events around the world. They require localization within the context of different cultural spheres, part of a permanent, bidirectional system of interchange on the ground in whatever country. The KCCs have been set up to fulfill just this role, so what we need now is to find a way of using them to promote exchange in culture and the performing arts. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is now considering some possible roles for the centers to play as major actors in turning Korea into a “cultural power that connects with the world.” These include those of cultural intermediaries promoting international exchange, network-makers, cultural marketers, and providers of Korea-related information. I think this is a positive change. In the paragraphs that follow, I will focus on those roles, their meaning, and their effects.

Deciding on a New Mission

During my time as a KCC director (2007–2011), I worked to promote the center as a space for cultural information and activities. I changed the external mission from serving as a supervisor for Korean cultural efforts to functioning as an active mediator, helping Korean culture and artists find a normal (and rightful) place in the overseas community and extend their reach. The first stage in this was ① meeting with as many local cultural centers, spaces, and festival organizers as I could and sharing Korean culture and arts with them, working to persuade them to incorporate Korean things into their programs. It’s a time-consuming process, but not a very difficult one if you do the research on the local scene. The French and German cultural centers in Korea were very prolific with this kind of work, and it paid dividends. The most active of the 46 overseas cultural centers in Paris—those of Taiwan, Great Britain, Belgium, and Germany—focus on this sort of thing all year long. At the Japanese culture center (Japan Foundation), there is one official in charge of the program for Paris and two more for the rest of the country.

After that comes the next stage : ② connecting invitees with the Korean cultural specialists (or specialty groups) in charge of that kind of work. These include Korean festivals and related organizations, planners, and groups. This way, professionals from both countries can get in touch directly, meeting each other’s needs and carrying out the necessary preparations—with a professional network naturally taking shape in the process. Once the matchmaking process is finished, the next role for the cultural center is ③ coordinating between them, or collaborating as a state organization. While the project is going on, it cooperates actively on publicity, working to ④ create another human network with Korean professionals overseas, encouraging them to attend events and building ties with local institutions. It is these professionals—Korean and local—who will be developing the project on a permanent basis. Obviously, the centers should also provide help as needed when the situation calls for intervention duringthe professionals’ preparation process. Its staff might write recommendations for assistance with travel expenses between Korea and France; the center may contact the support organization itself to make a request. And when difficulties arise with paying artists or carrying out events, it coordinates and helps out. The organizers are tremendously grateful for this, since they can receive assistance that is much more active than what they encounter in their other programs, and they tend to do whatever they can to ensure a successful performance and follow-up programming (if only for the feather in their own caps). As a result, the cultural center ends up becoming a joint supervisor or planner rather than a lone organizer. But its role goes beyond this: it also ⑤ offers creative support for local (in our case, French) artists working with Korean artists or groups, contacting the French cultural center in Korea and various support organizations at home as part of an active effort to create an environment where artists on both sides can work on an international collaboration. During my term, it was most often dance, but we also supported coproductions in a range of other genres—theater, music (classical, Korean traditional, jazz), and opera—with results that found an audience not only in France and Korea but around the world.

2012 touring performance of Rhinoceros, a Korean-French coproduction

Boosting Synergy with Networking Connections

As this suggests, a lot of time and effort go into creating a single program.But once that work is done, most of the follow-up programs proceed straightforwardly and lead to requests from similar organizations and festivals, which then develop in their turn—and all of this because of the first example of successful Korean cultural or artistic programming within the French network. Productions enter naturally into the artists’ network, and the cultural center contributes as catalyst to expanding them spatially and temporally. Once a dramatic piece has been recognized in the performing arts network, it leads to invitations from various theaters, first for the work in question and then for other examples of Korean performing arts. In the French case, the group Wuturi’s plays Koreans and Wuturi were first invited in 2008 by Scène Nationale Evreux Louviers, a network of public theaters. They were repeatedly invited back after that that, programmed by other national theaters of dramatic centers in 2009 and 2012. In the process, theaters become more interested in other Korean performances, and a version of Hamlet by the group Yohangza ended up being invited in 2010 for a third-year Korean performance program at the Centre Dramatique National in Dijon. Similar examples include Lee Jaram’s Sacheon-ga (Paris, Lyons, and Avignon in 2011) and Eokcheok-ga (Lyons and Paris in 2012), as well asa coproduction of Rhinoceros by the Théâtre des Halles, HANPAC, and the KCC (Avignon and Seoul in 2010/2011, a tour of six French theaters in 2012).

Other cases can be seen in the traditional arts. Several different programs have been included in the yearly Imagination Festival organized by La Maison des Cultures du Monde (the Yeongsanjae ceremony in 2008, performances by Ha Yong-bu and Ensemble Baramgot in 2009, another show by Ensemble Baramgot in 2010, the Bongsan talchum in 2012), resulting in a continued partnership taking shape. In the fall, regular recitals have been scheduled at La Maison, with performances and tours invited to many other theaters and museums afterwards. Back in Korea, the Gugak FM radio network, the National Gugak Center, and producer Kim Seon-guk have been working to develop collaborative ties, with a ten-year plan set up in 2011 to release records of traditional gugak music on the state-run network Radio France’s Ocora label. Releases like a 2011 recording of a Jongmyo Jeryeak performance and a 2012 recording of a gayageumsanjo in the Choi Ok-sam style, as well as continued radio broadcasts, have helped share Korean music and build a base of French listeners. In the area of dance, a number of residence/performance invitations have been extended, primarily to soloists (Lee Sun-A, Jeong Geumhyung). While discussions were under way on dance programming, long efforts at persuasion paid off when the Festival Paris quartier d’été invited the Eun-me Ahn Company to perform in 2013. The networking successes in the performing arts have also led to invitations to various arts festivals, many of which have programmed special Korean sections highlighting different performances. The list has grown to include the Puppet Festival in Charleville-Mézières (2009), the Strasbourg International Contemporary Music Festival (2010), the Festival Made in Asia in Toulouse (2011), the Digital Arts Festival in Enghien-les-Bains (2010), and the Théâtres des Halles, Scène d’Avignon (2010/2011), which has led in turn to programming at various different festivals throughout the year.

Performance at Gallery Be-Being playing at the Digital Arts Festival in Enghien-les-Bains

Another example that is well-known to Koreans—a hugely successful June 2011 K-pop concert in Paris—was not the result of any independent or one-off planning efforts. It came from a process that was similar to the above examples. In its simplest terms, it was the product of a human network gathering young French people with a love for Korean culture together. Around five or six people, students in a Korean language class at the Cultural Center, got together in June 2009 to discuss different cultural projects. They ended up forming an organization called Korean Connection and spending the next two years planning and supporting yearly Korean culture festivals, summer culture camps, summer Korean courses, and holiday events. They were planning a large-scale Korean culture festival in May 2011 as part of these efforts when they decided to stage a K-pop concert. The KCC, which receives public (government) support, provided an overall framework for the performance, and organization members pitched in with all the preparations: renting a theater, conducting various questionnaires, demonstrating at the Louvre, organizing huge airport welcome parties, and publicizing the concert. SM Entertainment, a Korean agency, developed a world tour project, and the event was staged with a mega-scale concert production called Live Nation. In short, everything was the result of committed contributions by private professionals, the government, and local enthusiasts. The local production company, one of the biggest in the field, was astonished by the success of the concert, and theconcert received a warm welcome from the French pop industry. It wasn’t just a victory for a single event aimed at bringing K-pop to Europe—it also made it easier for follow-up efforts to be organized. The positive response within the professional network led quite seamlessly to events like KBS Music Bank and a concert by Super Junior. This wasn’t the only opportunity offered to the arts, however. The fans’ grandparents, parents, siblings, and friends all came to learn about these attempts to show the “magic of Korea” in the fields they enjoyed. As people for whom performing arts were a daily pastime, they cheerfully flocked to the Korean performances. The new demand was a very encouraging sign to our local partners on the ground.

Building a Networking Support System

As this suggests, a lot of time and effort go into creating a single program.But once that work is done, most of the follow-up programs proceed straightforwardly and lead to requests from similar organizations and festivals, which then develop in their turn—and all of this because of the first example of successful Korean cultural or artistic programming within the French network. Productions enter naturally into the artists’ network, and the cultural center contributes as catalyst to expanding them spatially and temporally. Once a dramatic piece has been recognized in the performing arts network, it leads to invitations from various theaters, first for the work in question and then for other examples of Korean performing arts. In the French case, the group Wuturi’s plays Koreans and Wuturi were first invited in 2008 by Scène Nationale Evreux Louviers, a network of public theaters. They were repeatedly invited back after that that, programmed by other national theaters of dramatic centers in 2009 and 2012. In the process, theaters become more interested in other Korean performances, and a version of Hamlet by the group Yohangza ended up being invited in 2010 for a third-year Korean performance program at the Centre Dramatique National in Dijon. Similar examples include Lee Jaram’s Sacheon-ga (Paris, Lyons, and Avignon in 2011) and Eokcheok-ga (Lyons and Paris in 2012), as well asa coproduction of Rhinoceros by the Théâtre des Halles, HANPAC, and the KCC (Avignon and Seoul in 2010/2011, a tour of six French theaters in 2012).

Other cases can be seen in the traditional arts. Several different programs have been included in the yearly Imagination Festival organized by La Maison des Cultures du Monde (the Yeongsanjae ceremony in 2008, performances by Ha Yong-bu and Ensemble Baramgot in 2009, another show by Ensemble Baramgot in 2010, the Bongsan talchum in 2012), resulting in a continued partnership taking shape. In the fall, regular recitals have been scheduled at La Maison, with performances and tours invited to many other theaters and museums afterwards. Back in Korea, the Gugak FM radio network, the National Gugak Center, and producer Kim Seon-guk have been working to develop collaborative ties, with a ten-year plan set up in 2011 to release records of traditional gugak music on the state-run network Radio France’s Ocora label. Releases like a 2011 recording of a Jongmyo Jeryeak performance and a 2012 recording of a gayageumsanjo in the Choi Ok-sam style, as well as continued radio broadcasts, have helped share Korean music and build a base of French listeners. In the area of dance, a number of residence/performance invitations have been extended, primarily to soloists (Lee Sun-A, Jeong Geumhyung). While discussions were under way on dance programming, long efforts at persuasion paid off when the Festival Paris quartier d’été invited the Eun-me Ahn Company to perform in 2013. The networking successes in the performing arts have also led to invitations to various arts festivals, many of which have programmed special Korean sections highlighting different performances. The list has grown to include the Puppet Festival in Charleville-Mézières (2009), the Strasbourg International Contemporary Music Festival (2010), the Festival Made in Asia in Toulouse (2011), the Digital Arts Festival in Enghien-les-Bains (2010), and the Théâtres des Halles, Scène d’Avignon (2010/2011), which has led in turn to programming at various different festivals throughout the year.

People lining up for a K-pop performance

Building a Networking Support System

Every kind of international cultural exchange needs networking and partnerships to produce results and progress. Professionals in the host country have to include the Korean performing arts in their own programs if we are to expand our audience base, promote consumption of Korean culture and art, and create a new culture through human exchanges. But it is when cultural centers (i.e., the government) and the Korean culture and arts communities lend their support, helping local professionals in those fields to “grow,” that the localization truly takes off. A good example of this can be seen in film, where influential French cineastes with expertise on Korean cinema helped it gain prestige locally

One last area that needs to be addressed is the kind of basic networking system that is crucial to promoting international cultural exchange. Because I had been directly involved in the culture and arts scene before becoming the director of a cultural center, I was able to set up a local network and make connections with various organizations in Korea—but this is often a tall order for a post that is typically occupied by an ordinary civil servant. That is why there needs to be a general support organization for international cultural exchange, working throughout the year to lend full support to the strategic presentation, local invitation, and propagation of various types of cultural content (primarily the province of private cultural and artistic practitioners). Organizations like France’s Institut Français, the British Council, and Germany’s Goethe Institute all work to develop and support international cultural exchange based on their country’s culture and arts promotion policies. In short, we require a primary channel and support base for various forms of cultural and artistic interchange. In the absence of such an entity, the KCC in France has been operating with support from various offices and groups associated with the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Korea Arts Management Service, the Arts Council Korea, the Korea Foundation, local government cultural foundations, and festivals. For the performing arts to achieve the kind of presence on the international stage that the Korean Wave has, the role of Korea’s overseas cultural centers needs to change along the lines described above, and a suitably sized domestic organization needs to be established to oversee these efforts. Art is not like popular culture. It needs policy support in the medium to long term to create the kind of environment where it can win the hearts of the international public.

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theApro <![CDATA[Why we pay attention to the "Korean Wave" in Performing Arts - Cultural Identity]]> [Trend] Why we pay attention to the "Korean Wave" in Performing Arts - Cultural Identity
How we have met and failed to meet Hallyu: the hopes of a music director


Hallyu, the Korean wave, is the hottest topic of conversation not only in the area of music but among practitioners of virtually every genre of the performing arts. Music is at the very heart of Hallyu, from the international invasion of K-pop idols to the recent excitement over Psy.

When I see Southeast Asian fans who are more up-to-date on Korean singers than I am, jazz festival guests who are exceedingly grateful for being put up at a hotel in Gangnam, and overseas musicians who send us videos in which they handily perform songs by Korean artists, I feel as if Hallyu is almost here. But when I recall that the young Korean music students who sweep the prizes at global music competitions—along with a host of established musicians such as Myung-whun Chung, Sarah Chang, and Han-na Chang—are not regarded as part of Hallyu, and when I see that Korean gugak, or traditional music, has still not arrived at the center of Hallyu, even as many gugak musicians perform overseas with the support of the government—I feel as if Hallyu is still very far away.

Koreans are still waiting to see Hallyu become a reality in any genre of music other than commercial music centered on K-pop. Despite that, Hallyu is being touted as the route that all of us must take. Though I do not regard the Hallyu that is being bandied about in the press today as the genuine article, I have come up with a few pointers in the hope that, in the end, just once, the world will be touched by Hallyu in music and the performing arts.

The new Hallyu must start with the authentic Korean experience

When we Koreans talk about a musical Hallyu, some of the examples we often bring up are flamenco in Spain, fado in Portugal, and samba in Brazil. Perhaps this can help us understand why we feel such a gap between the Hallyu that we want and the Hallyu that we actually see today. What I mean is that the musical examples listed above are not merely genres of music but are rather musical forms that embody the history and identity of their respective peoples and nations. The people of Spain have laughed and cried with flamenco for hundreds of years. When people from other countries listen to flamenco, they are naturally reminded of everything related to Spain. They are able to experience Spain through the music even if they have never actually been to the country.

This is not just aquestion of the starting point, or where Hallyu ought to begin, but also a question of the direction in which we are moving, or what we hope to gain from Hallyu. Do we want Hallyu to enable the people of the world to experience the past and present of Korea and to imagine its future? If so, it will be necessary for us to begin with something that shows the most authentic aspects of the Korean identity.

Not long ago, Arirang was added to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. So far, people from other countries have learned that Arirang is a Korean song, and its melody, at times playful and at times sorrowful, has brought many people both to laughter and to tears. If we need to define a starting point for musical Hallyu, something like Arirang would probably be a good choice. It is Korean music, of course, but it is also Korean history, and Korean emotion.

The new Hallyu must be first-rate

Every day, the global music and performing arts market is becoming more commercialized and specialized. If Hallyu is to become a valuable brand in such a market, Korea’s music and performing arts must be first-rate according to global standards. Just 10 years ago, no one could judge Korean music according to that standard. Korean music was no more than new, unusual music from a small country in Asia, and there was no one who was researching it or who could compare it with other kinds of music. But today, just as Koreans are able to determine whether a musical performance in a variety of overseas genres is of the highest quality (I am speaking not of commercial but of artistic assessment), so too has the world begun judging and evaluating Korean music.

Considering all of this, there are two kinds of musicians that have been a source of concern for me as of late. First are the musicians who have their hearts set on performing overseas but do not pay any heed to their own ability, even as they pretend that their music is the very essence of Korean music. Second are the musicians who are so confident in their own “amazing” talent that they bring along amateur musicians to play with them on tour. There have been some particularly embarrassing examples of this with groups that include Western-style instruments in their performance. Frequently, the overall assessment and quality of a group is diminished because the members have not gained a deep understanding of Western music or because the group includes subpar musicians. This sort of thing can sometimes even be seen at important events intended to show off the level of Korean music and performing arts to people from around the world. This is one of the greatest factors impeding the expansion of Hallyu.

A performance by Noreum Machi

The new Hallyu will only be achievable through collaboration and exchange

It is no longer possible for Hallyu to be brought about through music and the performing arts by themselves. Instead, it must be achieved through the coordinated effort of all of the available systems and people that are involved in these fields. On a direct level, this could include the division of roles among a variety of related organizations, the development of support systems, and organized promotion and marketing. On an indirect level, this might involve a system for educating performers, stimulation of the domestic industry in Korea, and research and archive development in connection with various art and performing arts sectors. Furthermore, since this kind of Hallyu is not sustainable without a certain degree of marketability, there is also a need for a culture-based business model. At the present, it is no exaggeration to say that this entire system in any given country represents the cultural and artistic level of that country.

Cultural history tells us that, when the Beatles learned from and took part in musical exchange with the Indian Ravi Shankar, Asian culture was able to establish itself as a culture in the West. In the same way, creating a platform for ongoing exchange with performers based in various cultures can be more effective than unilateral efforts to export Korean music and performing arts. In particular, compared to other genres, it is easier for music to assume an identity, and modification and cooperation can also be achievedsimply in music. Since music facilitates exchange with a variety of genres, including dance, theatre, film, and musicals, we can look forward to seeing the new Hallyu emerge not only in the genre of music but also in these other genres.

Hallyu was born in an excessively commercial environment, and the results of that are highly unnatural. Nevertheless, following this example is becoming a “stressful choice” for many people involved in the performing arts today. But the thing that we must not forget is that the success of Hallyu would only mean that more people will learn about Korean culture, and that Korea’s many performing arts are worthy of our praise and admiration whether or not Hallyu succeeds.

While it does seem a little late for this, I dream of the day that I will hear Billy Joel joining Hwang Byung-ki for a version of Kim Min-ki’s “Beautiful Person,” for the day that I will hear Kim Duk-soo and U2 teaming up to play the Jindo Arirang.

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theApro <![CDATA[What’s Next for Malaysia’s Performing Arts Sector?]]> What’s Next for Malaysia’s Performing Arts Sector?
[Trend] Borak Arts Series―A healthy conversation on Malaysia’s performing arts


From June 15 to 16, the Borak Arts Series conference, catering to art specialists and business leaders, was held at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC). The word borak means "conversation" in Malay, and accordingly, the conference was organized to provide a space for the public and private sector and people in the creative industries to gather and discuss issues.

The winds of change sweeping over Malaysia

At present, Malaysia’s arts and culture sector is facing big changes. In May, Malaysia’s Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture and Ministry of Tourism were combined to form the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.The last time that this ministry used this name was in 1987. The local arts and culture sector is welcoming this change―the reuniting of culture and tourism, which are inseparable―with open arms. Also, the Malaysian government is rolling up its sleeves to support the country’s performing arts. Early this year, the National Department for Culture and Arts (JKKN), under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, announced it will give around USD1.25million as part of the National Creative Industry Policy to reinvigorate the country’s performing arts. This fund will be divided into five parts and will include funding to cover production costs and partially pay for performance venues or equipment, creative support, audience development, and strengthening competency. The fund will be Malaysia’s first ever open call, and artists and those in the performing arts will be invited to directly apply for funding.

For Malaysia’s private performing arts sector,which hadnot receivedany government support, these recent changes are something to welcome with open arms. Because it was taking place amidst these changes, the Borak Arts Series felt like a more meaningful attempt.

Tearing down boundaries and attempting to have a conversation

The two-day conference included sessions encompassing various topics and networking programs catering to those working in the public, private, and business sectors. The number of specialists invited to give talks or moderate totaled around 50, and the excitement inside the conference venue, for two days from morning to night, was intense.

The first day of the event started with an opening address by Norliza Rofli, director-general of Malaysia’s National Department for Culture and Arts, and a keynote address by Ong Hong Peng, secretary general of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. The speeches were followed by discussion sessions on various topics, including how art changes countries, how art can revitalize acity, and a corporate perspective on supporting the arts.The session addressing how the arts change countriesfeatured speakers from the Korea Art Management Service, Australia Council for the Arts and Malaysia’s National Department for Culture and Arts who explained the situation in their respective country and their organizations’ roles. Faridah Merican, executive producer of PenangPAC, Bilqus Hijjas, head of MyDance Alliance, and Nani Kahar, joint partner of labDNA, participated in the session on the revitalization of cities and talked about the need to establish a representative performance art festival in Malaysia, the revitalization of performance art in Kuala Lumpur through means such as innovative promotion and marketing, as well as the case of Publika, which is playing the role of a type of creative hub in everyday life by combining shopping and art.

Besides this, there was a video presentation from Akram Khan Company producer Farooq Chaudhry and a small-scale, roundtable-format Tea Networking Session that featured seven topics, including international collaboration, youth engagement, and arts support.

Noliza Rofli, director-general of Malaysia’s National Department for Culture and Arts, delivers the opening address Traditional Malay dance performance, Mak Yong

Malaysia focuses on Hallyu (Korean Wave)

The second day began with The Korean Wave: Beyond Boundaries, a special session featuring Jung Jae-wal, president of the Korea Art Management Service. The session introduced the changes Hallyu (the Korean Wave) has undergone from its beginnings in the mid-1990srystival in Malaysia, the revitalization of performance art dramas and K-pop―to today, when it is expanding into the general realm of arts and culture and Korean culture.

Following this, there were discussion sessions on the topics of cultural exchange, content monetization, the sustainability of art, and the new world of arts. The cultural exchange segment featured the artistic director and founder of Aswara Dance Company, the artistic director of Strange Fruit in Australia, and head of culture at the Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur, as speakers. They discussed the headway Malaysian dancers have been making overseas; “In the Shadow of Dragon,” a joint project between Strange Fruit and Korea’s Noreum Machi; and cases of arts exchanges between Japan and Malaysia.

Also, the discussion session Can the Arts Be Sustainable? featured panelists that included the director of NKEA communication and infrastructure at the Performance Management & Delivery Unit (PEMANDU), a unit under the Prime Minister’s Department; the artistic director and founder of Aswara Dance Company; executive producer at PAN Productions; and the artistic director of The Instant Cafe Theatre Company Malaysia. The discussion included a pro-and-con debate about government support of performance art.

After the official sessions ended, a Performing Arts Town Hall event for conference participants titled Talk Less, Act More! took place; participants freely discussed the issues that would be necessary for developing Malaysia’s performance art sector, looking at it from a short-term, mid-term, and long-term perspective.

To make a better environment for Malaysia’s art sector

Izan Satrina, founder of MyPAA, the Malaysian performance art agency that organized the Borak Arts Series, stressed that there needs to be more fluid communication and understanding among the private and public sectors as well as the creative industry. She said that the conference was held in order to create a better environment for Malaysian art through healthy conversations that allow participants to tear down the invisible barriers between these sectors.

As I watched the panels and audience freely speaking their minds during the two-day conference, I began to anticipate the “next” stage of Malaysia’s performing art industry. Until now, there has been a tendency for the private, public, and business areas to work independently of each other, but now, these sectors are all coming together in one place and talking face-to-face. It seems that constructive conversation is the first step to change.

Jo Kukathas, artistic director of The Instant Cafe Theatre Company, said, “It is encouraging that an opportunity like this, in which we can listen to each other and share our stories, arose.” He added that more interest in and effort from each other is needed for this kind of conversation to continue in the future.

First held in 2013, the Borak Arts Series will from here forward be held as an annual conference. Like this year’s conference, in which performance art from Korea and Australia was introduced, each year the series plans to expand their networking function to include more local and overseas participants by identifying two “focus countries” each year. The Borak Arts Series was organized by MyPAA and sponsored by the National Department for Culture and Arts and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

Borak Arts Series Website : http://mypaa.com.my/borak-arts/index.html

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theApro <![CDATA[Unusual Contemporary Art, Still Relevant]]> Unusual Contemporary Art, Still Relevant
[Trend] Why we pay attention to the "Korean Wave" in Performing Arts —Competitiveness


It was 2002. Aat Hougee, founder and leader of the European Dance Development Center (EDDC), a dance institution based in Arnhem, the Netherlands, and Düsseldorf, Germany, proclaimed at a national forum, "Contemporary art, whose most defining quality is its inventiveness, is now dead in Europe." Shortly thereafter, Hougee left for Russia.

In 2004, British dancer Akram Kahn made his Korean debut following a show in Singapore. Much in the way that Algerian-born Albert Camus came to represent French literature even in the face of Sartre’’s contempt, Kahn—an English dancer of Bangladeshi descent—assumed a representative role in that visit, acting as a British cultural ambassador to Asia. Needless to say, the British government offered unwavering support forhis endeavors.

Asia as a Repository

Europe, which began to set its sights on Asia from the early 2000s onwards, had been investing heavily in its former colonies. In part, this was an indication that the demand for performances in Asia was not yet significant. Around that time, the French foreign ministry’’s 1995 ad-hoc campaign, Rencontres choregraphiques de l’’Afrique et de l’’Ocean insiden-Danse en Creation, had been birthing many of the artists that satisfied the market demand for such performances. Even to this day, the French government funds various dance events in countries such as Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Mali, and in 2008 it provided financial backing for the establishment of the Caribbean Dance Biennale in Cuba, a noted supplier of modern dancers and a key player in the geopolitics of Latin America.

Alternatively, England saw from an early age the flourishing of high-profilechoreographers born to immigrant parents, such as a Shobana Jeyasingh or Akram Kahn, who made a name for themselves by introducing classical dances such as kathak or bharata natya, often reinterpreted with a modern spin.These artists occupied a critical position in the British dance world. This is easily demonstrated by the fact British Dance Edition 2006, which produced 7–8 performances daily over the course of four days, included at least one to two of the above artists’’ pieces daily in their shows.

Likewise, it is worth noting the Netherlands’’ investment in Indonesia. With a long history of having benefited from the Netherlands’’ willingness to introduce Indonesian performance art and human capital to the rest of Europe, the Indonesian government has a long-standing request to the Netherlands to sponsor international events in Bali, a prime location easily accessible from all continents. Similarly, in 2010 and 2012, Germany’’s Internationale Tanzmesse NRW selected Taiwan as its host country, and it goes without saying that Taiwanese choreographers gained much from this. Promoted by a Singaporean producer, Indonesian Jecko Siompo received an enthusiastic welcome in Germany.

Congo’’s Li-Sangha Dance Company

Europe’’s dance world has been increasingly focusing its attention toward Asian nations, first toward Japan with the 1980s butoh boom and then toward China, which boasts large pools of capital. Korea, too, despite being perceived as somewhat of an opportunist fishing in troubled waters, has asserted itself as an attractive market. This needs no further evidence than the fact that British dancers, for the sole reason that Korean and Japanese producers were present at the roundtable of an art market, eagerly jumped at the chance to venture into Asian territory.

On one hand, while "novel" contemporary art was dominating the European dance world, Asia was undergoing a radical change. Asian producers with decades worth of professional experience in international festivals and theater have been teaming up in their efforts to globalize Asian culture and build cooperative relationships. Despite being discontinued due to financial setbacks, Little Asia Dance Exchange Network (LADEN), a collaborative undertaking by producers from Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Korea, Australia, and Hong Kong, showed that multinational cooperation was indeed possible, and the Association of Asian Performing Arts Festivals (AAPAF), founded in 2004, also developed a collaborative production and administrative funding system. To boot, various movements to secure public confidence and provide sufficient contentbased on rising demand have been observed throughout Asia. Though LADEN was regrettably unsuccessful because its appearance was premature in market terms, one could say that the Performing Arts Market in Seoul (PAMS), an organization created by the Korea Arts Management Service, and Asia-Pacific Dance Platform, created by the Hong Kong Arts Festival in 2008, are examples of the proactive and practical marketing of Asian performance arts.

Bereishit Dance Company’’s Balance and Imbalance A collaboration between New York’’s Dance Theater Workshop(DTW) and Seoul International Dance Festival entitled Kisaeng Becomes You

However, Asian status alone does not guarantee success for all. A small minority of artists, recognized by international strategists and equipped with a distinct local flavor, have a monopoly on the Asian performance arts market in Europe, where discrimination amongst Asian nations is severe. Ethnically Chinese nations such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and China itself are the forerunners, followed by their Southeast Asian counterparts, who are often their collaborators.

But Japan and Korea are removed from this equation. Japan alone displays a cohesive governmental, corporate, and even academic effort to create and insert mass amounts of cultural product abroad. Butoh, which took the world by storm, is a direct result of this. Korean dancers, on the other hand, penetrated the cracks and established themselves largely on an individual basis. Though Japanese dancers made up most of the Asian membership in European dance companies up until the late 90s, many of these positions have since been filled by Korean dancers. Though initially unnoticed due to the subtlety of its advancement, this is a clear sign that Hallyu (the Korean Wave) has already begun to put down roots in the realm of dance.

The Leaps and Bounds of Korean Dance

With the once-popular “trendy drama”—a genre of Korean television drama from the 1990s known for youth appeal, popular actors, trendy fashion, and simplistic approach to romance—as its impetus, Hallyu still holds fast to Korean television dramas, which have since become more refined and tasteful but remain a staple of Hallyu exports.

In the 1990s, the SeoTaeji wave overturned the world of popular music in Korea, contributing in critical ways to the diversification of mainstream Korean music. At the same time, the evolution of media and expansion of media channels effected a change in mainstream consumer patterns. Circa 2010, "idol"-oriented Korean pop culture caused a major international boom. Around this time, young and upcoming choreographers, influenced greatly by the preponderance of visual media, began to emerge on all fronts, each asserting their unique styles. Of course, it goes without saying that the quantitative increase in domestic infrastructuresuch as festivals, theater, and various other cultural projects offered countless opportunities for this generation to grow. As a result, more and more dancers were able to experience international stages and, in turn, veterans of the international stage were motivational forces for their juniors. This quantitative increase simultaneously provided more opportunities in Korea for foreign producers who had previously been indifferent to the idea of visiting Korea due to the geographical distance and high logistical costs,providing them with the opportunity to weigh Korea, Japan, and China against one another. Though it was already known that Korean dancers possessed exceptional skill, even those with no further knowledge began to "buy Korean." One Japanese producer and frequent visitor toKorea remarked after observing several Korean pieces in 2010, "Korea has exhibited a jaw-dropping amount of progress in the last 2–3 years."

In 2010, seven Korean dance companies toured festivals and theaters in four Spanish cities. Two choreographers among them received invitations to showcase their pieces the following year in Cuba, Spain, Poland, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Indonesia, and the United States in 2012, and India, Venezuela, Uruguay, and Brazil in 2013. Following a 2012 guest performance in Israel, the first Korean piece to be nominated into the official program at CINARS 2012 (International Exchange for the Performing Arts) is now set to be performed in India, China, Romania, and the United States in 2013. Moreover, plans to introduce Korean dance as a special feature through photographs in Belgian festivals and theaters is currently underway in Belgium.

EDx2 dance company’’s Modern Feeling Choe Contemporary Dance Company’’s Argument

The Piece ItselfIs the Only Ticket to Victory

In the past, international exchange for Korean dancers occurred solely on mainstream stages, but these days the international exchange network for Korean dancers includes not only top-tier festivals but also smaller events and festivals as well as cooperative work and residencies throughout Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. And, of course, the sphere of activity has since been extended to the Arab world, Africa, and South America. The Ministry of Sports, Culture and Tourism, in conjunction with the Korea Foundation for International Culture Exchange (KOFICE), recently conducted a survey assessing Korea’’s international image abroad. The results showed K-pop and Korean soap operas to be at the forefront of Hallyu. Of the Asian respondents, 52.1%stated "physical attractiveness" as their reasonwhile 56.1% of those polled in Europe and America attributed their opinion to "novelty and uniqueness." According to the survey, these perceptions of Koreaprompted them tobuy Korean products, sample Korean food, and travel to Korea, in that order. Young fans in Ecuador, Colombia, and Indonesia asked Korean event staff working in those countries—the sole reason being that they were from Korea—for autographs. Raving about Korean B-boys, these fans continue to request, particularly on social media, regular appearances of Korean dancers.

Korean ballet, too, has already proven its worth in international concours such as those at Lausanne, Jackson, and Varna, and, unsurprisingly, it is not at all difficult to find Korean dancers in highly regarded dance companies around the world. Quietly but diligently, Hallyu dance has been holding its own. In addition to being a reservoir of excellent human capital, Korean dance has been putting the spotlight on pieces that embody identities and philosophies, be it the fruits of history or culture or the treatment of the individual in modernity. However, as demonstrated by the 2012 Performance Arts Survey, of 473 pieces performed a total of 3,999 times, most pieces are usually showcased at just a single festival before being retired, and only a handful of pieces attain significant recognition. Furthermore, it is hard to deny that only a very small percent of these pieces manage to contribute toward making Korean dance the next global trend.Still, the infrastructure responsible for aforementioned global and domesticshifts is still growing and evolving, and for the time being, "novel Asian contemporary art" still retains a great deal of popular appeal abroadwhile remaining a valid cultural movement to Koreans. In the coming years, international cultural exchange will be refined and diversified, and likewise, the market is sure to expand. On this account, it is imperative for the development of quality content that Korean society and government afford this movement the serious consideration and financial investment it deserves.

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theApro <![CDATA[In the spring of 2013, New York became Pnom Penh]]> In the spring of 2013, New York became Pnom Penh
[Trend] Season of Cambodia : A Living Arts Festival, a large scale festival held in NY


A vast $2.7 million festival of all Cambodian arts took place in New York City in April, the first ever event of its kind. 125 artists of all disciplines arrived in the city to perform or exhibit at as many as 30 different institutions across the city. From BAM and the Metropolitan Museum to the Joyce Theatre, Asia Society and several downtown galleries, not a single seat or piece of artwork was left unseen or unattended.

Season of Cambodia : A Living Arts Festival’ had multiple significance. Many people were surprised by the diversity and skill on offer, but above all the month-long event proved one thing decisively – that for all his skills at genocide, the dictator Pol Pot failed in his attempt to annihilate the country’s rich artistic life.

Moreover, not only has this resplendent 800-year old culture been resuscitated in little more than a decade but it has sprouted new and important growths, not only in contemporary dance but also the visual arts, both of which can already stand comparison with equivalents in Singapore, Beijing and Seoul.

Some history might be necessary. In tracing the roots of Cambodian culture, it seems that much of what we see today bears strong traces of the Hindu Brahmanist culture brought from Southern India through trading routes via Indonesia. By the 1960s Cambodian culture reached its zenith of modern times, liberated from French colonial negligence and, post 1956, emerging as an essential element of a proud independent nation.

The crux of its identity, and which delighted New Yorkers in April, is the classical dance style known as robam borann, the courtly recreations of the lengthy Hindu Ramayana story, performed at Angkor for the Gods and later within the exclusive confines of the Royal Palace.

The style emerged over many centuries but it was Sisowath Kossamak, the mother of the late King Norodom Sihanouk who created the Cambodian Royal Ballet in the form we know today, choreographing a number of new works during the 1960s. Kossamak democratized robam borann, bringing the genre out of the palace into society at large, while conferring on the dancers the status of civil servants.

< THE LEGEND OF APSARA MERA > Royal Ballet of Cambodia, BAM | photo by Pete Pin

< A BEND IN THE RIVER > Khmer Arts Ensemble, The Joyce Theater, photo by Khvay Samnang

Among her creations was the dance called Apsara Mera, for many the embodiment of the classical style and intended specifically for the greatest dancer of that generation – her own granddaughter, the young Princess Norodom Buppa Devi. The same princess, now in her 60s, directs the company the Royal Ballet today. The locus of her achievement has been the north campus of the rejuvenated Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh, where dancers as young as six years old arrive for daily rehearsals.

New York was treated to Apsara Mera at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with a hand-picked team that included dancers Chap Chamroeun Mina, who now lives in Paris, and Chey Sophea, who just returned to Cambodia from New Zealand. The Princess had gaven a rare interviewed on the dance style a few days earlier at Lincoln Centre during which the audience was shown old footage of her performing the same dance back in 1968.

The Joyce Theatre hosted Khmer Arts Academy, a privately-funded classical dance company created by former Royal Ballet classical dancer Sophiline Cheam Shapiro. As witnessed in earlier versions of Otello (Samritachek) and Mozart’s Magic Flute (Pamina Devi) KAA specializes in giving distinctly modern twists not only to classical pieces but to local folk tales and even western plays and opera.

The Ramayana story of Rama’s love and rescue of Sita at the centre of the Cambodian cultural narrative emerged in various forms. For many attendees, the highlight of the festival was the large shadow puppet troupe (sbeak thom) from the temple of Wat Bo in Cambodia’s Siem Reap. They gave two performances at the World Financial Centre at the tip of Manhattan within a vast glass atrium, populated, appropriately enough by tall palms.

< HADOW PUPPET TROUPE > Wat Bo Shadow Puppets | photo by Pete Pin

< HMEROPÉDIES III > Amrita Performing Arts, works & process at the Guggenheim | photo by Pete Pin

Contemporary performance art has been slow to emerge in Cambodia: so much was lost during the Khmer Rouge that this kind of innovation was never considered a priority. It has been through the efforts of the NGO Amrita Performing Arts that dancers have slowly adopted a uniquely Cambodian modern chorographic style.

Amrita’s moment of inspiration was to commission a series of pieces from by Khmer/French choreographer Emmanuèle Phuon, a former royal ballet dancer now based in Paris. The result was a series of three dances based on the monkey dance movements which she called Khmeropedies. The last of these was performed at the Guggenheim Museum and solicited rave reviews from the New York Times.

These troupes have been widely toured abroad, but it was only in New York that the fruits of their labour were so dramatically realized. Those responsible for the revival of this culture are wide-ranging and come from various quarters. Cambodians may hold the key to the effort, but little could have happened without the financial support that began to arrive after the opening up of the country after the election of 1993.

UNESCO made the classical dance style an World Heritage Site, while the Asia Cultural Council, Ford and Rockefeller Foundations established mentorships programs to facilitate the continuity of numerous classical genres and reconstruct oeuvres held only in fragile memories.

The principle producer of ‘Season of Cambodia’ was the NGO Cambodian Living Arts (CLA), whose Chairman John Burt conceived the festival almost a decade ago. However it was its Cambodian Executive Director Phlouen Prim who was responsible for raising the lion’s sum of the funding, a considerable achievement in these cash-strapped times.

CLA’s founder is Arn Chorn Pond. A former Khmer Rouge child soldier transported from a Thai refugee camp to Massachusetts by the Lutheran pastor, Chorn-Pond was orphaned in the mid 70s when Pol Pot took charge of the country. Put to work playing the khim to entertain Khmer Rouge cadres in Northwestern Battambang province, it was his skill in mastering this dulcimer-like instrument that he claims saved his life.

Determination to find his khim teacher, master player Youen Mek, Chorn-Pond returned to Cambodia in 1998 and its is their emotional reunion that set the scene for what eventually became CLA, which is dedicated to the resuscitation of surviving musicians throughout Cambodia, many of whom had been popular stars during the 1960s. ‘I was finding master teachers living on the streets – poor, weak, without food and basic healthcare’, says Chorn-Pond.

The fruits of this labour was showcased in New York. Arn played at the Lincoln Centre with the Waterek Ensemble, an ensemble of Cambodian musicians based in Phnom Penh that includes Mek as well as chapei player Kong Nay. Chorn-Pond has formed a close-knit community of around a hundred musicians who tutored one another’’s children in different disciplines.

Film was an important medium in the 1960s, but one that suffered badly at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. It has since bounced back with a dozen films produced or shot in Cambodia in the last two years, as well as numerous documentaries. A group of contemporary film has put together by Cambodian auteur Rithy Panh, whose films did much to highlight Khmer Rouge atrocities.

Finally, the organizers of Season of Cambodia were intent on counterpointing performance with discussion in a wide-ranging Humanities programme. Several lectures and symposiums by authorities on Cambodian life and culture aimed to untangle some of the mysteries of this enchanting country. Memory, an important tool in the process of reconciliation, was addressed in a series of workshops. As this festival has shown, Cambodia has already done so much to ‘move on’.

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theApro <![CDATA[The Advance of K-Musicals, a Signal Flare for the Performing Arts Industry]]> The Advance of K-Musicals, a Signal Flare for the Performing Arts Industry
[Trend] Why we pay attention to the "Korean Wave" in Performing Arts -- Industrialization


The Korean Wave (Hallyu) began with the export of Korean dramas abroad and has gained further strength with the success of K-pop and its global popularity outside Asia, as proven by the "Psy Effect." The optimistic belief that global market success is within reach for Korean culture is gaining mainstream acceptance and is no longer an unreasonable fantasy. Looking back two, three years ago when Korean-made musicals toured throughout Asia and tourists from Asia first began to come to Seoul to watch Korean musicals, we can anticipate that the performing arts sector-which is just beginning to industrialize-will benefit from the Korean Wave effect and thus be able to industrialize completely through an expanding market.

On the one hand, it’’s important to first establish that, in this writer’’s opinion, when existing plays or dances and other performing arts productions are invited and appear on stages abroad for the sake of cultural exchange, or when they fund a portion of their own production in order to participate in performing arts festivals, these activities fall into the category of pure art and foreign exchange. They cannot therefore be seen precisely as the advancement of Korean performances abroad, which usually have the specific goal of commercial success.

With the above premise, it’’s possible to say that certain productions, such as Palace(Gung/Princess Hours), 200 Pounds Beauty, Bballae(laundry), Run to You, Gwanghwamun Younga, Jack the Ripper, and other productions-adding up to about three or four a year after 2010-that were co-produced with Japan or carried out as tour performances can be seen as part of the full-fledged advancement of the K-musical abroad.

We’’re still in the early stages of a Korean Wave in the performing arts industry so it’’s difficult to analyze the effects, but here I lay out several proposals for how we might be able to prepare for the continuation of the K-musical.

Run to You, an original Korean musical that was performed at the Shochiku-za Theater in Osaka, October 2012

The Limits of the Domestic Market

As of 2012 the size of the domestic musicals market is an estimated KRW 250 billion. This is the result of consistent expansion after the mid-2000s, which meant maintaining a yearly growth rate of 15%. Around 2017 the yearly market size is expected to be about KRW 500-600 billion. With the quantitative growth of the market, the distribution potential has also increased, with about four new large musical theaters opening in Seoul during last three years.

In terms of quality, Korean musicals have also developed rapidly in the last 10 years. Korean actors have proven their ability to hold their own on the world stage. The designers and technical staff are also talented enough to make it abroad even without the context of the original performance. These strengths are what enabled Korean musicals to attract Japanese fans during their domestic runs and also to succeed on tours to Japanese cities including Tokyo and Osaka. Nonetheless we are still relatively impoverished despite this potential for wealth, in that the demand for original Korean musicals is still relatively weak. For example, when we examine the 2012 popularity rankings of musicals on a website that handles over 70% of all domestic musical bookings, the most popular performance had sales of about KRW 25 billion and recorded about 230,000 audience members. That show was Wicked, a touring foreign performance. Korean musicals did not even make it into the top 10.

As everyone knows, with licensed musicals, about 10-18% of the ticket sales are transferred abroad as royalties. In the case of touring performances, even after paying an enormous performance guarantee fee, most contracts also require a significant cut of the total proceeds. Moreover, the market contains a limited population, meaning that there is a limited number of paying audience members even when you consider Seoul and the provinces together. Consequently, in the case of imported musicals, even the ones that look wildly successful on the outside have difficulty achieving profits of more than 10-15%. The reason is of course that the performance rights belong not to us, but to the licensor. This is one very compelling argument for the faster and wider dissemination of the Korean Wave of musicals.

The essence of the performing industry (to take it to the extreme) is in "the rights to profitable performances." In a situation where pre-production costs are only increasing, a profitable performance can attract more audience members in a single season and run for longer in different locations. Moreover, when the earnings far exceed the deficits of past failures, the production company can continue investing, even with several failed performances under its belt. The high added-value of success despite risk in the culture industry is what drives profit creation-it’’s a provable point.

For example, Wicked was able to carve out a permanent place in London and tour throughout Europe and Asia, including Korea, because it was so successful in attracting a constant stream of new audiences (mostly tourists) while on Broadway. And because it was successful, it was able to earn back profits equaling many more times its initial investment.

The Influential Effect of an Expanding Market Abroad

This writer believes that an expanding market for Korean musicals is in Northeast Asia, with an emphasis on Korea, China, and Japan. With the exciting and tentative presupposition that Korean-made musicals succeed in advancing to Japan and China, let’’s examine the sizes of the markets in each respective country.

Although China’’s musicals market has just begun to take its first baby steps, it has enormous potential. For a single production, a season of touring consists of about 8-16 months of touring China, with an emphasis on major cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou. The seasonal sales of a single production can go up to about KRW 20 billion. There are more than three major markets that are about the size of Seoul alone, as well as multiple provincial markets in other cities in addition to that, where the production can get over 10 plays. According to a recent article, the ticket sales of performances that went to Beijing in 2011 was KRW 240 billion a year, more than the KRW 230 billion from movie ticket sales in the same year. With a focus on government-owned corporations that deal with culture, and as the infrastructure for performances expands through the construction of large-scale performance spaces in major cities throughout the country, it’’s highly possible that China will grow to become a major player in the performance market within the next five years, overtaking Broadway and West End. Moreover, China is set to become a huge tourist destination. It requires entertainment content for tourists to China who aren’’t necessarily Chinese.

The K-Musical Star Concert, which played in Tokyo in April

On the other hand there is Japan, which has been the largest performance arts market in Asia for a while, with concerts, plays, musicals, and other productions in a market worth about KRW 1.7 trillion. At the same time there is concern over the slowing growth of this number one market. For us, the concern actually presents an opportunity. There are an increasing number of production companies attempting to revive traditional Japanese performances such as Kabuki Theater that have seen their market share drop,and they are now looking towards K-musicals for new and youthful content. Such companies were the ones that distributed and circulated the latest few Korean musicals in Japan. A single production that runs in Seoul and the surrounding provinces can expect to perform about 300-1000 times and achieve sales of about KRW 30-70 billion if it continues to tour throughout Japan and China. Even taking into account the cost of planning and development as well as opportunity cost, we can expect a profitability of over 30%. The figure is similar to that of a long-term show with an open run on Broadway, which can expect yearly sales of USD$60-70 million (KRW 70 billion) and profitability of over 30%.

The creators can benefit from this success through royalties. If we suppose that each creator receives about a 1-1.5% royalty on these sales, then no matter how high the royalties and creator fees are in the domestic market, they can receive far more than that with the previously described royalties. If one show succeeds, then the creators can live off the proceeds for many years, and the resulting wealth and fame will enable the creators to focus solely on good projects. Also, the very nature of performances means that many don’’t simply stop after a few times; they continue for years, and even tens of years. In such a case, recruiting talent will come naturally, and the production companies can also increase their opportunities for reinvestment.

The opportunity to create a multinational fund encompassing Korea, Japan, and China can act as a healthy engine for content production. An expanding market can drive this virtuous cycle for consistently creating quality pieces.


Issues to Resolve for the Production of High-Quality Cultural Content-The Significance of ‘Created by Korea’

Several institutions and foundations have developed "musical showcase"-type support systems for producing musicals for smaller theaters, but most of these systems are incubatory systems that dwell on the significance of developing new projects in and of themselves or focus on financial support for producing the performance rather than for the creation of original content such as the music and script. But the former produces relatively negligible results when compared to the way in which musicals are developed abroad: through significant investments of time and money and with multiple teams of writers over a long period of time. To emphasize once again: for a K-musical with Korean actors, it is imperative that “Created by Korea” shows from Korean creators and producers be put first.


From Beginning to End, the Story!

World-famous animation production company Pixar attributes its success not to new animation techniques or attractive characters but to the "story." This company has specific standards for evaluating the quality of a film, and from beginning to end, these standards are all about the story. To meet this aim, the company tirelessly invests both capital and its systems. The 22 Principles of Storytelling that Pixar developed through all of this has much to suggest to Korean audiences, many of whom tend to idly categorize stories as "entertaining" or "not entertaining," or see stories as "the end result of a creative process dependent on the artist or the writer’’s inspiration."

Or take, for example, Disney, which is unrivaled when it comes to movies and musicals. Disney caught on early and succeeded not only in creating original stories but studying and then recreating myths and ancient stories to appeal to universal sensibilities. The Lion King was inspired by Shakespeare’’s play Hamlet, and Mulan, Disney’’s 37th animation, was based on a legend from China, The Ballad of Hua Mulan. It goes without saying that these projects involve many different writers. Another important point about these projects is the skill involved in taking "tradition" and converting it into "popular culture." The same goes for music. There’’s an urgent need for long-term investment into creative sectors such as lyrical composition, in good music that adheres to the musical format.


From left to right, the productions that played at the Tokyo Amuse Musical Theater in 2013: Caffeine, Finding Mr. Destiny, and Poongwallju

Content Competition: There is Still a Chance to Win

There is no doubt that birthing a mega-musical such as Les Miserables, Cats, or The Phantom of the Opera, all of which have played for over 20 years and continue to play to audiences worldwide, is a lofty goal that is difficult to reach. And even on Broadway and West End where these musicals originated, after Wicked, which debuted 10 years ago, it’’s possible to see in recent years the traces of a depleting source of inspiration. Productions such as Spider-Man, Once, Newsies, The Bodyguard, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-based on pop music or movies from after the 1990s-are still carrying the torch. But future prospects for these musicals are dark, and it is doubtful whether they will ever grow to become megahits and continue to be beloved by audiences. And that is why eyes are turning to "Asian” subjects. With the rise of China and the potential size of the Chinese market, this new direction seems inspired by the prediction that "Oriental values" will become the new paradigm. China has already begun development on productions that take original Chinese content and use American and British systems to target the world market. One example is the planned development of a production that is based on a Chinese totem myth and involves the producers of the play War Horse, which took the US and the UK by storm. This is a clear indication that China’’s scope of influence is even bigger than anticipated.


A scene from the play War Horse(PAUL KOLNIK / LINCOLN CENTER / AP)

Of course I firmly believe that domestically there are already some among us who are looking into original sources. We can pride ourselves in and comfort ourselves with the fact that we have more extensive experience in the production of musicals than China, and a closer connection to Asian culture than American and British producers. But we have to examine the process and examine how effectively we are investing-both in terms of capital and support on the policy level. It seems that what is really needed, more than financial support for tours abroad, is support and investment for the creative process-that is, the process of creating the music and the story. The Korean Wave of K-musicals is just beginning to demonstrate its potential. It’’s a flare that signals to us: It’’s time to achieve success with the high-quality productions that make up the backbone of the performing arts industry.


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theApro <![CDATA[The direction for performing arts in a post-hallyu era]]> The direction for performing arts in a post-hallyu era
[Trend] ① What is performing arts hallyu, the Korean wave?


Conditions of the Post-Hallyu

As the transnationalization of Korean pop (K-pop) speeds up in the post-hallyu (the Korean Wave) era with the global craze of Psy’’s "Gangnam Style," hallyu-which effectively began in late 1990s-seems to have entered a new stage. In its nascent stage, the substantiality of hallyu, which started with an increase in popularity of televised Korean dramas and idol groups in Greater China and Southeast Asia, was often called into question. However, the current global competitiveness of Korean popular culture-which includes not just K-pop but also films, dramas, games, and performances-suggests that hallyu has passed its temporary bubble phase and entered a phase of sustainable competitiveness. The popularity of Korean popular culture in not only Southeast Asia but also North America, Europe, and South America is no longer an unfamiliar sight.

JUMP

I would like to define the recent trends in hallyu as "post-hallyu." What is distinctive about post-hallyu? Two points of view are of importance. First, the production and consumption scope of popular culture have become even more widespread in comparison to the preexisting hallyu. Until the early 2000s, hallyu was mostly led by films and dramas. Although we cannot deny the popularity of idol groups such as H.O.T or Shinhwa in China and Southeast Asia, films and dramas held a dominant position within hallyu. However, in late 2000s, hallyu became stronger not only in the traditional areas of films, dramas, and popular music but also in games, performances, fashion, music, and tourism. Games such as Lineage, Aion, and Mabinogi are now popular the world over and are the major source of Korean cultural exports. In addition, nonverbal performances such as Nanta and Jump and musicals featuring idol group members have attracted a definite audience and received favorable reviews abroad.

The expansion of international awareness of hallyu from Southeast Asia to North America, Europe, and South America is also a distinguishing feature of post-hallyu. Especially, the K-pop-led globalization of hallyu has become a representative case of a creative cultural hybridization that departs from the structures of Americanization and an imitation of Western culture. The worldwide popularity of "Gangnam Style" is leading hallyu’’s departure from Asia towards other shores.

The second feature is the clear transition from cultural discourse to cultural capital in the post-hallyu era. In the discourse on hallyu culture up until the early 2000s, the major topics were to determine the true nature of the cultural trend. Discussion topics included: "Is hallyu sustainable?", "Is there a true nature to hallyu?", and "How should we create supporting policies for hallyu?" There were many diverse opinions within the cultural discourse of hallyu-from the idea that it was only a signifier of cultural nationalism to a notion that it was a good opportunity to spread the cultural status of Korea throughout the world.

However, not many people today deny the current presence of hallyu. Researchers who were initially skeptical of the presence of this cultural phenomenon are now focusing on how Korea’’s cultural nationalism is mobilized in the reproduction within the culture industry. In other words, what is now important for hallyu is not cultural discourse but cultural capital. This, in other words, is evidence that the affect of capital on cultural production is much stronger than before. Major entertainment agencies that produce K-pop often receive investments from corporations or financial capital with overseas expansion in mind. In order to strengthen their capital, entertainment agencies have gone public on KOSDAQ and used the investments to expand the scope of entertainment production.

Perhaps post-hallyu means that the term hallyu is not necessarily needed. Hallyu is no longer a special and unfamiliar phenomenon. In addition, the general and specific definition of hallyu as the global flow of Korean culture is no longer required. This is because hallyu is becoming quickly divided into individual cultural products within the culture industry market. What is important now is not the word hallyu, but the increased awareness and competitiveness of individual cultural products and the determining the preconditions for a particular cultural phenomenon. hallyu, in its current division into film, dramas, games, and concerts, has become a somewhat tacky term. Now lets take a look at the some of the emerging global phenomena in the post-hallyu era within the performing arts.


The Performing Arts Hallyu’’s Three Forms

The hallyu of the three performing arts areas may insignificant in comparison to films, dramas, games, and popular music. But recent accomplishments by musicals have fueled the performing arts to take gradual steps into the limelight of hallyu. It is difficult to put an exact definition to the performing arts hallyu. But in terms of the worldwide popularity and interest in pop music concerts and musicals, the hallyu of performing arts can be divided into three specific types.

Big Bang concert, YG Entertainment

First is the K-pop concert market. In comparison to the familiar popularity of K-pop on the Internet, such as YouTube, the recent craze for concerts is relatively new. The K-pop concert market is concentrated mostly in Japan. While Psy has toured throughout the United States and Europe with the enormous popularity of “Gangnam Style,” he has yet to perform a solo concert with ticket sales. While Big Bang’’s first world tour Alive 2012, which started in early 2012 and lasted until January of 2013, will travel to 24 cities in 12 countries with an expected audience of 800,000.

Most well-known K-pop musicians, however, are focusing on the certain Japanese concert market instead of a potentially straining world tour. Japan, which has the world’’s second largest popular music market, is often highest on the list for concerts due to the high value of the yen, a definitive fan-following, transparent market operations, and a close geographical location. Idol groups such as TVXQ, Big Bang, Super Junior, Girls’’ Generation, Kara, Beast, CNBLUE, and FT Island utilize their high concert competitiveness in the Japanese market. Most of the profits for K-pop groups active in Japan come from sales of singles and concert tickets. While their recognition might be higher in Greater China and Southeast Asia compared to Japan, these markets lack the competitiveness for concert profits. In addition, concert production and the management market in China and some Southeast Asian countries is not as transparent, sometimes resulting in issues related to profit distribution. In the long term, tours must become commonplace and the market must be expand beyond a Japan focus to other Asian countries and to Europe and South American countries for a sustainable development of K-pop.

Laundry, CH Soobak

Second is the musicals market. There is controversy as to whether the musicals count as hallyu. It is certain that the Korean musicals market is not as popular as the rest of hallyu market with regard to popularity across the world. The Lost Empire in 1995 is the only example of a successful Korean musical in the international stage. Apart from Laundry, Kwanghwamoon Younga, and Jack the Ripper, which entered the Japanese musicals market, there are no other particular successes.

Yet a point of note is the increase in hallyu tourism from Japan and their contribution to increased ticket sales in the domestic musicals market, which feature idol group members-a result of K-pop’’s popularity. Elizabeth-which features Kim Jun Su of JYJ-and Mozart were sold out with ticket sales from foreign hallyu tourists. In addition, Palace, Legally Blonde, Catch Me If You Can, and Closer to Heaven have all casted or will cast major idol group members. While the appearance of idol group members has caused much controversy regarding the execution of the musicals, the idols have largely contributed to the hallyu hits within the domestic musicals market. The appearance of idol group members has not produced a level of success worthy of close attention in either original or licensed musicals. Yet nonverbal performances such as Nanta and Jump will be in the limelight as the long-term popular repertory for foreign tourists visiting Korea. In addition, the entry of Laundry and Jack the Ripper into the Japanese musical market as long-running shows through licensing is encouraging to the musicals market.

Last is the status of foreign expansion for nonmainstream concerts in genres such as indie or gugak (Korean classical music). There currently aren’’t any nonmainstream artists that have garnered interest around the world, but attempts to break into the foreign market by talented indie bands are slowly increasing. Rock and punk bands such as Galaxy Express, Guckkasten, No Brain, and The Strikers, who lack the popularity of idol groups, have been active in the Japanese indie concert market with a significant level of recognition. Gugak ensembles such as Baramgot, Noreum Machi, Be-Being, Gongmyoung, and Vinalog, which feature crossover world music, have been steadily introduced across world music festivals in Europe. Under the full backing of the Korean government, Korean world music groups have boosted the global world music market, which has been recently exhibiting a downtrend trend.

performance of Noreum Machi performance of Baramgot

Can the performing arts be globally competitive?

Can the performing arts be globally competitive? To be honest, the term "performing arts hallyu" is used out of convenience. A more specific term would be "the global competitiveness of Korean performing arts." The capital scale of the Korean performing arts market has greatly increased in the past few years due to the growth of the musicals market. The long-running productions of Nanta and Jump, the large influx of capital into the musicals market, and the live-performance market boosted by K-pop fever show that the performing arts market of Korea still possesses as much potential as other hallyu markets.

Yet from another perspective, the large capital, popular actors, and musicians of the performing arts market do not necessarily guarantee overnight worldwide success. In order for the Korean performing arts market to be competitive, improving the creative environment is necessary, above everything else, for long-term growth. In other words, composers, lyricists, stage producers, stage technicians, and performance producers must be in continued supply and must be treated with respect. Without a stable and professional workforce and an appropriate treatment of those professionals, it will be difficult to expect global competitiveness for Korean production companies.

Only long-term investments into the artists who form the foundation of the performing arts-such as creative screenwriters, producers and directors with an exceptional sense, and skilled stage technicians-are the only measures for escaping from the temptation of a flash in the pan. Nurturing professionals related to the performing arts is the fastest and most accurate shortcut to transition from license-based performance production to creativity-centered original productions.

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theApro <![CDATA[Top5 Korean Arts Management News 2012: ‘In Progress,’ Not ‘Complete’]]> Top5 Korean Arts Management News 2012: ’’In Progress,’’ Not ’’Complete’’
[Trend] Korean Arts Management Trend 2012


 

The Korean Artists Welfare Foundation

A reader survey of the top five arts management news issues of 2012 was conducted from November 22 until December 5. A total of 171 readers participated in this online survey conducted on the website of the Korea Arts Management Service and the weekly@Arts Management newsletter. The results are as follows:



The Artists Welfare, amplification of attention for a change notice

The Korean Artists Welfare Foundation (KAWF), which was founded one year after the Artist Welfare Act was passed in the National Assembly, received the most attention of this year’’s top five arts management news issues. The much-spotlighted Artist Welfare Act was the epicenter of much debate, from its legislation until its promulgation into law, to the extent that "Artist Welfare Act Passes National Assembly" was selected as the most significant of the top seven arts management news topics for 2011. Debate raged fiercely on a number of issues, including the standards for defining the qualifications of and who may be acknowledged as an artist; the actual extent of occupational health and safety insurance benefits for artists; and how the size, structure, and budget of the KAWF would be determined. Starting in the near future, the KAWF will be formulating a business plan through exhaustive discussion and negotiation in order to create effective plans and revamp the system to improve the welfare conditions of artists, ranging from the establishment of legal protective measures for artists to qualification standards, occupational health and safety insurance, and mutual aid. Given the high degree of interest shown by not only those in arts management but also the greater Korean artist community, it appears that the foundation’’s future plans will be the focus of continued attention.
(See issue 182 for an article on this topic.)

The Korean Artists Welfare Foundation

The high ranking of the second news topic seems to reflect the high degree of interest shown by those in arts management concerning changes in the culture and arts arena caused by changes in the political scene at the time of the survey, which was conducted shortly before the election. The interrelationship between politics and the arts was most likely not solely divulged through appointments of organization heads. However, based on the unavoidable dictum that the leader of an organization has a formidable influence on its direction, interest in who these leaders are cannot help but be high. This indicates the hopes and fears about what changes may come to the arena of arts management in 2013 as a result of external forces that can transform arts management organizations on a whim following the inauguration of a new president.

 

Nevertheless, there are still considerable rumblings about the extent of the actual results reaped from such events.

Just as in the past, this year witnessed many large-scale events. There were not only the various regional events like the Yeosu Expo but also the outdoor opera La Boheme and the American Ballet Theater’’s Giselle on the private end. Nevertheless, there are still considerable rumblings about the extent of the actual results reaped from such events. Neither events in the performance arts nor those in the visual arts—biennales, art fairs, etc.—are immune to such criticism. Although it did not make the top five arts management news issues of 2012, the management of biennales, which have recently drastically increased in number, is also a growing concern. Because of the particularly large number of biennales held this year, it was jokingly said that ’’presidents of regional self-governing bodies love biennales.’’ Among the approximately 200 biennales in the world, it is said that, including small-scale biennales, 20 are held in Korea
(source: lecture by Professor Yu Jin Sang, Kaywon School of Arts & Design at the Arts Management Academy Conference ’’2012 Culture & Arts Settlement.’’)

Biennales have a number of advantages: they are biannual experimental attempts to address current art-related issues or problems, and their aim is to promote international exchange. However, despite the fact that it is an international event that requires a stable operations office as well as sufficient preparation time and many professional staff, biennales are too often run in an "act now, think later" fashion. This inevitably leads to obstacles from the start, including a short preparation period, insufficient professional consultation, short-term management that prevents the accumulation of know-how and experience, and personnel shortage. Now is the time for brainstorming and proactive strategies to solve the limitations and problems of domestic biennale management. (See columns in Issue 179and Issue 181)

Yeosu Expo 2012

The art fairs

Review and Adjust

"Creative Space—Era of Nationwide Vitalization?" focused on the problems of creative centers built in unused space by local governments. Weekly@Arts Management has continuously published articles and dialogues about creative spaces. They are sprouting up in droves without long-term visions under the alibi of providing creative space for artists. Fundamental problems concerning output-centric management are also becoming increasingly apparent, including the emphasis on results within the short time of an artist’’s residency. There is a need to review and adjust management of creative spaces. (See the special features of Issue 133, Issue 134, and Issue 135) The fifth news issue selected was the concern that the growing number of theatrical productions by state/public organizations and groups is leading to a relative reduction in theatrical production activity by the private sector. In 2012, the National Theater of Korea produced Samguk Yusa Project, a series of performances based on a modern interpretation of the Korean classic Samguk Yusa. Not to be outdone, Myeongdong Theater and Namsan Arts Center produced a variety of works, including Don Quixote, A Midsummer Night’’s Dream, and One Blue Day. With public theaters increasingly creating their own productions in addition to simply acting as a venue for productions, the increased number of collaborative efforts between private theatrical troupes and individual artists with public theaters does have a positive aspect. However, the decrease in activity in the individual/private sector can lead to polarization in the production environment. A new relationship based on interdependency between the public and private theater as partners must be developed.

In addition to the top five arts management news topics, "Basic Cooperative Act—A Strategy for Independence?" (6.6%) [reference: Policy System Q&A, Issue 188, and "Fandom—One Level Higher," (6.3%) both received over 6% (41 votes) of the total vote, followed by "KBS Orchestra Incorporated" (5.8%), "Hot Potato of the Art World: Artwork Transfer Tax" (4.8%) [reference: Column, Issue 166, "Architectural Design Out of Sync with Surroundings is Pushed through…Again?" (4.2%), "Foreign Art Directors in Performance Art—How Should They be Seen?" (3.9%), and "The Future of the Seoul Exhibition Hall of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea" (3.8%). Although not on the list of survey topics, other issues were suggested as major happenings in the culture and arts field in 2012, including the ticket controversy of the musical Hero, the cancellation and delay of various Hi Seoul Festival performances because of Psy’’s performance at Seoul Square, the revitalization of and increased interest in village communities, concern about the debut of large production companies in the culture and arts field, and the establishment of a culture and arts educator system.

In general, the arts management issues selected this year are continuations of last year’’s issues. Considering the fact that some people felt there were few eye-catching issues and the fact that there are more negative than positive ones, it can be inferred that the arts management sector remains in difficult straits. Continued interest and effort will be necessary if we are to bring about the next stage of development in the issues raised in this survey, which served as a review of the events of 2012, and if we are to resolve the problems identified therein.
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theApro <![CDATA[Let’s Join the Spring Festivals Held in 2013]]> Let’’s Join the Spring Festivals Held in 2013
[Trend] 2013 Spring Festivals 1


In March, the performing arts scene is ready for the spring season. Every day, performances are presented in numerous places which include public theaters such as the National Theater of Korea, Myeongdong Theater, Namsan Arts Center, Hanguk Performing Arts Center’’s Arko Arts Theater and Daehangro Arts Theater, private theaters like Doosan Art Center as well as small theaters in Daehangro. These performances are generating positive feedback and expectations from performance lovers. As the peak season in December came to an end, the arts scene was frozen for a while, waiting for the results of public funding. Under these circumstances, it’’s great to see artists reap fruits after preparing their works with hope and willingness during the winter season.

Festival Bo:m: An Exciting Lineup Encompassing All That Is Contemporary

The Festival Bo:m is about to officially announce the arrival of spring in the performing arts scene. Not only performance lovers but also those working for other festivals like me are attracted by the Festival. In 2007, the Festival’’s first year, the event was called the "Spring Wave Festival" but the name was soon changed to the "Festival Bo:m", using the Korean word bom meaning "spring." It is excellent naming because anyone can pronounce and remember it easily. Above all, the festival name generates great expectations for the season while it is also fit for the Festival’’s mission of presenting the "most avant-garde contemporary performances." Helped by the human network of Ms. Sung-hee Kim, its director, the Festival is a low-budget, privately funded event. Despite this, the Festival has led the audience to be convinced that the Festival presents world-renowned artists’’ works. In 2013, the 7th Festival is pursuing "Asia’’s greatest international multifaceted arts festival." An exciting lineup of programs are ready to take place for 28 days from March 22 to April 18, keeps the performing arts scene awake.

2013 Festival Bo:m

What draws the greatest attention is definitely Romeo Castellucci’’s On the Concept of Face Regarding the Son of God. Castellucci’’s performance was introduced to Korea for the first time when Genesis from the Museum of Sleep was presented at LG Arts Center in 2003. Afterward, his second work meeting the Korean audience was Hey Girl! which was performed at the grand theater of Arko Arts Theater during the Spring Wave Festival in 2007. Thus, it is the third time for Koreans to enjoy his work. Castellucci’’s nickname is "iconoclast" which means that while he basically uses the beautiful iconographic images from the Renaissance period, he removes religious comfort from these them. For example, he describes the image of Jesus on the cross as a mock suicide attempted by diving backward repeatedly. (excerpt from the review of "heaven" and "hell" posted in The Telegraph (2012)). This year’’s Festival will also screen the trilogy ("Heaven," "Hell" and "Purgatory") of The Divine Comedy written by Dante Alighieri. This generated enthusiastic responses during the 2008 Avignon Festival.


Sayonara (さよなら), Oriza Hirata ⓒ Tsukasa Aoki
We’’re Gonna Die, Young Jean Lee ⓒ Blaine Davis
Sayonara (さよなら), a performance presented by the Japanese director Oriza Hirata and the cutting-edge android of Osaka University’’s Robotics Institute, will let us reflect on the convergence of scientific technology and the arts. Oriza Hirata, who has produced performances through Japan’’s small theater movement in the 1990’’s, has engaged in a variety of activities by leading the trends of Japan’’s modern theater as a playwright, a director and the founder of Seinendan, a theater company. For Oriza, "What is the theater?" is a new question arising after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. The android that plays the role of a caregiver for the sick should be regarded as an attempt to answer it. The acting of the android, the world’’s most sophisticated robot actor, stimulates the audience’’s curiosity, of course.

Among the programs of this year’’s Festival, I personally look forward to Young Jean Lee Company’’s concert called We’’re Gonna Die. Lee, who appeared like a comet in the middle of the 2000’’s, has become an enfant terrible of New York’’s avant-garde theater, winning the OBIE Award given to a new playwright. Revitalizing New York’’s theater scene already welcoming new trends, Lee has created a variety of performances, commissioned by theaters such as The Kitchen, The Public Theater and P.S.122. In its review of Lee’’s Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven in 2006, The New York Times even predicted that she would become another Quentin Tarantino. However, some of Koreans I know who live in the United States also harshly criticized this work, saying that a Korean-American director, who has no memory of Korea, suggests a distorted image of Korea and Korean women. I personally believe that for Lee, an American artist who tells American jokes and for whom Korean culture is rather a subculture, "Korea" has been used as an objectified story material rather than a heavy subject related to the question of identity. If I say that Lee should reflect on her identity as a member of a minority group seriously and continuously, would it sound like a cliché? Since then, her artistic activities have covered a variety of genres and fields and they have no longer been limited to Korea-related themes. I can’’t wait to see Lee’’s artistic changes and the Korean audience’’s responses.

Uijeongbu Music Theatre Festival Coming Closer to the Local Community


The Uijeongbu Music Theatre Festival, which will start on May 5 (It is Children’’s Day, an official holiday in Korea), is a performing arts festival hosted by Uijeongbu Arts Center. Uijeongbu City actively lends financial support to the Festival. The Festival was first held in 2002 and celebrates its 12th anniversary this year and its concept is to introduce "all genres of performing arts containing music." It is this concept that differentiates the Festival’’s performances from musicals. Although the Festival intends to differentiate its performances from musicals, it doesn’’t mean that musicals are excluded. In addition, the Festival also encompasses creative operas and popular music. Thus, the Festival sometimes looked disorderly. Nevertheless, the Festival has strengthened its solidarity with the local community thanks to its diverse programs sharing the common denominator called "music."

One of the greatest achievements of the Festival is the fact that it succeeded in attracting the local community’’s support by stimulating the residents’’ cultural desires. Indeed, residents of Uijeongbu and Gyeonggi Province account for 76% of the audience. To attract them, the Festival has expanded its venue to the parks and isolated areas surrounding Uijeongbu City while also preparing more programs in which residents can directly participate and enjoy. In particular, this year’’s Festival will present The Eleven Cats, a chorus musical for which about 30 citizen actors were selected through an audition. They have prepared the musical with great care every Thursday since the beginning of last December and the preparation work will continue until May, the month in which the Festival will start.

Meanwhile, the Festival will present Ukchuk-ga performed by Jaram Lee, a Korean

a chorus musical, The Eleven Cats
classical musician suggesting the Korean model of music theatre. This work, which used to be presented by the Festival every year, is based on the original story of Mother Courage written by Brecht. This performance, which has great potential to easily appeal to everyone from around the world, has been introduced to many other countries to share the theatrical attractiveness of pansori, a genre of Korean traditional music. If you haven’’t watched the performance yet, how about taking this opportunity to visit Uijeongbu, to watch the performance and to enjoy the festival atmosphere?

Dance Is Their Lifelong Enthusiasm: The 2013 International Modern Dance Festival (MODAFE)


, C de la B company ©MODAFE
,Nicole Seiler ©MODAFE
Another major spring festival not to miss is the International Modern Dance Festival (MODAFE) that will take place at Arko Arts Theater and Daehangro Arts Theater in Daehangro from May 17 to 26. Since its very beginning in 2003, the Festival has drawn great attention by introducing dance performances created by world-renowned choreographers from around the world, thus becoming a representative dance festival ceaselessly encouraging the development of the Korean dance scene.

A performance that deserves attention during the 2013 Festival is Babel (words) performed by C de la B from Belgium which was selected as the opening performance. The hottest two Belgian choreographers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet created an installation similar to the Tower of Babel, in collaboration with the British sculptor Antony Gormley. This installation creates a new space on the stage and the dancers surround it to explore an illusion of humans who either separate or bring together others.

Another notable project is Living-room Dancers by the Swiss director Nicole Seiler. Dancers dance in the living rooms in different apartments of Seoul. A space like an apartment shows that dance is part of their life. Citizens walk down the street to discover apartments where the dancers are dancing. The audience can freely enjoy the performance, watching the dances with a telescope or an mp3 player. It could be called a site-specific performance but what is interesting is its concept that dance is not limited to a space but that it is ubiquitous, happening anywhere. For this project, an audition was held in early March to select dancers mastering different types of dance including tecktonik dance, break dance, hip-hop, tap dance, pole dance, hula, samba, flamenco, traditional Korean dance, ballet and modern dance. The project is part of the Festival’’s fresh efforts to come closer to the audience.


Interview with Seong Hee KIM, Director of Festival Bo:m
Interview with Young Jean Lee
Interview with Seung-chan Hong, Artistic Director of Uijeongbu Music Theatre Festival
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theApro <![CDATA[Understanding Korean Traditional Performing Arts]]> Understanding Korean Traditional performing arts
[Trend] 2012 Mook magazine of ’’TheApro’’:Rediscovering Traditional Korean Performing Arts


’’TheApro’’ produces a book-length title each year with a specific focus to highlight current salient issues in the arts world. For the 2012 publications, the topic chosen was Rediscovering Traditional Korean Performing Arts in collaboration with guest editors, Haekyung Um(University of Liverpool) and Hyunjoo Lee(Ewha Womans University). Rediscovering Traditional Korean Performing Arts is a collection of new essays and articles authored by some of the world’’s leading academic experts in the field. The aim of this publication is to provide readers with an insightful and wide-ranging overview of different facets and developments of Korea’’s performing arts tradition. Although these articles are written by scholars, they are intended for the widest possible audience:anyone and everyone who wishes to learn more about Korea’’’’s artistic heritage. For that reason, each article has been written in an accessible style, and a list of suggested additional readings is also included at the end of the volume for those readers who wish to explore their interests further.


As the readers will find out from this volume, understanding traditional performing arts is not just about discovering a historical and cultural past. It is also about understanding how artistic practice continues to evolve in a new era and changing environment. The positions and roles of traditional Korean performing arts are open to various interpretations and applications, with their audiences and stage expanding globally and intercultural artistic exchange increasing. For example, as seen on the cover of the book, the pansori opera Mr.Rabbit and the Dragon King was a product of a collaboration between the Korean National Changgeuk Company and the German stage designer Achim Freyer to bring together a traditional Korean musical drama and an avant-garde theatre style developed by Bertolt Brecht. In many ways, it exemplifies how different artistic traditions across time and borders can meet to create something entirely new. Most importantly, individual and collective artistic endeavours, made by musicians, dancers and actors, are the key driving force in the creative process of Korean performing arts, by simultaneously rediscovering their traditional roots and opening up to new ideas.

Rediscovering Traditional Korean Performing Arts

This volume explores traditional Korean performing arts in historical and contemporary contexts. Various genres of music and dance performed in public, private and ritual settings, different functions, aesthetics, producers and consumers are examined from both local and global perspectives. Authored by ten scholars who specialize in Korean music and dance, this book’’’’s overall scope and range of specific topics are broad and varied. At the same time, there are several common themes and overarching issues which are pertinent to the traditional Korean performing arts as understood from the vantage point of the 21st century. In this volume, each author focusing on their particular area of expertise to help us better locate traditional performing arts in modern Korea.



Table of Contents


Korean Traditional Music : A Bird’’’’s-Eye View, Byong Won Lee
The European Reception of Gugak : Performing Korean Court Music in Vienna, Austria, Sang-Yeon Sung
The Way of Pungnyu : Musical Interactions at Private Venues in Seoul, from the Late 18th to Late 19th Centuries, Sung-Hee Park
Music in Korean Shaman Ritual, Simon Mills
How Do We Know About the Dances of Korea’’’’s Past?, Judy Van Zile
Entertaining Dances at the Joseon Court, Jungrock Seo
Tradition and Innovation in Changgeuk Opera, Andrew Killick
Performing Pansori Musical Drama : Stage, Story and Sound, Haekyung Um
To One’’’’s Heart’’’’s Content :Baramgot and Reclaiming Creative Space in Gugak, Hilary Vanessa Finchum-Sung
Canonic Repertoires in Korean Traditional Music, Keith Howard

In his article, ’’Korean Traditional Music : A Bird’’s Eye-View’’, Byong Won Lee outlines some of the key features of traditional Korean music, focusing on its performance styles, timbre and texture. ’’The European Reception of Gugak : Performing Korean Court Music in Vienna, Austria’’ is Sang-Yeon Sung’’’’s case study of a 2005 Korean court music concert held in Vienna. It illustrates how overseas concerts are strategically programmed and delivered by the National Gugak Center for their international audiences. The third article in this volume, ’’The Way of Pungnyu : Musical Interactions at Private Venues in Seoul, from the Late 18th to Late 19th Century’’, by Sung-Hee Park, is an historical account of the music-making activities in the late Joseon period. She discusses the interrelationships between the dynamics of social and economic change and the significance of music-making and listening as leisure by the middle and upper classes in the capital Seoul. Simon Mills’’ article ’’Music in Korean Shaman Ritual’’ describes and analyses the characteristics of Korean shaman tradition and the central roles of music in various ritual procedures and contexts and in particular the way in which the percussive rhythms shape the performances.

The next two articles are concerned with traditional dance forms. Judy Van Zile’’’’s article ’’How Do we Know About the Dances of Korea’’’’s Past?’’ discusses how we could interpret various iconographic depictions of Korean dance forms and styles as found in archeological and historical records. The second dance article is ’’Entertaining Dances at the Joseon Court’’ by Jungrock Seo who describes how, in contrast to the common image of an austere Confucian dynasty, the Joseon court supported a considerable number of court dances for entertainment purposes.

The next two articles are concerned with traditional musical dramas. Andrew Killick’’s article entitled ’’Tradition and Innovation in Changgeuk Opera’’ explicates the historical and social context in which changgeuk was created at the turn of the 20th century as the first theatrical genre to be performed on indoor stages. Haekyung Um’’s article ’’Performing Pansori Musical Drama : Stage, Story and Sound’’, explains how the concept and practice of pansori staging has evolved while the pansori stories and themes were limited to a canon of five pieces with numerous emergent variations and adaptions. In her case study ’’To One’’s Heart’’s Content : Baramgot Reclaiming Creative Space in Gugak’’, Hilary Finchum-Sung discusses the creative processes adopted by the new Korean ensemble Baramgot.

The last article of this volume, ’’Canonic Repertoires in Korean Traditional Music’’ is Keith Howard’’s critical examination of the canonization of traditional Korean performing arts. Focusing on samulnori ensembles established in the 1970s, he examines the creative process and evolution of samulnori to become a Korean musical canon in a very short period of time.

Download 2012 Mook theApro
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theApro <![CDATA[Guide for the international mobility of artist and culture professionals in Asia]]>

Guide for the international mobility of artist and culture professionals in Asia
[Trend] Asia-Europe Foundation’’s  


In the spring of 2011, a discussion on promoting the cultural exchanges within Asia was held during the IETM Satellite Meeting, which was held with the Yokohama Performing Arts Meeting ( TPAM ). With rising interest in Asia, along with the ever increasing exchanges within the region, a wide variety of requests and ideas were presented. Yet the discussion ended with a general consensus that an accurate understanding of the actual condition and environment must be reached first. In order to enhance the mobility of the artists, various systems and programs supporting the international exchange in Asia need to be put in place, as well as the establishment of a reliable information system with accessibility to the program.

To accommodate these demands, ASEF ( ASEF ) has requested a research to Culture 360, an Asia-Europe Culture Art Portal and published the . The is a guide published with the aim of boosting the mobility of artists by providing information on the funds, programs, and institutions supporting international exchanges. The guide also contains information on residency, various funds on participation in events, research, scholarship, market development, project, and art production.


The primary list of institutions and programs was prepared through research, conducted both on and offline, then edited by each Ministry of Culture or Arts Department in respective countries. The omitted institutions or programs were later added onto the list through online surveys. Furthermore, some of the support systems were cross-checked by the corresponding organizations in writing. In particular, the Korea Arts Management Service was entrusted to check the support systems in Korea, as partner organization.

Organizations and programs supporting international cultural exchanges for artists in 18 countries in Asia-Pacific region are listed in the guide.

List of Target Countries
-Brunei -Korea -The Philippines
-Cambodia -Laos -Singapore
-China -Malaysia -Vietnam
-India -Mongolia -Australia
-Indonesia -Myanmar -New Zealand
-Japan -Pakistan -Thailand


Direct Link

Upon research, 245 supporting programs from 170 organizations were listed. In terms of countries with the most international cultural exchange support, Australia ranked first with 56 programs from 36 organizations, followed by Japan and Korea.

As per the purpose of the system, the majority fell into the category of support systems focused on the local artists’’ visits abroad or foreign artists’’ local visits, such as Korea’’s donation of culture and art development or the market development support system within Korea Arts Management Service. However, there are also a number of international organizations and private arts foundations’’ programs supporting artists from diverse nationalities, which aim at promoting the regional cultural exchange.

With the exception of Singapore and Hong Kong, most of the programs from South East Asian countries, China, and South Asian countries were depending on foreign support, notably from Europe and the United States. Systems led locally tended to focus on overseas promotion of its art. Support systems in Australia, Japan, and Korea were rather stressing on developing their overseas market abroad for their modern art while the rest of the countries concentrated on introducing their traditional art. On a separate note, international organizations or private art foundations tended to focus on the artists’’ visiting programs and research studies rather than the exchange of art work.

Per genre, visual art received the greatest amount of support, which may be explained by the fact that the number of residence was great, many of which focused on the visual art.

is comprised of 21 chapters in total. The first chapter covers the outline of the research, and from the second to the nineteenth, programs that artists may apply to are listed for each country. The last two chapters, ’’Focus on Asia’’ and ’’Open to Any Nationality’’, do not focus on specific countries but list programs that artists from diverse nationalities may apply to. Basically, a Korean artist may simply refer to the list of programs in the Korea section, but if he or she has an exchange partner from a different country and is in need of a common funding, then he or she may also refer to the section of his or her partner’’s country. Each list includes an introduction, an outline, the purpose of the program, purpose and content of the application.

This research was conducted from March to May 2012 and is subject to regular updates, twice a year.


Culture360 : Asia Mobility Funding Guide
On the move: Europe Mobility Funding Guide
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theApro <![CDATA[Cultural Export Promotion in Europe]]> Cultural Export Promotion in Europe
[Trend] A report about the cultural and creative industries (CCIs)


*This article was posted on the KAMS’’ webzine, weekly@arts management(N.201).

The first article in this series examined cultural policy initiatives in Finland to boost cultural export promotion. Judith Staines now presents European policy and examples of cultural export promotion strategies in other European countries. While Finland is the only EU country to date which has evolved a national cultural export promotion programme for the cultural and creative industries (CCIs), there are many other interesting European strategies, some in designated CCI sectors, others in specific regions or cities.

EU developments

In recent years, there has been increased awareness of the importance of cultural and creative industries at EU level. These industries – which include architecture, archives and libraries, artistic crafts, audiovisual (such as film, television, video games and multimedia), cultural heritage, design, festivals, music, performing arts, publishing, radio and visual arts – are one of Europe’’s most dynamic economic sectors. They employ millions of people across the EU, contribute a substantial share to EU GDP and studies have shown that they grow faster than the rest of the economy.

The European Commission supports a process of bringing together representatives of cultural ministries and arts councils from EU Member States to discuss policy and learn from examples of good practice. This Open Method of Coordination (OMC) has established new OMC group to examine how countries can improve Export and Internationalisation Strategies for the Cultural and Creative Industries. At the first meeting in December 2012, EU government representatives were briefed on policy and strategies to support cultural export currently seen in Europe, set out in a paper co-authored by Judith Staines through the European Expert Network on Culture.

Creative Economy Report 2010


Analysis of the trends in CCI export and internationalisation relies on accurate, comparable statistical data. The study found that the main international bodies involved in such work (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development - UNCTAD/UNDP and Eurostat) all provide extensive evidence for the growth in international flows of cultural goods and services over recent years, for increases in cultural exports against other traded goods. According to the UNCTAD/UNDP Creative Economy Report 2010, creative goods exports account for the vast majority of world trade of CCIs. Design is the largest sub-sector for creative goods exports (taking 60% of all CCI goods exports in 2008).

Nine EU Member States were in the top 20 world exporters of creative goods and within ’’developed economies’’ six of the top ten countries are in the EU. Among developed economies in 2008, Germany was the top exporter of both Performing Arts and Publishing & Printed Media; Italy was top exporter of Design and the UK, France and Germany appear in the top five exporters of Visual Arts. Creative goods exports from the EU in 2010 represent 36% of the total value of creative goods exports worldwide.

Eurostat Cultural Statistics report 2011 found that in 2009 the EU-27 exported more cultural goods to the rest of the world than it imported, recording a trade surplus of around €1.9 billion. The main products exported were books, works of art, antiques, newspapers and DVDs.

At national level, the process of collecting and analysing statistics on cultural export is well established in many countries. For example, the UK publishes annual bulletins for economics of creative industries.

CCI sector strategies in Europe

Many EU countries have developed targeted strategies to promote cultural exports in certain CCI sectors. In film and audiovisual, all EU countries have designated bodies to help creators and producers to market and distribute their work internationally. For example, Flanders Image in Belgium and German Films actively promote their national film productions abroad. Support ranges from grants to attend international trade events, international co-production and distribution, translation grants for sub-titling and dubbing, national promotions and showcases abroad, tax incentives to encourage film location and post-production of foreign films, market research and expert business advice.

Many countries have organisations responsible for books and literature promotion (translation programmes, attending international trade fairs, helping publishers on trade missions abroad). For example, a new national agency, FranceLivre/BookFrance, promotes French books to a global audience and supports the acquisition of translation rights for French publications by publishers abroad. Portugal, Ireland, Slovenia, Poland are among the many European countries with book/literature promotion agencies.

 

Music Export Norway•s BDP in Berlin, ©Thomas Olsen, Berlinko
There are some well established music export offices to support the internationalisation of the sector. For example, NOMEX Music Export Programme is a collaborative organisation for the Nordic Music Export offices in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland for international promotion. France’’s bureauexport – the music export bureau for the French music industry, with its headquarters in Paris operates through a global network with offices in Berlin, London, New York, Tokyo and Sao Paulo.

With its strong market position and export potential, design (encompassing areas such as interiors, fashion, architecture, graphics etc.) is an international promotion focus for many European countries. The Netherlands ran an extensive four-year programme to promote Dutch design, fashion and architecture into targeted markets: DutchDFA set up workspaces in Mumbai and Shanghai where Dutch designers could meet and work with design collaborators, manufacturers and others in India and China, and there were special promotions in Germany and Turkey. Denmark is developing a distinctive internationalisation policy centred on design.

The homepage of the Dutch Design Fashion Architecture (DutchDFA)


With the strong creative cities movement, alongside policies to cluster creative industries in particular cities, zones and regions, there are interesting urban initiatives to support cultural export. For example, departure in Austria is the aptly named Creative Agency of the City of Vienna, aiming to improve conditions for the creative scene and increase CCI internationalisation. Other CCI promotion projects and programmes run in cities such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Glasgow and Berlin.
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theApro <![CDATA[2012 Survey for the Present Condition of the Performing Arts(Performance facilities as of 2011)]]> 2012 Survey for the Present Condition of the Performing Arts
(Performance facilities as of 2011)
[Trend] 2012 Survey for the Present Condition of the Performing Arts (Performance facilities as of 2011)  



The Survey for the Present Condition of the Performing Arts was first executed in 2005 with the aim of gaining an understanding of the current state of the performing arts in South Korea. Following official approval (Approval Number 11315) from Statistics Korea in 2007, the survey has been conducted yearly. Survey Outline

○ Survey Target: 868 performance facilities (Final valid responses: 418/complete+sample surveys)
○ Survey Content: The current state of performance facilities, including basic and general conditions, personnel, finances, performance showings, etc.
○ Survey Reference Point: December 31, 2011
○ Period Surveyed: January 1, 2011–December 31, 2011 ○ Research Period: June 8, 2012–July 13, 2013 (approximately 5 weeks)
Organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism(Minister Kwang-shik Choe) and Korea Arts Management Service(President Jae-wal Jung)․The results of the 2012 Survey for the Present Condition of the Performing Arts(Performance facilities as of 2011), supervised by the aforementioned, were released. The 2012 Survey for the Present Condition of the Performing Arts examines the operating conditions of performance facilities, an essential distributing agent in the performing arts industry, through objective and reliable methods․The results of the analysis are included. In the Survey for the Present Condition of the Performing Arts and the following analysis, performance facilities are categorized by their characteristics as a facility. Government facilities, arts and culture halls, and other public facilities are categorized as public facilities. Daehangno facilities and other private facilities are categorized as private facilities.

The scale of the performing arts industry in 2011—868 facilities, 10,039 personnel, and an estimated 316.7 billion won in sales

The scale of the domestic performing arts industry in 2011 can be measured in the 868 performance facilities, 10,039 industry personnel, and the estimated 316.7 billion won in sales, based on sales figures for the facilities. Compared to the previous year, the number of facilities and personnel increased by 5.9% and 4.3%, respectively, while sales decreased by 3.3 percent.

Developing scale of the performing arts industry (2009–2011)

Examining performance facilities by facility type, it’’s possible to observe that general private facilities and art and culture halls take up a dominant proportion of the total performance facilities. In terms of number, the number of general private facilities took up the largest percentage, making up 36.9% of the total number of facilities. Art and culture halls demonstrated the highest number of personnel, with 42.3% of the total personnel, and the general private facilities had the highest proportion of earnings, earning 39.5 percent of the total sales.

Overall, central government facilities and art and culture halls had a higher proportion of personnel and sales per facility, while the Daehangno facilities demonstrated a lower proportion of personnel and sales per facility. The general public facilities had a relatively lower proportion of sales for their number and personnel, and the general private facilities had a relatively lower proportion of personnel for their number and sales.

 

Public facilities earn 82.9 percent of the total revenue
Within the total revenue, the proportion of public funding is higher in public facilities and the proportion of independent revenue is higher in private facilities

In 2011 the total revenue of performance facilities was 981.6 billion won, an 18% increase from the previous year, and the total expenditure was about one trillion won, a 6.9% increase from the previous year.

 

Trends in financial scale (2009--2011)
Examining the data by facility type, the proportion of public facilities, including government facilities, art and culture halls, and general public facilities, made up more than 80% of the total. Of this number art and culture halls took up more than 50% of the total. Private facilities such as Daehangno facilities and general private facilities demonstrated a slightly a higher proportion of the total expenditure to their relatively lower proportion of the total revenue.

 

Financial scale by facility type
Examining the proportion of revenue by category, public facilities such as central government facilities, art and culture halls, and general public facilities demonstrated a higher proportion of public funding, while private facilities such as Daehangno facilities and general private facilities demonstrated a higher proportion of independent revenue. By type of expenditure, central government facilities, Daehangno facilities, and general private facilities demonstrated a mostly equal proportion of project expenses and ordinary expenses. Meanwhile, art and culture halls and general public facilities had a higher proportion of ordinary expenses in comparison to their project expenses.

In the performance showings, art and culture halls have the highest proportion of performances and audience numbers
General private facilities have the highest proportion of music audiences

There were 35,353 performances in 2011, a 19.9% increase from the previous year, and 100,015 days of performances, a 19.2% increase from the previous year. Performances were staged a total number of 138,878 times, a 30.9% increase from the previous year, and the audience totaled to 30,264,504, a 27.3% increase from the previous year.

 

Trends in performance showings (2007--2011)
In the number of performances and audience members, art and culture halls took up 35.5% and 33.0% of the total in each respective category, making up the highest proportion in each category. In both the number of performance days and the number of times performances were staged, general private facilities took up the highest proportion, at 33.6% and 34.7% of the total, respectively.

Overall, central government facilities had a relatively higher proportion of audience members to their number of performances and number of times performances were staged. Art and culture halls and general public facilities had a relatively lower proportion of performance days and times to their number of performances and number of audience members. Daehangno facilities demonstrated a relatively higher proportion of audience members, number of performance days and number of performances staged to their number of performances. Finally, general private facilities had a relatively lower proportion of audience members to their number of performances, number of times performances were staged, and number of performance days.

Proportion of performance records by facility type
Examining the number of performances by genre, central government facilities, art and culture halls, and general private facilities had the highest proportion of Western music. Daehangno facilities had the highest proportion of theater performances, and general public facilities had the highest proportion of multi-genre performances. Examining the audiences, general private facilities, at 59.4 percent, had the highest proportion of musical audiences. Central government facilities showed a higher proportion of Western music performances, and Daehangno facilities showed a higher proportion of theater performances, compared to other genres.

Genre Theater(%) Musical(%) Dance(%) Ballet(%) Western
music(%)
Opera(%) Traditional
Korean
music(%)
Multi-genre(%) Total(%)
Central
government
9.5 1.5 8.1 1.5 54.1 2.7 18.9 3.7 100.0
Art and
culturehalls
14.2 14.0 5.8 1.3 45.0 1.1 9.4 9.2 100.0
Daehangno 77.1 7.7 4.4 3.9 0.3 0.0 1.9 4.7 100.0
General
public
13.0 12.0 6.8 2.4 9.5 2.0 13.3 41.0 100.0
General
private
7.2 7.7 3.1 1.0 50.2 1.5 2.1 27.2 100.0

Proportion of genre (of the number of performances)

Genre Theater(%) Musical(%) Dance(%) Ballet(%) Western
music(%)
Opera(%) Traditional
Korean
music(%)
Multi-genre(%) Total(%)
Central
government
16.2 20.1 4.4 4.6 35.8 6.4 9.9 2.6 100.0
Art and
culturehalls
15.1 30.2 3.7 3.5 27.4 1.8 5.6 12.8 100.0
Daehangno 84.2 14.6 0.3 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.2 100.0
General
public
13.1 24.8 9.0 4.3 6.8 4.2 11.5 26.4 100.0
General
private
9.6 59.4 1.2 0.5 13.7 1.0 0.5 14.1 100.0

Proportion of genre (of the number of audience members)


The 2012 Survey for the Present Condition of the Performing Arts (Performance facilities as of 2011) has a margin of sampling error of ±5.6% points, at 95% confidence. A Report on the Present Condition of the Performing Arts, including the above, will be distributed in October 2012 at regional performance halls, art and culture halls, and other relevant institutions.

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theApro <![CDATA[2012 Report on International Exchange Activity for the Performing Arts (as of 2011)]]> 2012 Report on International Exchange Activity for the Performing Arts (as of 2011)
[Trend] 2012 Report on International Exchange Activity for the Performing Arts (as of 2011)



The Report on International Exchange Activities for the Performing Arts is an annual report that presents the current state of domestic and international performing arts groups and their exchanges through statistics and in a guide format.
This survey offers an overview of international exchanges in the performing arts sector—its dynamism as well as any growth trends.
[Survey Outline]
Survey Target l
Domestic performing arts groups that participated in international performances in 2011
Foreign performing arts groups that participated in domestic performances in 2011
Period l January 1, 2011–December 31, 2011 Methodology l Data from relevant institutions (Arts Council Korea, The Korea Foundation, Korea Media Rating Board, etc.),
relevant data on international exchanges from 16 regional cultural foundations, major art and cultural institutions and festival websites, etc. (Refer to details on collection included within the report)

A trend toward consistently increasing international activity for domestic performing arts groups in 2011

The count for the international activities of domestic performing arts groups in 2011 came to a total of 830. The total count for the domestic activities of international performing arts groups came to a total of 1,644. The number of domestic performing arts groups who engaged in international activity was 264, showing a decrease from 2010, but the number of performances, at 830, demonstrated a 16.1% increase from 2010. On the other hand, the number of international performing arts groups that performed in Korea came to 939, showing a 2.2% increase from 2010.

[Domestic→Int’’l][Int’’l→Domestic] Yearly progress for the international activity of performing arts groups (2009-2011)

In the music genre, a leap in international activity for domestic groups
And a downward trend in the domestic activity of foreign groups

Examining the international exchange activity of domestic and international performing arts groups by genre, it’’s possible to observe that the international activity of domestic groups increased by 30.9% from the previous year (2010) in the genre of music, affecting the upward trend seen in the total. On the other hand, the domestic activity of foreign musical groups decreased by 6.8% from the previous year, leading to the visible decrease of activity in the total.

 

[Domestic→Int’’l][Int’’l→Domestic] Yearly progress for the international activity of performing arts groups by genre (2009-2011)(Unit: Number of performances)

International performances from domestic acts diversifying away from North America to other continents
Domestic performances from international acts increasing from all continents except Europe

The characterizing feature of the international activity of domestic performing arts groups in 2011 was that the number of North American performances decreased while simultaneously increasing in other continents in a consistent upward trend. The increase in performances in the Oceania area in 2011 is particularly noticeable. This trend can be attributed to the 50–year anniversary of South Korea–Australia relations and the resulting commemorative events and spike in the overall number of cultural exchanges. The activity for international performing arts groups performing in South Korea increased except for those from Europe, which showed a 6.2% decrease from the previous year.

 

[Domestic→Int’’l][Int’’l→Domestic] Yearly progress for the international activity of performing arts groups (2009-2011)(Unit: Number of performances)

Invigorated international exchange through festivals—International activity was focused in Europe, while domestic activity was focused in Seoul

Out of the 264 domestic performing arts groups that performed internationally in 2011, 130 ventured abroad via festivals. This subgroup participated in 147 festivals and performed a total of 217 times, making up 26.1 percent of the total number of performances. In all, 116, or 53.5%, of these festival performances were at festivals in Europe. On the other hand, out of the 939 international performing arts groups that performed in South Korea, 563 groups participated in 108 domestic festivals, with 48.9% of these festivals based in Seoul.

 

[Domestic→Int’’l][Int’’l→Domestic] Festival participation rates of performing arts groups (Unit: %, Number of performances)
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theApro <![CDATA[The Boom of Dance Unfolds in Finland, the Land of Santa Claus: ’ICE HOT 2012’]]> The Boom of Dance Unfolds in Finland, the Land of Santa Claus: ’’ICE HOT 2012’’
[Trend] ’’ICE HOT 2012’’ Review 


A ’’Fiery Feast of Reason’’ in the Land of Snow

The second ICE HOT Nordic Dance Platform, or ICE HOT Helsinki 2012, was a winter festival that truly passed on the fresh fragrance of dance from the pure air currents flowing amidst the glaciers, truly representing "cold passion" and "fiery reason."

In the sparkling snow covering the city with a pristine white blanket today, participating artists from around the world discussed the artistic soul, clear like ice and aloof like silvery snow, and worried over dance.

The ICE HOT Nordic Dance Platform is a Nordic dance platform for dance professionals from all over the world, and it is an event that introduces Nordic contemporary dance to the world through superlative dance performances and showcases, forums, networking events, and a variety of other programs.

Participants are usually dance companies from five northern European countries—Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland—and through the Nordic Council, these countries have a cooperative system for many sectors, including politics, society, and culture. ICE HOT is funded by organizations such as the Nordic Culture Fund, the Nordic Culture Point, and the Swedish Arts Council, and unlike a dance market where each dance company must acquire a booth, the festival is noteworthy in its support of a platform concept and natural exchange, going beyond commercialism.


ICE HOT 2012 Poster

ICE HOT established itself as a fun, free-spirited festival from the outset, beginning with its name, which juxtaposes two diametrically opposed concepts, "ice" and "hot." The festival, which opens every other year, had its debut in December 2010 in Sweden, and its second run from December 12–15, 2012 in Helsinki, Finland. At the first round in Stockholm, Sweden, there were 21 performances, 12 presentation performances, and 2 forums. In 2012 there were a total of 33 participating performance companies, and there were about 300 dance-related professionals from 41 countries, heating up the exchange. The third ICE HOT will be in 2014 in Oslo, Norway.

This time around there was a special place for exchange and communication between Finland and South Korea, as the Korea Arts Management Service (headed by Jae-wal JUNG) reviewed the exchange program with Finland it has maintained over the past three years since 2010.

The Korea–Finland Connection Info Cell in the ground floor seminar room at the Kiasma Theatre on December 14, 2012, was a forum for dance professionals from both countries to discuss the perfect art of dance.

Euna Im of the International Development Department at the Korea Arts Management Service, who participated as a presenter on this day, received particularly enthusiastic applause for her presentation, wherein she screened the dance activities of the two countries from the past three years. Through the portrayal of dancers forming a bond through movement, the screening seemed to truly authenticate, despite the language barrier, the sincerity of dance.

Dance Info Finland’’s Sanna Rekola’’s welcoming ⓒHanna Koikkalainen The information desk placed at the Theatre Academy ⓒHanna Koikkalainen

Partners for this ICE HOT included Dansens Hus Stockholm (Sweden), Dansehallerne (Denmark), Dansens Hus Oslo (Norway), and Performing Arts Iceland (Iceland). It is a novel thought—filling the streets of the city, void of the people who have left the city on their Christmas holidays, with dance, almost in the vein of other European countries, who might attempt to hold onto vacationers leaving their country with summer festivals. It seems as though ICE HOT, in a similar way, is inviting dancers to the land of snow. Dance Info Finland, which oversaw this event, is a private aid institution in the dance sector, supporting domestic dance in any initiatives or endeavors abroad, producing and distributing learning materials with information on Finland dance, and advertising Finland’’s dance abroad. Moreover, it collects and publishes statistics related to dance and also functions as a consulting company.

 

Late Night Meeting Point Talk ⓒHanna Koikkalainen

At the scene of the event in Helsinki

This ICE HOT lasted for four days, with about 5–8 performances each day and spread out over seven performance facilities scattered all around the city of Helsinki, including the Theatre Academy Helsinki, which also acted as a headquarters, Zodiak—Center for New Dance, the Kiasma Theatre, Media Centre Lume, and the Helsinki City Theatre. In these facilities there were three performances at the opening ceremony and 33 selected performances, leading to a total of 36 performances.

Moreover, the countries that received a lot of attention at the event had presentation forums called Info Cells for communicating dance, exchanging ideas, and expanding perspectives. There was also a Late Night Meeting Point talk, where the dance distributors could gather and exchange opinions and swap information after the day’’s performances, as well as More, More, More, a forum for presentations on the experimental projects of young dance professionals that screened for 15 minutes each, for a total of one hour.

Out of the three necessary elements of a performance—the performer, audience, and distributor—this particular event was very much geared towards the distributor. There were about 300 dance-related professionals from about 40 countries all over the world there to see northern Europe’’s performances, chosen through a competitive 10:1 process, and also to place the festival on its exchange list.

This group, which mostly consisted of planners and distributors, demonstrated a very hot enthusiasm for the event, paying for their own lodgings as well as for the EUR 85 participation fee. This speaks volumes about the importance of the event. The dance companies and groups selected for this event surely had a determination and passion that set them apart, as the seats of each of their shows weren’’t just filled with an audience but with culture gurus. The ground floor of the Theatre Academy, which was acted like the headquarters of the event, had a never-ending supply of pamphlets and DVDs advertising each dance company, truly bringing the event’’s purpose to life.

Scheme of Things 08, choreographed by Tero Saarinen ⓒSakari Viika


As ICE HOT is held only every other year, the festival recorded an increase in organizations applying to participate in its second year. But out of a total of 200 submitted performances from the five countries, only 21 performances were selected.

The performances, which three globally-acknowledged top dance professionals from around the world selected together, deviated from most of the typical trends in the US or western Europe.

Because Ahn Aesoon of the Hanguk Performing Arts Center acted as one of the three judges, the status of Korean dance was especially acknowledged. Besides Director Ahn, Andre Teria Ult, art director of Berlin’’s Tanzimmergeist, Eduardo Bonito, director of Brazilian dance festival Panorama de Dança, and other globally leading dance professionals judged the performances— and this festival displayed them in their full glory during the four days of its running.

The main dance companies selected included Finland’’s Liisa Pentti + Co, Eeva Muilu, Milja Sarkola, and Helsinki Dance Company; Sweden’’s Eva Ingermasson Dance Production; Denmark’’s Marie Topp and Kitt Johnson X-Art; Norway’’s Winter Guests and Carte Blanche; and more. Three dance troupes will be performing at the opening ceremony; a familiar dance troupe that had toured in Korea previously, the Tero Saarinen Company, will be in the lineup along with two other groups, for a total of three. The others are Susanna Leinonen’’s dance troupe and , as well as the Karttunen Kollektiv.

The Korea Arts Management Service Oversaw the Korea–Finland Connection Presentation

 

Euna Im, presenting on the Korea-Finland Connection at Info Cell (International Development Department, KAMS)

The Korea Arts Management Service introduced its superlative project, the Korea–Finland Connection, at the forum-like Info Cell session at ICE HOT. Through the Seoul Art Market, the Korea Arts Management Service has expanded the multifaceted channels of its international exchange since 2007, and from 2009 discussions on how to collaborate with Finland began in earnest. Beginning in 2010, Finland participated as a partner institution in the Korea–Finland Connection, which was part of the KAMS Connection business. Since then, three years ago, the Korea–Finland Connection has been demonstrating rapid growth. For both parties involved—the Korea Arts Management Service in Korea and Dance Info Finland in Finland—the idea was to vitalize collaborative projects between dance professionals from each country.

According to what presenter Euna Im said that day, after jointly appointing seven experts in the field (whether dancers, choreographers, planners, festival directors) from each country, the seven Finnish dance professionals came to Korea in 2010 and participated in a research workshop with the seven Korean dance professionals. In 2011 they once again nominated seven experts in the field and participated in the Helsinki Festival in August, this time with the Korean dance professionals visiting Finland to take part in various research programs. Both countries were proactive about participating in research programs; in October the Finnish participants participated in the Seoul Art Market.

In April 2012 three of the numerous research projects over the course of two years underwent an adjudication process, and these three projects were designated superlative projects. The Korea Arts Management Service then covered the Korean participants’’ fees for the development of the three projects, and of these Dance Info Finland matched the amount to provide financial support for the Finnish participants in one project.

 

Double Exposure, the collaborative performance of Sungsoo Ahn Pick-Up Group & WHS

Besides the above, the jointly created Korea-Finland Double Exposure is also seen as another example of success. Double Exposure is the first collaborative performance from Korea’’s Sungsoo Ahn Pick-Up Group and Finland’’s visual theater group WHS. The collaboration began on October 13, 2012, at the Seoul Arts Center’’s Jayu Theater with Sungsoo Ahn’’s choreography and a juggler from WHS, Ville Walo, who performed with the members of Sungsoo Ahn’’s Pick-Up Group. The Stoa Cultural Centre in Finland provided the practice space and paid for the lodging. The Finnish debut of this collaboration was in August at the Helsinki Festival (August 18–22), debuting in Seoul a month later at the Seoul International Dance Festival in October—precisely October 13, at the Jayu Theater of the Seoul Arts Center.

Northern Europe is relatively lesser known than Western Europe to the Korean performing arts world, but it’’s aggressive about cultural exchange with other countries and has an active funding market. The Korea Arts Management Service has been maintaining collaborations with other countries and is currently enjoying a vigorous relationship with one of its most enthusiastic partners, Finland. And international exchange and communication as keywords for international collaborative enterprises are important, in this day and age, for their own sake, as well as important tasks for the performing arts industry.

International cooperative enterprises, where international exchange and communication feature prominently, are central to the mission of Korea’’s performing arts sector, and as such, KAMS’’ Finland-related programs carry significant meaning.

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theApro <![CDATA[[Trends] WOMEX, the Starting Point of World Music’s Overseas Presence]]> WOMEX, the Starting Point of World Music's Overseas Presence
[Trends] 2012 WOMEX Review


WOMEX (World Music Expo), which started in Berlin, Germany in 1994, celebrated its 18th anniversary this year. The most important international festival of world music recognized by UNESCO, WOMEX highlights folk and traditional music from different countries and also jazz. An exhibition, diverse showcase performances, a conference, networking occasions and a film market also take place, offering an efficient global networking opportunity to artistic directors of festivals, promoters, record labels, distributors, artists, management companies and booking agencies.

WOMEX was held in Denmark for the past three years. Based on its principle of changing its venue every three years, this year it took place in Thessaloniki, Greece, from October 17 to 21. From 2013, the venue will change every year. In 2013, it will be hosted by Cardiff, in the UK and in 2014, in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Statistics show that this year's event attracted 2,200 participants from 90 countries, numbers a bit smaller than those of the previous year (2,250 participants from 98 countries). Despite the reduced number of participants, this year's WOMEX was as fascinating as the previous ones.


WOMEX 2012, the World Music EXPO with about 850 artists

The showcase is the crown jewel of WOMEX. A total of 61 showcase performances from 50 countries, including 36 official performances and 25 unofficial ones, were presented at eight theaters. Although WOMEX lasts for five days, there is no showcase on its first day when the opening ceremony is held and on its last day when the closing ceremony takes place. This means that all of the 61 performances must be presented over just three days. Each performance is given 45 minutes so the showcase runs from 1 p.m. until 4 a.m. the next day. Various types of theaters, including a large standing club, a small club and concert hall, were used. Last year, 750 performing artists applied to be part of the official showcase setting the record for the largest number of applicants ever in the history of WOMEX. This year however, the record was broken; with about 850 artists, representing around a 12% increase, applying. The tough situation in the performing arts market may have pushed the troupes toward the greater opportunities that become available through performing at WOMEX.

Geomungo Factory showcase

Among the 850 applicants, only 32 of them were invited to be part of the official showcase. For this year's official showcase, Geomungo Factory was the only Korean group to be chosen after coming through a competition with 25 other artists. Performers that want to apply for the showcase are required to apply on the website of Sonic Bids (http://www.sonicbids.com/). WOMEX's jury of five, which is newly formed every year, selects the artists that will perform during the official showcase. Among the 32 artists chosen for the official showcase, 20 of them are then selected again to be given the opportunity to contribute to the promotional compilation record called "WOMEXIMIZER," a record which is distributed for free to all participants during WOMEX. Geomungo Factory was also one of the 20 chosen meaning the group's music featured on the record which greatly contributed to the group's promotion.

The artists that are not selected for the official showcase can still be chosen for the unofficial performances called "Off WOMEX." In this case, the performers must pay all of their performance costs so it is difficult for individual groups to apply for this without any external support. For this reason, these groups usually receive government support. Some countries even allocate a large portion of their budget for this event so that several musicians can prepare one-day of performances. For this year's Off WOMEX, the three days were allocated to the Nordic countries, Italy and Brazil respectively. This is an occasion for each country to demonstrate its own music and to have full control of the structure of its performance. The governments thus lend active support to the artists participating in Off WOMEX. This year, Off WOMEX actually attracted a much larger audience and received more attention than the official showcase performances.


The trade fair
Showcase followed by socializing and networking( (photo by Sukjin LEE)

A pratical music market to promote the worldwide music

A trade fair was also held during the daytime throughout the three days of WOMEX. 600 organizations from 40 countries participated in the fair with 245 booths on display. The booths were installed on the first floor of two buildings. The exhibition halls were so spacious that it wasn't even easy to look around all of the booths. Since there were so many booths, several booths were combined together to form a large national pavilion. This year, 10% or 26 out of the 245 booths belonged to the national pavilions of Korea, Brazil, the Nordic countries and Turkey. Some booths were decorated in a way that emphasized the country's characteristics and others promoted themselves by opening a café or a bar. As for the booths belonging to a national pavilion, all representatives from the same country shared the same space. It is more efficient than having separate booths. Since it costs so much for individual organizations to install their own booths, public resources are used to enhance efficiency and lessen their financial burden. This year, the Korean pavilion was shared by Jeong Ga Ak Hoe (Minyoung KIM), Esternox (Seokjin LEE), Cheong Bae Yeon Hi Dan (Sujin LEE), Gamin (Hyoseon KANG), Geomungo Factory (Juik PARK), Nae Deu Reum (Gudae KIM) and the Ulsan World Music Festival (Jeongheon LEE and Min-kyung KIM). Using a national pavilion, however, does have some disadvantages. Deulsori, another Korean group, ran its own booth separately from the Korean pavilion. The group seems to have made such a decision in order to promote itself more effectively because negotiations about potential performance tours mostly take place in a booth. Moreover, Deulsori has participated in WOMEX and in overseas markets for several years so it has significant knowhow and personal connections. Thus, it was an effective strategy for the group to have a separate booth, distinguishing itself from other Korean groups.

The conference

WOMEX is a market whose main goal is to promote and book performances, but it is not its only goal. It is also a venue for music-loving experts to exchange information and to talk about the present and future of music. About 70 speakers from 30 countries provided the participants with diverse practical information including how to participate in WOMEX (for those who are not yet familiar with the event), how to prepare documents on overseas promotion, what international copyright is, how to register music for digital downloads and what strategies they can use to get funding and organize overseas tours. Suggesting different methodologies, the speakers were mostly discussing how to increase the distribution of music. As the recorded music and performance markets have been depressed for quite a long time, the general theme of this year didn't seem to be much different from that of last year. There was also a round table where multiple speakers held a discussion and a mentoring session which allowed the participants to talk to each other one on one.

IMZ Film Screenings served as an occasion for participants to learn about other countries' music. This exhibition of documentaries on world music hosted by Austria's International Music + Media Centre has been an official part of WOMEX for the past 11 years. The exhibition not only introduces performances but it also explains the origin of the particular style of music shown, in an attempt to help the participants better understand each country's music. If a participant is interested in a particular country's music, they can watch the documentary on that music. Afterward, if they invite musicians from that country to perform, they will be able to organize the event based on the deepened knowledge. This year, 17 documentaries were screened and many of them described the music of the Balkan Peninsula.

the Malaysia booth

Although Offline WOMEX is finished in five days, performances and networking through WOMEX continues online. Almost all of the showcase performances are recorded in cooperation with public radio stations including BBC (UK), ERT (Greece), RBB & WDR (Germany) and NRK (Norway) so that they can be distributed through the European Broadcasting Union. In addition, Mondomix (France) also video-recorded its showcase (The recording cost of 450 euros was paid by the group.) to distribute the video online, on the troupe's website and YouTube, for example. Moreover, all participants of WOMEX have access to a website called "Virtual WOMEX" for a year. This website helps performers easily promote their performances online before and after WOMEX and for promoters to gather information on major participants. In particular, the website makes available not only the participants' details and contact information but also information on how long they have participated in WOMEX. It is thus easy to get information on major foreign artists. The participants see each other in person only for five days but these diverse tools allow them to be exposed to the overseas market continuously so that they can achieve concrete results.

WOMEX continues its growth as the center of world music. As the number of jazz musicians started increasing in 2010, a special session came to be devoted to jazz so that they can have their own networking venue. Furthermore, a classical music version of WOMEX was launched under the name "classical: NEXT" in Munich, Germany in spring 2012. Its structure encompassing a showcase, a conference, film screening and an exhibition is similar to that of WOMEX. Indeed, it is a "sister event" making use of the same knowhow and personal connections as WOMEX. Jazz and classical music experts, who used to participate in the world music market WOMEX, can now participate in a separate event of their own. This is seen as a strategy to make each genre independent in order to expand the venue of networking and to attract more participants. It is to see if such an attempt will contribute to either the expansion or contraction of the world music market.

BBC radio recording

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theApro <![CDATA[[Trends] Tomorrow will be a better day]]> Tomorrow will be a better day
[
Trends] Performing arts trends and issues in the Balkans


The Performing Arts Market in Seoul, held in October, featured a regional focus section on Eastern Europe, where experts from this region had a chance to talk to their Korean counterparts and look at the current situation in Eastern Europe and the issues that performance art there is facing.

From left to right M J CHOUN, Zvonimir Dobrović and Samo Selimovic

Q : We often group all the countries in this region together as being part of the Balkan Peninsula, but really, each country has very distinct characteristics that separate it from the others in this region. I have been to Slovenia, Macedonia, Croatia, and Bosnia, and I noticed that the tourists in each country are very different. I think we can begin to discuss the performance art trends and themes in the countries that make up the Balkan Peninsula, which have both similarities and differences.

A Samo Selimovic ("Samo") : I work for Bunker, a nonprofit group that organizes mostly contemporary performance art events in Slovenia. A theater that holds contemporary performance art pieces is a very important space in the region, in terms of its contemporary art trends. Our group organizes around 150 performances yearly and all of them are contemporary performance art pieces. Also, we are currently working on projects that are connected to our local community. The theater we operate is not a government organization, so it is not institutionalized, and we do not own the theater. Basically, we just manage the theater. Because we don’’t own the theater, our work is assessed every five years by the administrative committee: they look at the success or failure of the programs we’’ve run so far, as well as our vision for future programs, and decide whether or not the theater will go on for another five years, through an open tender process.

Q : So does that mean that your group is a sort of management team?

A Samo : Yes. However, as I’’ve stated before, Slovenia and other Balkan countries have many organizations and institutions which don’’t have a performance venue. Our group provides the necessary functions that these organizations need. Regarding the content of our self-produced performances for the theater, there is a limit. So if an act requires more than the boundaries of our theater can provide, that performance doesn’’t get featured. If a certain performance corresponds with our theater, there is a bigger chance that the performance will be shown. As this kind of work is as a service for non-governmental and non-institutional organizations in Slovenia and other Balkan countries, there is an element that is lagging behind compared to countries which do not operate this way. I think maybe compared to other Balkan countries, Slovenia’’s situation is a bit better. In Albania, there are no established organizations in the performance sector.

Q : So there are only private organizations?

A Samo : Yes. It might be different for each country but comparatively, there is a bit more support for these non-governmental groups in Slovenia. Of course, this is only in comparison to other Balkan countries; compared to Western Europe, it is probably lacking in support. The current situation of Slovenia’’s performance art scene is that most of the works take on this non-institutional format. The repertory theaters, as well as the current state of affairs for production, all face these sorts of artistic circumstances. Most of the funding goes toward established theaters and everyone receives public funds. Like most European countries, Slovenia’’s art sector still operates with support from public funding.

Q : If so, what kinds of works are featured in these established theaters?

A Samo : It depends on the theater, but it is mostly opera performances. Slovenia’’s population is only around 2 million, but the country still has two national opera companies and two national theaters. In addition, in cities like Ljubljana and Maribor that have more than 20,000 residents, there is at least one municipal theater in the city as well. I wouldn’’t say that all the national theaters and groups focus only on classic theater or opera, because they do make small attempt to break away from traditional formats. Even so, most of the experimental and contemporary works can be seen in the independent sector.


Q : Switching the topic, I would like to hear about the situation in Croatia. When I attended the International Small Scenes Theatre Festival in Rijeka, I remember being struck by the depth of understanding by the audience members in regards to the performances during a press conference including a talk session with the audience. So I came out of it thinking that Croatia’’s contemporary theater sector is highly developed. In addition to these kinds of festivals, what are the contemporary art trends in Croatia at the moment?

A Zvonimir Dobrovic ("Zvonimir"): I think that the audiences in the Balkan Peninsula are more cultured. This is because that area has a long history of observing the contemporary theater and dance trends of the world. So, I think that Balkan audiences, not just Croatian audiences, have steadily been hearing about the trends in global theater. Also, traditionally and socially, theater has always been an art form that has garnered a lot of respect. In this sense, the audiences follow this path. Of course, films are evolving as well, but in particular, it is the theater sector that is developing.

Sometimes, I encounter rude audience members. There are people who just walk out of a performance right in the middle of it. However, there are also really devoted audiences who follow the performance well. These are audiences that have considerable knowledge about what they are watching. In this sense, Croatia’’s contemporary theater is in a satisfactory state. It is just that because the system is complex, the circumstance is complicated as well. By "the system," I am referring to the situation in which funding is focused mostly on public theaters and other government-run organizations. It is slowly changing, but the basic thinking of the state government and the Ministry of Culture isn’’t changing much. Because this is the case, opportunities will surface only when we find other sources of funding. The cultural minister of Croatia will not look at the activities of private organizations and think that they need a separate performance venue to showcase their creativity. In any case, performances are happening regardless of the stance of the Ministry of Culture, and those who want to pursue theater have to find another way to carry on with their art.

Q : So what is the festival scene like in Croatia?

A Zvonimir : Croatia’’s large-scale festivals have a long tradition. Like in Europe, the festivals formed after WWII, almost at the same time as big festivals like Festival d’’Avignon. They date back to a time when the trend was trying to promote harmony among nations after having gone through a crisis. Croatia’’s first ever festival, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, started around two years after the Festival d’’Avignon. Also, in Pula, close to Rijeka, there is a very old, well-known film festival. These festivals, born between the 50s and the 70s, reflect the circumstances of the time, and in particular, introduced artists who had strong ties to Europe. Later on, when Yugoslavia collapsed and Croatia became an independent country, these festivals started becoming more and more institutionalized due to government interference, and works started focusing more on national identity and other national issues. With this, the cooperative relationship between countries deteriorated and more and more, these festivals started becoming a vehicle for nationalism. I think that it can be dangerous for culture to be used in that kind of way.

Q : Do you see it as a form of post-communism?

A Zvonimir : Yes. These festivals still haven’’t recovered completely. They have quite strong traditions, and although they showcase artistic works like other international festivals, most people haven’’t heard of these works or don’’t know what they are about.

Q : What about in Slovenia?

A Samo : Basically, it is mostly a similar situation. I think you can generalize what I talked about just now and see it as their overall situation. I think the 60s and the 70s, in terms of art, was probably the golden age of theater. There was substantial investment in that form of art, and the global situation meshed well with the national position, creating the best conditions. I have said that festivals are losing their originality, and the situation in Slovenia is similar. Some performance venues hold various festivals—for example, theater festivals like Borstnik Gathering, are still running. It might not be a global festival, but I think it has merit as a regional festival.

Q : I’’ve heard that in the past, Balkan countries had more direct, cooperative relations with Western European countries than with Eastern European and Central European countries. If this is so, what is the situation like among Balkan nations in terms of cooperation or making joint productions?

A Zvonimir : It is in the process of recovering its strength. In fact, it was only two years ago that cooperative efforts began, with a lot of caution and seriousness and led by small-scale private organizations like ours. We are a small, private organization, but as one of the private cultural groups which started opening up towards cooperation with other Balkan countries, we are one of the biggest.

A Samo : The 90s were the worst period in the 20th century for people in the Balkan Peninsula. This is in terms of politics, not generally speaking. For example, after the breakup of Yugoslavia, when the Balkan countries wanted to discuss international cooperation, they went outside the Balkan area, to Western European countries. They attempted to develop internally by looking at Western Europe and their art. There was no cooperation between Balkan countries, and this was for political reasons.

A Zvonimir : Croatia now has a new Ministry of Culture, but before the ministry was founded, there was no support for any joint projects with artists from other Balkan areas. There was even a reluctance to use the word "Balkan." However, it is changing now.

 

 

Q : There are a lot of common, similar characteristics among the countries in the Balkans, but on the other hand, what are the distinct characteristics? Compared to other Balkan nations, what makes Slovenia unique?

A Samo : First of all, the artists are different. I think that in the past, there was more organized support for art in Slovenia than any other Balkan country. For example, Croatia’’s Ministry of Culture tried to fund the arts sector, but Slovenia’’s government no longer does that. The fact is, Slovenia got rid of its Ministry of Culture one year ago. The private sector opposed it fiercely, but the fight was fruitless for us.
A Zvonimir : The things that are happening in Croatia are in a far better position compared to other countries. This is especially true financially speaking—although everybody still complains. The act of complaining is a relative thing, because the amount of funding is still not enough to support young artists or artists who want to break their own mold.

The movements that have been bubbling up in Croatia for the last 10 years are finally bearing fruit today. Croatia has a generation of young artists who are sensitive to the various phenomena happening inside the country in terms of politics, society, and art. Their works respond to contemporary issues and form a social consensus. Of course, these works also have to be relatable to the audiences as well. However, numerically speaking, the ability to attract audiences is still lagging. Ordinarily, things like contemporary dance performances do not attract a big audience because of its experimental quality. The number of people who would go to see experimental works doesn’’t even add up to a few hundreds. Regardless, in the case of Croatia, things are getting a bit better. There is an exchange of positive influences when seeing someone else succeed, such as taking inspiration from them.

Q : Besides traditional text-based art, how do you come up with new projects, find funding, and operate projects in the field of art?

A Samo : Like I’’ve mentioned, as a systematic approach, we rely on government support. We have many revenue sources, but basically, all of them are public funding. Much of this amount comes from local government funds, as each city has its own production budget. It is more difficult for private organizations to survive, because they are not systematized. That is why many dancers are choreographers, as well as the head of a small-scale NGO that they have founded. They are part of a system which forces them to do this. In order for artists to make their ideas come to life, they need to apply for funding; to produce the works, they need to make their own organizations. This has become a commonplace thing for artists. However, this brings about fragmentation. Although there have been massive amounts of works produced in the last 15 to 20 years, all of the works were either small-scale or solo performances. These performances usually have production costs of around 8,000 euros, and it will be difficult for them to keep them afloat. Because it is difficult to cover the basic costs, repeat performances are impossible, even after a successful first performance and the work gains some recognition. There have been so many performances like that. So we need to find a long-term plan to raise funds. In the past, that is the direction that the government wanted us to take, which is why funding came in one-year or three-year forms. But as the financial crisis hit, it has become harder for the government to provide funds. There are other ways to get funding when the public sector doesn’’t provide enough support, mainly getting funds from foreign institutions, but looking at the Balkans as a whole, this represents one part of the funding situation.

Q : For example, if I were to start a festival, how much would I need in public funding, or support from the state government? I am curious as to how much of the funding comes from internal profits. Can you tell me the ratio?

A Zvonimir : In our case, we have secured various sources for funding. The organization that I run doesn’’t just deal with cultural things. We do various projects. The art projects we operate span different fields, including culture, education, politics, and media. Because of this, we have difference sources for funding. This is the only way we can survive. If we had insisted on only doing festivals, we would have failed. If we start to depend on only one or two sources of funding, and later on, the funding stopped or shrank, we would have to stop our operations altogether. So to survive, we have to do a diverse range of things. So we are trying to find stability by going into publishing books related to performance art. We secure 25--30% of the total budget from public funding, and the rest we get from either international projects or projects we produce overseas. Of course, although it isn’’t a lot, the ticket sales and revenue from selling books make up around 10%.

The artists we work with do not earn a lot of money. What the artists get out of it is at least being able to finish their works with creative control and having an opportunity to showcase their works. What we are trying to do is provide an international opportunity.

Q : Among contemporary works, are there efforts to either criticize or remind the public of issues in contemporary society?

A Samo : I think you can say that. Looking at recent history, there have been big scandals in Europe every two years because certain artistic endeavors have not received sympathy from the majority of the public. There is quite a lot of politically driven content, which I think comes out when these endeavors collide with the views of the general public. Even looking at theater or art works, there have always been artists who aim for intervention, or interference. In all artistic forums, including music, performance art, and visual art, there is a political statement. I think this may be related to the breakup of Yugoslavia, because there is a lot that artists contributed at the beginning towards a solution. In Slovenia, there is a political art collective called NSK (Neue Slowenische Kunst) which was regarded as being a threat to national security at the time . For example, punk music has been seen in this light. In Slovenia, punk music has secured a place in the mainstream of art history. A Zvonimir : By organizing festivals, we really try to question and criticize. We try to understand what is making people upset or what is making their lives unbearable. There is bound to be injustice in society and we try to put forth these problems and talk about them. Because we all try to defend ourselves in our own way. The American author James Baldwin once wrote that ,"For the best actor, patriotism is criticizing one’’s own country. The way to love your country and society is to see it as it is." Patriotism doesn’’t mean saying everything is just good. That is not patriotism. I always remember this quote.

Also, relating to criticism, I want to talk about a good method that I use often. When I go to other countries to see performances, I talk to colleagues about our festival. Because these people all operate theaters, they tell me what is interesting and what is not. Then, I trust them and follow their opinion. And when I do that, I usually discover something unexpectedly, from another place. I don’’t know about Korea, but in Croatia, when we prepare for festivals, no one is in a good mood. This is because the Ministry of Culture predicts who will come to the event and sets up its own agenda. However, this is not what they should be doing. Their role is to support us so that things run smoothly, because they are not experts who deal with art every day. There are others who understand different aspects of the process better, including those who understand art, those who go to the studio, those who know what is going on in the field, those who go on business trips, and those who understand their colleagues. The ministry has to permit these people to organize the program in a much important way.

A Samo : Personally, I think that the big problem in the Balkans is that when we look at the past, we don’’t have a critical point of view, and when we look towards Western Europe, our gaze is limited to the artistic realm.

Q : So in other words, are you talking about a sort of Western Europe-centric point of view?

A Samo : Yes. Slovenia and Bosnia are very European countries, but their focus is geared towards Western Europe. Also, they want to be another France, another Germany. Although they have their own individual ways of interacting with the outside world, in our case, there is too much of a focus on Western Europe.


Q : What was your vision when you began your work? Why did you start, what was your goal, and what were you aiming for?

A Zvonimir : When the festival began, I didn’’t think about those things. To be honest, I just wanted to do art, culture-related things, and performance art, because I thought that there was no other thing in life that was more worthy than this. I’’m sure you are aware of this, but the problems and difficulties you face when doing art-related work fundamentally lie in the way you work with other people. This is the part I like the most. .

I like working with other people: encouraging one another, conversing and sharing opinions, pulling out questions that I have been ruminating over, and sharing these questions with others. You can know who people are, what point in their lives they are at, and why they are doing what they do through their work. In this sense, it is quite an attractive thing to be surrounded by creative people and artists. Sometimes, I think of myself as a sponge. When someone is creating something or researching, I absorb all their energy and knowledge. Overall, I am quite optimistic, because Croatia’’s situation will be better tomorrow. There are many talented, creative people and those who cherish art, theater, dance and performance art. Political and economic situations are always tough, but I haven’’t encountered a situation where I haven’’t been able to support an artist because there was no money. Fortunately, money has never turned into a sort of King Kong-like monster, at least in the last 10 years. I work with artists because I want to work with them. I want others to find their own way, like I have done for myself. The dialogue in the Balkans is always aimed at the future—because tomorrow will be a better day. (laughs)

Q : Thank you for speaking for this long a time. I wish all of you luck. I hope that the next time we meet, we will have moved to a better tomorrow.

Zvonimir Dobrovic
Dobrobic has worked as a curator for festivals in Croatia, the U.S., France, Slovenia, and Macedonia, and is the founder and program director of Queer Zagreb and Perforacije .


Samo Selimovic
Selimovic is the international program manager at Bunker. Bunker is a nonprofit group which organizes various contemporary performance art works and educational programs. He organizes and operates Mladi Levi one of Bunker’’s main festivals.


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theApro <![CDATA[Need to Focus More on Creation and Development than on Distribution]]> Need to Focus More on Creation and Development than on Distribution
[Focus] ] [PAMS 2012] LIP (Looking for International Partners) Reviews


Music Drama It’s Spring

LIP (Looking for International Partners) is a program designed to seek co-production partners at Performing Arts Market in Seoul (PAMS). A total of ten projects were introduced through pre-selection. For each project, ideas and/or plans for each stage of creation, development, production, and distribution are introduced after which an open search for partnership in Korea and/or abroad begins. Selected projects are provided with information and consulting service for partnership matching and an opportunity to give presentations as well as the right to apply for a production space and the next year’s LIP showcase for a completed work or a work in progress.

Amrita Performing Arts

Post Ego Dance Company of Korea and Amrita Performing Arts of Cambodia are looking for a presenter and a co-producer for a collaborative contemporary dance project. The first workshop will focus on acquiring expertise and discussing the theme of the work while also taking time to develop dramaturgical concepts. The two companies plan to complete the production of the new work and start a worldwide tour presenting their shared repertoire during the second half of 2013.

 

KHMEROPEDIES II: Emmanuele Phuon
OLDEN NEW GOLDEN BLUE

Domino (Domino)

Domino is a co-production series of Perforation Festival (Perforation Festival Croatia) and is looking for a presenter and a co-producer. Domino has been performed at Croatia, the United States, France and Slovenia and will soon be performed in Brazil, Serbia, and Moscow. The work communicates well with the audience because it uses expertise and artistic interpretation of the social context in which it is taking place (host country). This work has been presented as opening and closing events during many festivals and will appeal to the Korean theater professionals interested in street performances.

Studio Rebel

Studio Rebel was founded by Kangseon LEE, who has worked for the Korean international office of the renowned Shinjuku Ryozanpaku theatre company. Studio Rebel is planning a multidisciplinary / cross-genre project and looking for a co-producer, a set designer, and multimedia artists. This project is mainly about exploring the implications and consequences of creating a play centered on an object close to our everyday lives as well as its possibilities as an experimental play. Earphones were previously used as everyday objects. This time, a surveillance camera will be used and will be combined with dancers’ movements in an open space. The project strongly needs multimedia artists’ interest and participation.

Chuncheon Cultural Foundation

Co-produced by Mokhwa Repertory Company (Director: Taeseok OH) and Chuncheon Cultural Foundation, It’s Spring already premiered last June. The project is looking for a co-producer who will take charge of overseas presentations, multiple playwrights writing in various languages for overseas performances and stage artists. It is encouraging to note that the project is the first theatrical production of a cultural foundation operated by a local government. The musical drama consists of 28 actors and musicians; most of them belong to Mokhwa Repertory Company and there are also local actors and musicians. Chuncheon Cultural Foundation produced It’s Spring to revisit the work of Kim Yu-jeong, a writer from Chuncheon. After its premiere in June, its distribution in and out of Korea is being prepared. The nationally renowned producer Taeseok OH and the 19 actors had contributed to the successful premiere.

 

The music drama "It’s Spring”

Trust Dance Theatre and Culture Center Pii Poo

This project is a social participation performance by Trust Dance Theatre of Korea and Finnish Culture Center Pii Poo, organizations which plan to develop workshops and programs and create an original production in collaboration with communities of persons with disabilities in both countries. The project is in its development stage and is looking for dancers, a producer and a presenter. This project began as a Korea-Finland connection project supported by KAMS.

Stalker Theatre

A project conducted by Stalker Theatre, an Australian physical theatre company, is looking for a collaborator, a co-producer, and a presenter. Project Encoded is a project carried out through the collaboration of talented digital artists, designers, software engineers and physical theater actors. Stalker Theatre is willing to breathe a human soul into cutting-edge technology. It says that it will produce performances not only for indoor theaters but also specific outdoor spaces.

Lina Limosani

Lina Limosani is looking for a presenter and a co-producer for the collaborative project carried out by Australia and Malaysia. The project is in its development stage. A Delicate Situation, a project led by her, was first conceived in Malaysia in 2008 and premiered at the Kuala Lumpur Arts Centre. In the research process of elaborating on the initial conception, she combined cultural roots of the work while also studying a great number of lasting superstitions related to death. Along with the composers, sound designers and artists whom she has met in this process, she has discussed how to further develop the work. Having experienced the tragedy of losing her husband during the project, she seeks to explore humans’ superstitious nature that is revealed when they approach the question of death, deathbed and the afterlife.

NYID and Wooturi

Ampers&nd, a collaborative project conducted by NYID (Not Yet It’’s Difficult) of Australia and Wooturi of Korea, is looking for a presenter. The project combines “Body Listening,” an inter-media training system, and a conventional art form to invent a brand new choreographic language and system. In 2011 and 2012, the project completed its research and development phase in Dresden, Germany, in Melbourne, Australia and during Chucheon Arts Festival. NYID and Wooturi are planning a tour in 2013, starting by the premier of Ampers&and at Momjit Theatre in Chuncheon on November 6, 2012.

Farm in the Cave

Farm in the Cave is looking for physical theatre actors, a presenter, and a co-producer for Amigas (working title), a new work about an international conference shedding light on local issues suggested by co-producing partners. This is a site-specific project that will be carried out by members of Farm in the Cave, a Czech physical theater company and artists invited from abroad. What is interesting is that the co-producers will suggest issues. The project will thus draw its inspiration from messages and local cultures of specific regions and spaces. The theater has produced Sclavi / The Song of an Emigrant, Waiting Room, The Theatre and The Journey to the Station. It is planning to perform more in site-specific locations outside the traditional theatres.

Legs on the Wall and Asia Now

Korea’’s Asia Now and Australia’s, Legs on the Wall are looking for co-commissioning and presenting partners, arts centers and festivals for its collaborative project Tale of Samulnori. The project is a musical circus about four kids setting out on a journey to find four musical instruments. The project was conceived to identify diverse elements in Korean traditional performing arts and to experiment and incorporate these elements into contemporary performing arts. Its development phase including preliminary research, workshops, residency and the premiere will be followed by the performances in Australia in February 2013 and in Korea in May 2014.

Looking back, artists participated more voluntarily in last year’s LIP than in this year’s one. Such voluntary participation also contribute to carrying out collaborative projects. For example, a Japanese choreographer found Dance Theater 4P thorough LIP. After several trials and errors, this choreographer completed workshops and rehearsals twice in Korea and is planning to present The Absence of the City at SPAF on October 19 and 20. Such success stories make us feel more excited about LIP.

Last year’s partner search was focused on those contributing to the development phase (e.g. creative staff, performers and choreographers) while this year, it was mainly about the distribution phase (e.g. festivals, presenters and producers). Indeed, the ten projects introduced during this year’s LIP included collaborative projects conducted by Korea and Australia as well as Korea and Finland. It thus seems that there was a limit to introducing projects in their development stage encompassing diverse production environments and experiments. It is true that distribution is a basic element of a market. However, comparing the characteristics of LIP and those of other market programs, LIP should be focused more on the creation and development phase than on distribution.

 

LIP Audience members during presentations

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theApro <![CDATA[Importance of Understanding the Need to Grow Together]]> Importance of Understanding the Need to Grow Together
[Focus] ] [PAMS 2012] Round table Reviews 2


Roundtable sessions, a networking program for PAMS participants, were held at KB Youth Haneul Theater and National Theatre Byeolohreum Theater on October 11 and 12. Performing arts professionals from Korea and abroad shared their knowledge, experience, and opinions and networked with each other and raised awareness of subjects of their interest. Discussions from the 4 sessions are summarized below.

Round Table 3_ Support System of Private Arts & Culture Foundations

 

 

 

Sejun KIM Mijeong SON
Yonggu HWANG
Giwon GWON

Sejun KIM _Professor at the School of Culture and Tourism of Sookmyung Women’’s University (Korea)

Frankly speaking, private support for the arts in Korea is not transparent enough compared to the country’s public support. That is why the exact amount of private support is unknown. However, with the recent changes in the individual and corporate tax laws, everything has changed. In fact, tax benefits don’t constitute a big issue. Further changes in the tax laws will improve transparency and improve the public’s notion of making donations to the arts. In order to improve artistic support in Korea, we need to do more than just claiming how valuable cultural and artistic funding is. It is just as important for us to earn support from those who are outside the art world.

Sejun KIM is a professor at the School of Culture and Tourism of Sookmyung Women’’s University, and is currently writing a paper on the “Survey on the Current Situation of Cultural Foundations and Differentiation Strategies.”

Mijeong SON_Chief of Exhibition, Seoul Arts Center (Korea)

We must understand corporations’ perspectives and intention regarding the arts in order to propose potential benefits coming from supporting the arts. As for the trend of fundraising, in the early days, there was a high demand for ticket sponsoring whereas today, corporations increasingly prefer direct participation in sponsorship activities such as arts education programs. So, as members of arts organizations, we should not see corporations only as fundraising sources; instead, we should conduct more research on how to use our contents to communicate with them and how to understand them and empathize with them. One of the aspects of fund raising is to expand the fundraising market. Most organizations consider only major corporations in the top percentile, but corporations would want to support renowned and/or reliable organizations. Therefore, the best way to build lasting partnership is to choose corporations or funders whose values are the closest to those of your organization. Although the amount of funding could be small and it could be difficult for the funder to support your organization, it is important to instill the idea that supporting the arts is a way of growing together by means of investment.

Mijeong SON took charge of exhibition / performance planning and fundraising at Seoul Arts Center and is currently developing curriculums for educational projects conducted by the Center’s Exhibition Project Division.

Yonggu HWANG _President, Eum Story Co. (Korea)

Donation, from the perspective of a corporation, is a financial loss. Therefore, we must help corporations find a meaning of donation. Receiving donations is not only about collecting money but also about promoting organizations and their values. In that sense, the exchange of human and material resources is needed not only to collect money but also to promote an organization. Meanwhile, Korean organizations rarely have staff in charge of fundraising and it is not easy to have fundraisers. Therefore, to raise funds, organizations should start by organizing their characteristics that would contribute to promoting them rather than by hiring a fundraiser immediately.

Eum Story Co. was founded in 2011 with the goal to support the improvement of society and culture through sharing. Eum Story develops sponsorship websites for arts and culture organizations and public institutions.

Giwon GWON_Manager of the Planning and Promotion Team at Seoul Ballet Theatre (Korea)

In 2011, the public actively responded to the ballet training program for the homeless, sponsoring the program more than ever before. I think that having stories that people can relate to is more effective than simply introducing an organization to funders and promising to create high-quality works. Describing an organization with an infographic image rather than words may also be more effective in terms of visualizing the organization and helping the public better understand it. If you work with a theme or contents that are universal, you can also expand the fundraising market by reaching out for international sponsorships.

Seoul Ballet Theatre, founded in 1995, is Korea’s first private professional ballet company. The company has recently been engaging in social responsibility programs through the arts.

Round Table 4 _ Korean-French Cultural Exchange

 

 

Donghee JO Anne BAUTZ
Rostan CHENTOUF

Donghee JO_Manager of the Festival Planning Team, Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture (Korea)

Exchange in the field of street art began in earnest in 2005. So far, Korean and French street arts groups collaborated to create three to four performances. Look at Me, a work created last year, is currently on European tour. The concept of “street art” varies from one country to another, but in most countries, an “outdoor performance” reminds the public of an ethnic and traditional one. Europe is at the forefront of modernizing the street art form whereas Korea is still in the process of developing it. Regardless of their level of development of street art, active exchange has taken place between the two countries. Indeed, exchange has been vigorous as performance groups from both countries have visited each other several times a year on the occasion of being invited to festivals. In addition, the artists from the two countries often collaborate to carry out short-term projects together. Considering this, the bilateral exchange in the area of street art seems to be active.

Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture was established in 2003. Since then, it has launched a variety of cultural activities, such as “Seoul Street Artists” and “Seoul Spring Festival of Chamber Music.”

Anne BAUTZ_production & tour representative, CCN de Montpellier / Mathilde Monnier, (France)

I noticed at PAMS that the Korean audience knows a lot about French performances. It would also be nice to let Koreans know how the French audience is responding to Korean performances, as mutual understanding is very important to utilize our institutions, facilities, and invitation systems. Sustaining collaboration requires direct meetings between people so continuing such meetings is just as important as participating in PAMS.

The vision of Montpellier National Choreography Centre (CCN de Montpellier) is to create performances, to conduct research and to train artists while focusing on communicating with the public. Mathilda MONNIER is the current artistic director of the Centre.

Rostan CHENTOUF_Secretary General, CCN de Tours (France)

When it comes to time management, Koreans and the French have very different rhythms for creative work. Koreans work at a fast pace for a short period of time, but the French do not. Planning a project with a French partner takes at least two to three years. In fact, they are different not in how they approach their schedule or time but in how they divide their time in their work process and what they expect from it. The difference in their systems also seems to make their rhythms different.

Tours National Choreography Centre (CCN de Tours) offers a variety of performances and lectures. Thomas LEBRUN is the artistic director of the Centre.

 
Information on individual contributors is not included.



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theApro <![CDATA[Continuation Puts Emphasis on Essential Values]]> Continuation Puts Emphasis on Essential Values
[Focus] [PAMS 2012] Roundtable Review 1


Roundtable sessions, a networking program for PAMS participants, were held at KB Youth Haneul Theater and National Theatre Byeolohreum Theater on October 11 and 12. Performing arts professionals from Korea and abroad shared their knowledge, experience, and opinions, networked with each other and raised awareness of subjects of their interest. Discussions from the 4 sessions are summarized below.

Round Table 1_Arts Organization’s Crisis Management in the Context of the Global Calamity

 

 

Andrea Synder Carolelinda Dicky
Emma Dodd

Andrea Synder _Co-Director, America Dance Abroad, New York (USA)

Now we often use the term “engagement” instead of audience development or education. We are told in the dance world that we need to be good at engagement marketing but we developed research programs not as a marketing tool but as a way of achieving in-depth communication and exchanging ideas with the audience. It was interesting to find that the audience wants to talk about performances, not in public but in a closed setting with other members of the audience who watched the same performance. One regrettable thing is that they do not know appropriate words to describe performances so performers prepared questions for the audience members to take home and talk about performances at home. The audience will not return to watch a dance performance that they do not understand and that is the problem the dance world faces.

Carolelinda Dicky_Co-Director, America Dance Abroad, Pittsburgh (USA)

I want to take Pittsburgh as an example of global changes. Pittsburgh is one of the old industrial cities in the United States and is still home to major corporations. Because of the abundant corporate support, artists in Pittsburgh used to receive the largest per capita funding than anywhere else in the country. There were 35 large corporations headquartered in Pittsburgh 20 years ago all of which were managed for those who were born in Pittsburgh. Now none of the 500 major corporations is located in Pittsburgh. These companies are managed not for art but for shareholders and by the management from elsewhere who know nothing about Pittsburgh. Because the management is not from the city, they are not interested in it. The infrastructure including theaters and museums is world-class, but there is not much support for individual artists. Pittsburgh is the best city for retirees and college students but the dwindling support for individual artists has drastically reduced the artist population. I think we should learn a lesson from the case of Pittsburgh.

American Dance Abroad was founded in July, 2011 in an attempt to enable US choreographers and dance companies to network with international dance professionals.

Emma Dodd_Tour & Production Manager, Polyglot Theatre (Australia)

The biggest change in Australia is the arts audience development through digital technology. A great deal of research has been conducted into how to actively interact with the audience. We study not only the audience in the past but also the potential one by making available online documents on performances. We put emphasis on promotion to sell performances and shows so we ran a series of promotional videos. Such promotion efforts include inviting resident multimedia artists to produce videos of their creative processes and make the videos available online six weeks prior to the openings. Such a strategy to encourage the audience’s participation through digital and online tools has become a hot topic in Australia. New art forms are being communicated using new ways of promotion.


Polyglot Theater was invited to the Youth Performing Arts Festival in 2010 and performed a children’s puppet show Check Out at KB Haneul Youth Theater located inside the National Theater of Korea. This year, the theater exhibited new works such as Tangle at the booth of the Australian Commission for Culture and the Arts at PAMS.

Round Table 2_Reality of and Need for Artist Incubation

 

Tanuja Amarasuriya Yoan KIM

Tanuja Amarasuriya _Director of Theatre Bristol (UK)

We emphasize the importance of networks not only in artist incubation but also in the development of the culture industry as a whole. Artist development takes a long time so the relationships that we have built dictate its success. Nevertheless, the biggest problem is that it is difficult to show the results of our activities in terms of return on investment. Small theaters throughout the UK are active but the support from the local Arts Councils has been reduced, which means that although the theaters continue to present high-quality works, there will be constraints in moving on to the next step. British people also tend to think that arts do not matter to them and assess artist incubation and the world of arts and culture in terms of the market value. As this tendency develops further, artists will continue to lose ground in the UK, and this is why the emphasis on the meaning and essential values of art and culture is necessary to sustain artists incubation.

Theatre Bristol, a performing arts producers association based in Bristol, was founded in 2004. Theatre Bristol aims to create high-quality performances by supporting artists and collaborating with other theaters and organizations.

Yoan KIM _Executive Producer, Doosan Art Center (Korea)

In Korea, in many cases, artists are supported in the framework of a year-long project and the main beneficiaries of such support are either very young emerging artists or middle-aged ones. We have been supporting artists between these two age groups. After selecting artists, we provide them with long-term support lasting more than three years and ask them to propose a work. We continue our partnership by collaborating with the artists (if their work fits the direction of our theater) or by recommending them to other theaters. Korea had not supported interdisciplinary or stage artists and our theater has begun to focus on supporting such artists. In the long run, we plan to support creators from Korea and abroad and we want them to grow beyond their own perspectives and become creators who produce contemporary discourses.

Doosan Art Center, opened in 2007, has been identifying and supporting young artists through its Creator Fostering Program and Yeonang Arts Award.

Morag Deyes_Artistic Director, Dace Base (UK)

Artists need managers by means of artist incubation or an agency. For this reason, we created the organization called Catalyst in an attempt to train talented choreographers and support independent dancers and dance companies. It is important for British artists, regardless of what support projects they benefit from, to exchange their ideas with their global counterparts, to communicate globally and to be with other contemporary artists. That is because their failure to communicate with other artists would lead to failure to launch appropriate projects. It may sound too abstract but collaboration and partnership must form the basis for all incubation projects which in turn must provide artists with information so that they can take what they need from these projects and continue to grow.

Dance Base is Scotland’s national professional dance venue and a space supporting artistic creation. Dance Base is one of the main showcase venues for the British Council’’s biannual Edinburgh Fringe.

Youngsun LEE _dancer and choreographer (Korea)

In addition to being a creator, I play the role of an entrepreneur outside the studio, striving to promote my works and share my arts with communities and the international audience. For these goals, we need more than the spaces provided by the existing support system. We need to have secondary support such as consulting services to guide us from creation to presentation on stage. When producing a performance, it is difficult to form a production crew from the beginning so I believe that it is important to be supported in this matter and to network with the existing crews and theater professionals. It is regrettable that no such networking currently exists. What is also crucial is to create an environment where choreographers can continue their professional physical training.

Youngsun LEE is an independent choreographer working in the United States and South Korea. She is currently preparing presentation of works in Korea and abroad after founding an organization called One-Pound Chocolate Art Collective.

Information on individual contributors is not included.

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theApro <![CDATA[Diverting from the West-Oriented Dialogues]]> Diverting from the West-Oriented Dialogues
[Focus] [PAMS 2012] Focus Session: Visegrad & Balkan Performing Arts


During the Performing Arts Market in Seoul 2012 (PAMS 2012), a Focus Session called “Visegrad & Balkan Performing Arts”was held on October 8th at the K-Arts Theater located at Korea National University of Arts. Through its Focus Sessions, PAMS has spotlighed different regions including Asia, Europe, South America and North America, in an attempt to give a better understanding of each region’s current situation, issues and market information related to performing arts.

This year’s Focus Session was remarkable in that the region of focus was narrower than in the previous years, concentrating on Balkan countries and four Visegrad countries including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Hungary. Performing arts of this region have recently drawn much attention in Korea. A number of works have been introduced to the Korean audience through stages of different international performing arts festivals that have proliferated in Korea since 2000. For this reason, presumably, this year’s Focus Session spared a great deal of time in introducing the works from the region. Though comprised of three parts, each under the theme of yesterday, today and tomorrow, the Session ranged over a number of topics concerning current issues faced by the performing arts scenes of the region from individual artists’ works and policies to international exchange and collaboration programs.

Piotr Gruszczyński_ Dramaturg ,
Nowy Teatr (Poland)
Attila Szabo_ Theatrologist,
Hungarian Theatre Museum and
Institute (Hungary)
 Daša Čiripova_ Editor
in chief of Kød ,
Theatre Institute Bratislava (Slovakia)

Art Issues in the Post-Soviet Era

The Visegrad and the Balkan countries share the same socio-political context in which their societies have been in transition since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The Focus Session thus shed light on their shared issues on artistic activities, as well as on development of individual artistic activities in each country. It also illuminated the socio-political context of international exchange programs in the region.

In Part I of the Focus Session, entitled “Historic and Cultural Legacy from Yesterday,” were introduced works of major directors and companies from the region with issues of suffering, memory, experiment and diversity. They are now faced with these questions: what national identity means after the first 10 years of joy and freedom following the collapse of the communist regime; in what way their common consciousness was shaped by the years of communism or the historical tragedies of the 20th century; how to deal with the new social and personal crises of the new era (Attila Szabó). Such questions are accompanied by the strong belief that a theater is still a tool of research used to confront and explore social taboos (Piotr Gruszczyński).


Focusing on the works of Krzysztof Warlikowski, Piotr Gruszczyński introduced the Polish theater under the theme of historical taboos and Jewishness. His approach toward “Jewishness” questions the existing perception of the Polish modern history which consists in defining Poland as a victim of the fierce competition among powers. In “(A)polloniaa”, which opened Seoul Performing Arts Festival (SPAF) this year, Krzysztof Warlikowski raises the issue of the historical tragedy of the Holocaust and the Polish people who regarded it as an urgent matter that Poland is faced with, as seen in the the scene of the victims and prosecutors’ parade.

Through his introduction to the Hungarian and Rumanian theater, Attila Szabó focused on the issues of interpretation of the legacy of Communist dictatorship during the transition period. Both countries went through scandals as files from the now partly open secret archives revealed the past of those in key positions. In response to this reality, the theater calls for concrete actions and discussions pursuing confession, apology and forgiveness. Interestingly, Hunary’s theater and that of Rumania are significantly different from each other. The Rumanian theater concentrates on documentary, half-documentary or fictional productions and dramatic texts focused on the evocation and interpretation of the heritage of communism. The Hungarian theater, on the other hand, deals with new themes through the existing genres of the theater.

Dáša Čiripová introduced the current Slovakian theater scene by focusing on the theater culture that has existed since the Velvet Revolution (a non-violent revolution in Czechoslovakia that took place in 1989). She pointed out the appearance of new independent theaters as one of the key changes, where much more flexible and timely responses took place than in the “stone” theaters with a rigid repertoire inherited from the Communist era. Another major change is the decentralisation of theater management that took place in the early 1990’s. Most of the theaters that were previously operated by the Slovak Ministry of Culture are now operated by the regions and municipalities. Although the decentralisation contributed to achieving certain stabilization of the theater network, its failure to increase the regional arts budget has left the theaters short of subsidies.

 

 

 

Katarina Dudakova_Member
of the board of Association
Divadelna Nitra / Parallel Live
s project manager (Slovakia)
  Mayerne Szilagyi
Maria_ Festival Director .
Contemporary
Drama Festival Budapest
(Hungary)
  Kamila Samkova_ Regional
Coordinator, NEWWEB
public association
(Rep. of Czech)
  Zvonimir Dobrović_ Artistic
Director,
Perforations & Queer
Zagreb Festival (Croatia)

Shared Memories and International Platforms

In Part II (“Artistic Experiments and Contemporary Social Engagement”) and Part III (“Cultural Cooperation for Tomorrow”) of the Focus Session were introduced a number of international platforms of artistic activities based on shared memories of the region.

Katarína Dudáková introduced a project called “Parallel Lives.” Under the theme of the 20th century seen through the eyes of secret police, this international interdisciplinary project gathers together artists from the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Rumania, and Slovakia. In the framework of this three-year (2012-2014) project, research will be carried out to study documents found in secret police archives in the territories of the former Soviet bloc countries in the Communist era. These records will be used as sources of various programs such as documentary theater productions, documentary films, exhibits, installation works, forums, publications and websites. She put stress on the nature of the project, which encompasses not only different genres but also different fields disciplines (art, history, political science and sociolology).

Mayerné Szilágyi Maria introduced the Contemporary Drama Festival Budapest. The festival pays attention to the fact that new artistic activities appear in the process of regime change, and in 2011, it dedicated its entire program to the topic of documentary theater, which is performed sporadically in Eastern and Central Europe. Some documentary theater experiments have made noticeable achievements including Árpád Schilling and PanoDráma and the National Theatre in Budapest initiated an open call for documentary plays about murders of Gypsy families that had become a major social issue in the region. One of the problems that the documentary theater is faced with is how to attract an audience. It has a very small audience compoed of young and socially-aware people and in many cases, plays are performed only in Budapest except in the case of a small number of works on festival tour in Hungary.

Nova sit, introduced by Kamila Samková, is a network designed to promote performing and live arts. In its support for new artistic trends, Nova sit is playing the role of arts manager, consultant, regional and transnational organizer and co-producer of festivals. Supported by the European Union, Nova sit has initiated the Development of New Art (DNA), a project of eight European cultural NGOs including BORA BORA (Denmark), Schloss Bröllin (Germany), L1 Association (Hungary), Fish Eye Artistic Association (Lithuania), Chorea Theatre Association (Poland), A4 (Slovakia) and Glej Theatre (Slovenia). The mission of this project is to support artists’ creative growth and trans-national mobility, as well as to re-establish professional relationships within the artistic and public communities in Europe.

Zvonimir Dobrović (Croatia) drew attention to live arts in the Balkan through Perforations Festival. The festival has introduced works of the Croatian theater and live arts to international presenters while also establishing networks of co-production partnership.


from left to right
1. Samo Selimovic_ Project coordinator ,Bunker Institute (Slovenia)
2. Grzegorz Reske_EEPAP member/ Festival Producer, Konfrontacje Teatralne (Poland)
3. Pavla Petrova_ Director Arts and Theatre Institute (Rep. of Czech)

After the Struggle for Survival, It is Time for Introspection

In his presentation on the East European Performing Arts Platform (EEPAP), Grzegorz Reske remarked that “over the last twenty years, the reality of the Central European theater was mainly about discussing with each other while looking towards the West.” Their performing arts “consisted more in surviving than reflecting on something.” Most of the performing arts practitioners from Central Europe faced problems in talking to their neighbors about the theater life in the region. The aim of EEPAP is not to establish an active network, but to create a platform where everyone who feels the need to strengthen the regional network might find support for their activities. To achieve this, EEPAP focuses on information, education and collaborative projects. It is currently putting the greatest stress on education and its major topics include difficulties in discussing with each other, creation of a framework in which different viewpointes can be compared as well as historical sharing. It also emphasizes the fact that the sector of performing arts is overproducing works and that it needs to slow down, contemplate and discuss its challenges.

Pavla Petrová introduced International Visegrad Fund as an example of the efforts made by the countries in the region to work together, diverting from their past attempts to work with Western Europe. International Visegrad Fund is facilitating and promoting the development of closer cooperation among the Visegrad countries as well as other countries in the region including the non-EU member states in Eastern Europe, the Western Balkans and the South Caucasus. It supports common cultural, scientific and educational projects, youth exchanges, cross-border projects, tourism promotion and individual mobility programmes. PACE. V4, a performing arts project organized by arts institutions of the Visegrad countries, is jointly showcasing the performing arts from the region at international artistic and cultural forums.

Samo Selimovic (Slovenia) reminded his audience of the diversity of states and cultures in the Balkan Peninsula which has widely been perceived as an area of conflict since the breakup of Yugoslavia. New artistic activities have been pursued by new generations, with a number of international cooperation projects and festivals held in this region. Still, Samo Selimovic pointed out some challenges that the art sector is faced with. Many culture and arts networks are experiencing difficulties in the Balkans. Despite major changes and reforms in the social and political systems, exclusive public organizations took most of the arts budget, making it difficult for new generations to start their artistic activities. Europe’s recent economic crisis and government deficit have also weakened artictic activities.

The Systematic “Focus” of Information Was Achived But...

In the previous years, the Focus Session fell short of expectations in delivering systematic and concrete information on the current performing arts scenes of a given region due to its extensiveness. The Session sometimes concentrated too much on the markets, institutions and policies of a region, leaving little space for the information on actual artistic activities, even though such research process, of course, is regarded as indispensable in this regional approach. In the case of the 2011 Focus Session on Asia, it seemed to have been intended to raise issues on the global performing arts market, rather than to provide information.

This year’s Focus Session was also organized through such a research process. However, what differentiated this Session was the fact that it succeeded in providing systematic information on the performing arts scene, information ranging from artistic activities to international platforms of the region, as the Session concentrated on the Visegrad and the Balkan countries whose works have been introduced in Korea continuously through international platforms such as the Seoul Performing Arts Festival. While festivals usually deliver fragmentary information on individual productions or directors, the Focus Session revealed a bigger picture of the performing arts activities in their social, historical and political contexts, enhancing our understanding of the European context. Nevertheless, this year’s Focus Session could have included more information on how and why so many of the performing arts productions from the region were introduced to the Korean audience. The Session could seek a dialogue with the Korean performing arts sector more actively.

Considering its short history or the current status of the performing arts scene in Korea, Performing Arts Market in Seoul has achieved a striking growth. International delegates to PAMS and other performing arts professionals whom we meet abroad often express their envy of and/or compliment for the arts management sector and cultural policies of Korea. These positive reactions, however, may reflect the growth of PAMS, not that of Korean performing arts. It is now time to contemplate that gap.

Link
[ PAMS 2012] Focus Session: Visegrad & Balkan Performing Arts PDF sourcebook

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theApro <![CDATA[The necessity of a unique identity]]> The necessity of a unique identity
[FOCUS] Korean Performing Arts Festivals: An overview and analysis of the history and evolving nature of these events.


Performing arts festivals are special annual events that offer an opportunity to bring together all kinds of performances, and they also provide fresh perspectives to breathe new life into the performing arts scene. The well-known Edinburgh (International) Festival and Avignon Festival have become international festivals because they offer an opportunity for not only the British and French national performing arts cultures, but also the wider European performing arts cultures, and in the process, they have also gained social influence and through that influence, give inspiration to the audience.

In the 21st century, performing arts festivals have a new task to accomplish in terms of the relationship with local culture. As culture and arts events, performing arts festivals become a valuable creative asset for local marketing and tourism, but sometimes people are so eager to benefit from the festival as an asset that they forget their priorities. As a result, the festivals become a competition to show visible results or display economic, political and social power. The result of this is that the festival becomes a copycat of stereotypical programs and a mere imitation of internationally renowned festivals. In this case, performing arts festivals end up obsessing over differentiation through genres and programs and showing tangible results, when really, they should be focusing on using the festival to pose fundamental questions about humanity and the arts, and establishing their own significant identity.

From Comprehensive Arts Festivals to a Single Genre, then back to Mixed Performing Arts Festivals

Present day performing arts festivals clearly identify their artistic goals, plan programs to achieve those goals, and strive to bring together various artists and audiences to the festival. However, performing arts festivals are in their infancy in Korea. Along with Korea’s rich history, Korean festivals date back to thousands of years, but during the past century of turmoil with Japanese colonization and the Korean War, the long kept traditions of Korean festivals were not handed down intact. Given this historical background, performing arts have not had a smooth ride.

Gaechon Art Festival.2007

The Yeongnam Arts Festival started in Jinju as a comprehensive arts festival in 1949, and was the matrix of the modern arts festivals in Korea. The festival was held annually (except in 1950, due to the Korean War) and in its 10th year in 1959 the festival was renamed the Gaechon Art Festival. Until the mid-1980s it was a leading and comprehensive festival among the local arts events.

1977 was the establishment of the Seoul Theater Festival, followed later by the Modern Dance Festival (MODAFE 1982~) and Korea Theater Festival (1983~). In these cases, the overall trend was to focus on single genres rather than varied arts festivals. In this process of evolution, festivals broke down into single genre events, and at the same time they became centralized around Seoul. On a different note, arts events such as the Korea Theater Festival and Korean Dance Festival (1992~) had tours across the nation. It is believed that it was an attempt to be more balanced, and to gather artistic creativity nationwide as opposed to being focused on Seoul.

In the late 1980s artists and festival planners came together to establish the Chuncheon Puppet Festival and Chuncheon Mime Festival, and local artists started to build their own theater festivals in Geochang and Masan. This was the turning point when performing arts festivals started to take their modern form in Korea. Moreover, the Chuncheon Puppet Festival and Chuncheon Mime Festival were important milestones in diversifying the Korean performing arts field because they focused on non-mainstream genres, compared to just theater and dance.

2012 Uijeongbu International Music Theater Festival poster

In 1995, with the launch of the autonomous local government system, local festivals popped up here and there, and around the year 2000, performing arts festivals started to evolve in various ways.

As for theater festivals, there are various festivals being held, each building and creating their own colors. Both the Gwacheon Festival and Yangpyeong Open-air Arts Festival focus on outdoor performances; the Seoul Marginal Theater Festival seeks experimental and alternative theater performances; the Miryang Summer Performing Arts Festival in which a theater group (Street Theater Troup) built their theater town in the region to attract young performers to Miryang every summer; the Uijeongbu International Music Theater Festival focuses on showcasing music theater pieces at the local large scale theaters; and the Ansan Street Arts Festival is an up-and-coming festival focusing on street arts.

On the other hand, dance festivals have undergone fewer transformations compared to other genres, but the Changmu International Dance Festival and the Anseong Juksan International Arts Festival that started in the mid-1990s have distinct characteristics. The Changmu International Dance Festival seeks to modernize Korean and Asian traditional dances to introduce them on the international stage, and the Anseong Juksan festival is led by the avant-garde dancer Sin Cha Hong and seeks to exchange avant-garde and experimental dance in and around the country. Around the year 2000 the Seoul International Dance Festival was established, in an effort to build international dance networks and find a new method of planning conventional dance festivals. Under a similar backdrop, the Seoul Modern Dance Festival was able to break out of the conventional framework, and was able to open new horizons for dance festivals.

There were no music festivals before the 1990s but with the Seoul International Music Festival (SIMF) (1993~) and the Jeju International Wind Ensemble Festival (1995~), various types of music were put together as festivals. Pop music festivals such as rock music festivals; drum festivals; chorus festivals; the Jeonju International Sori Festival - focusing on the unique Korean sori (sounds); the Tongyeong International Music Festival which started as a festival to commemorate the late Korean composer Isang YUN but expanded to becoming and international music festival; the Daegu International Opera Festival based at the Daegu Opera House; the Great Mountains International Music Festival and School that seeks to become a world class classical music festival and at the same time provides high quality masterclasses as part of the festival; and the Jarasum International Jazz Festival that established a local jazz center to bring together jazz musicians for an international festival.

Around the year 2000, festivals focusing on single genres began to evolve once again into mixed performing arts festivals. There are many that mix different genres together, such as the Seoul Performing Arts Festival, that has removed the boundaries between theater and dance as well as the stage and the audience; the Korea Experimental Arts Festival that seeks to break the convention and pursue experimental arts; and the Seoul Fringe Festival that breaks free from the ready-made standards and logic to pursue independent arts and cultural exchanges. Apart from mixing different genres together, many groups and organizations have specialized around their performance stages to hold performing arts festivals – such as the D. FESTA and The World Festival of National Theaters.

 

Great Mountains International Music Festival.  2009   Tongyeong International Music Festival. 2007

As can be seen from the above, Korea’s performing arts festivals started from the 1949 Gaechon Art Festival, slowly evolving into the modern day form; turning into single genre festivals in the 1980s to finally taking its current form in the 1990s. Then, around the year 2000, diverse genres came into being based on various experiences acquired and shared in society, and as a result festivals started to look more like international arts events.

However, if we look at it from a bigger perspective, performing arts festivals are still developing. Although there are some festivals that have built their own identity and traditions by setting clear goals and consistent plans, overall, most are still going through trial and error to find a unique identity. As a result, many festivals have a double task of standing out and having significance as an arts event as well as building a professional management structure to support their activities.

AH!SOORAJANG (Chuncheon Mime Festival opening ceremony). 2009

Competing over public funds – a festival must be able to prove its social significance

In Korea, there are approximately 1200 big and small festivals being held annually. Over 65% of those festivals were established after 1995, and most festivals are still in their developing stages. Statistics show that among the 1200 festivals, fewer than a hundred include all three performing arts, visual arts and video arts – only taking up about 8%. 80% or more are local tourism festivals that focus on the environment, history and culture, local specialties (agricultural produce), historical figures, and folklore.

Among the total number of arts festivals, performing arts takes up the highest proportion, followed by video arts festivals (including film festivals), and visual arts festivals including biennales. Despite this, performing arts represent only a minute segment compared to the total number of festivals in the country. The majority of festivals are held to promote local marketing and tourism, so the stark reality for performing arts festivals is that they are consistently compared with local festivals that have different goals in terms of purpose, programming and social influence. What this means is that the performing arts festivals constantly have to deal with political, economic, and social pressures at a time when they also have to focus on building their own identity.

Under these circumstances, performing arts festivals have to work hard to receive stable public funding. They must visualize and quantify the festival’s social values, modify their programs according to social goals rather than artistic ones, and from time to time, they have to organize heterogeneous programs that do not fit the overall trends, although their original goal was to adapt the program to the frequently changing artistic trends. Such activities have nothing to do with the original goals of the festival or thoroughly preparing for it. Rather, it has more to do with wanting to become an international festival, putting more weight on having differentiated genres and programs over the original goal of the festival, and planning programs that can amass large crowds disguised under the label, “communicating with the audience.”

“For what” and “with which method” are we communicating and exchanging internationally?

But in the end, what’s important is not the proportion of performing arts festivals, but what kind of influence and significance they have in society. That kind of influence cannot be achieved by striving to meet the criteria that local governments require – how much of a ripple effect the festival has, expectations, and visible results for public funding. Rather, only when performing arts festivals are faithful to building their own identity through a clear goal and consistent programming can it achieve such significance.

What, then, is the current status of performing arts in today’s society? And what kind of artistic inspiration or creativity can it give to all the artists, art productions and audiences who come to enjoy the festivals? Aside from knowing and simply exchanging international arts trends, “which method” are we using, “for what” and “for whom” to communicate and exchange internationally? These are the fundamental questions the Korean performing arts festival groups must pose in each of their missions and programs.

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theApro <![CDATA[A Statistical Overview of 2012 First Half Trends in Korean Performing Arts]]> A Statistical Overview of 2012 First Half Trends in Korean Performing Arts
[Focus] Market Growth Increases Polarization between the Performing Arts Industry and the Creative Arts


Organized by the Research & Consulting Team of the Planning Department at KAMS
Forum Participants (in Korean alphabetical order):
Sangwon SON, Seonga AHN, Jonggyu LEE, Hyunggeun INN, Yoonwoo CHOI

Survey period: June 29, 2012 ~ July 20, 2012 (Survey cycle semi-annually)
Survey sampling: 178
- 63 Performing Arts Facilities (National, Culture and Art Center, Daehangno, other public and private facilities)
- 92 Performing Arts Organizations (Theatrical, Dance, Western Music, Korean Traditional Music, Multidisciplinary)
- 23 Performing Arts Production Companies (including high-profile as well as small to medium-sized companies)

Survey details: business result and outlook (overall business, number of audience, total sales, net profit), number of performance works, number of performances, operating days of performing arts facilities, key factors contributing to errors in operation.

Survey target period: business results Jan. 1 ~ June 30, 2012, outlook July 1 ~ Dec. 31, 2012

Survey method: online
※ Drafted major issues and issues by genre affecting trends in Korean Performing Arts businesses in the first and second half of 2012, through forums participated in by professionals

‘Trends in Korean Performing Arts’, published semi-annually since 2009, provides basic data necessary for establishing business plans for the Korean market. This data allows the Korean Government to understand the market trends and outlook when devising Performing Arts support policies.

According to the survey, more respondents said that, in the first half of 2012, the business sentiment in the Korean Performing Arts sector had deteriorated since last year, despite slight differences depending on segments. Businesses in the performing arts facilities group aggravated by 49.2% and those in the performing arts organizations improved by 19.6%, year on year, respectively. A review of the data for specific types of establishment reveals that the public facilities, such as the Government sector and Culture and Art Center, deteriorated compared to the private facilities. In the case of the organizations, business improved by genre in the order of Western Music, Dance and Multidisciplinary. As for performing arts production companies, relatively more respondents saw improvement in larger companies.

Diagram 1. Overall Business Result of Respective Segment (by types of establishment) YOY (first half of 2011)

Classification

Performing Arts Facilities

Performing Arts Organizations

Performing Arts Productions

Government

Culture&
Art Center

Daehangno

Others
(public)

Others
(private)

Theater

Dance

Western Music

Korean
Music

Traditional
Multi-disciplinary

Large

Small- Medium

Improved (%)

25.0

15.6

14.3

33.3

21.4

20.6

26.7

27.8

9.1

-

33.3

11.8

Same (%)

-

28.1

42.9

-

57.1

29.4

33.3

44.4

18.2

66.7

16.7

41.2

Worsened (%)

75.0

56.3

42.9

66.7

21.4

50.0

40.0

27.8

72.7

33.3

50.0

47.1

5-point scale average (points)

2.50

2.56

2.57

2.50

3.00

2.56

2.80

2.94

2.23

2.67

2.67

2.59

Chart 1. Overall Business Result of Respective Segment (by types of detailed establishments) YOY (first half of 2011)

However, according to Interpark statistics, the market took a favorable turn and increased by 9% to 1,370 performances in the first half of 2012. This was attributable to the huge success of large-scale musicals, with over 1,000 seats filled, and Dance, a relatively a minor genre, which more than doubled its popularity.

Survey Period: Jan.1 to June 30 of each year.
Survey Target: Interpark sales

Genre
First Half of
2009
First Half of
2010
First Half of 2011
First Half of
2012

Musical

915

1017

1150

1370

Concert

556

627

786

985

Dance/Traditional Arts

195

229

258

285

Classical/ Opera

995

1012

1341

2500

Theater

705

834

778

790

Total

3366

3719

4353

5930

Chart 2. Number of Performances Comparison in First Half of 2009-2012

Data collected from Interpark, which indicate the market trend is improving, contradict the results of the survey, even when the concert genre, not included in the survey, is disregarded. In line with results from last year’s survey, market expansion was shown to be led by a few in the industry, and the business sentiment level, as well as its deviation, have increased this year. The results show that the volume of the market expanded in terms of contents supply, but also aggravated in terms of individual organizations or facilities.

Key Issues in the First Half of 2012

Key issues emerged from the changes to the internal and external environment of the Performing Arts sector, some of which were elaborations or intensifications of previous issues.

■ Increasing polarization between culture industry and the creative arts.

The recession in the Theater market has become apparent with a big fall in the number of audiences and oversupply, whereas the market share for big musicals has increased. In the first half of this year alone, the output of two to three musical works, with sales over 10 billion won, was a catalyst for market expansion. This led to the full-scale production and distribution of musical works and the opening of musical-exclusive theaters, such as D-Cube Arts Center and Blue Square, late last year. With the increased supply of such musicals, the production companies cited lack of actors and increase in production cost due to star castings as potential issues.

■ Economic stagnation and changes in customer outlook.

Among the economic variables, ’’overall domestic economic slump’’ topped the list of major causes for the aggravated business trend. However, unlike the economic recession back in 1998, the recent North American and European financial crisis didn’’t affect performing arts attendance. Younger audiences, who are indifferent to continuous economic stagnation, tended to enjoy the present rather than invest and save for the future. Amid such changes, audiences came to watch the same works over and over again and production companies tailored their marketing to repeat customers.

■ Change in the cultural policy direction of Seoul City

The central government hasn’’t made any big changes in the support system since 2010 and there hasn’t been a negative response to the support policy from the performing arts sector. After the election of the Seoul Mayor in October last year, the local government’’s policy changed to be more citizen-oriented. It will be interesting to see the impact this has on support for artists.

■ Emergence of various promotion marketing media, and widespread usage of SNS.

With the prominence of online and various other media, and the scope of the social network service (SNS), there is no such thing as off-season in promotion and marketing. Use of SNS also allows enhanced communication between creator, producer and audience. At the same time, the market has witnessed the byproduct of SNS-based social commerce: price policy imbalance in the performing arts market.


■ The Korean Wave (’’Hallyu’’) 3.0 is musicals

The Musicals Dream High, Thrill Me, Washing, Jack the Ripper, Goong, Street Life and Gwanghwamun Sonata are to be performed in the latter half of this year in Japan. It may be fair to say that this year is the first year of the Korean musicals’’ fully-fledged overseas expansion.

In the first half of this year, foreign bookings of Korean musicals through the Interpark global page more than doubled - an increase of 102%, year on year - and the reservation rate increased by 254%, year on year, through the online cultural guide site VisitSeoul. In the past, foreigners mainly watched non-verbal performances, such as Nanta and Jump. However, in recent years, more Hallyu fans are coming to watch musicals starring Korean musicians or actors.

Let’’s look into the key issues by genre:
 

Musical
• Premieres of large-scale musicals, and their success in Korea.
- The biggest attribute of the musical industry in the first half of 2012 was the box-office success of large-scale musicals. Long-running hit musicals from Broadway and the West End premiered in Korea and became box-office hits, increasing the volume of the musical market. The premiered works that sold over 1,000 seats include Zorro, Elizabeth, Dr. Zhivago, Catch Me If You Can, Wicked and Mozart Opera Rock.

• Small to mid-sized creative musicals presenting stronger stages.
- In 2012, small to mid-sized musical works were reproduced as newer versions. These works which were premiered, and well received, last year include Moby Dick, Finding Family and Sherlock Holmes. In particular, musical works developed by Creative Factory or CJ Creative Minds through step-by-step incubation programs produced notable results.

Theater
• Increase in open-run performances.
- As it became difficult to operate theater companies, production companies focused on making profit from open runs of Romantic Comedy performances that had been successful in the past.

• Reflecting on socio-political issues.
- Writers’ views extended to socio-political issues, and works dealing with such issues were well-received by the audience. Following a play handling the suicide of a middle school student in Daegu, similar plays dealing, directly or indirectly, with adolescents and their issues were performed on stage. Seensee Company’’s play I want to meet your parents dealt with issues of social isolation and suicide, and sent a strong message of the importance of parents and teachers. - As for plays, performances produced in national and public theaters, such as the National Theater Company of Korea, Myeongdong Art Center and Namsan Art Center, were critically acclaimed and were more successful than those in Daehangno. Plays that went on stage in the first half of 2012 recorded a high share of paid seats and Don Quixote, The Gift of the Gorgon, Hedda Gabler and Incendies, performed at Myeongdong Art Theater, were also well-received by the audience. Empazar and My Sweet Mind Seems Ill, played at Theater "Pan" of the National Theater Company of Korea, also garnered big attention. These facilities, celebrating the second to the fourth year of reopening, were able to secure a stable audience pool with high-quality repertories. As roles and functions of public theaters are growing, ongoing discussion of the identity of the private sector is needed.

Concert
• Concerts at a standstill.
- The growth rate of concerts, which increased tremendously until the end of 2011, decreased by about 7% in the first half of 2012. Last year, we witnessed a rich variety of cultural events, including nationwide tours by famous singers Cho Yong Pil, Lee Seung Chul and Lee Mun Sae, and the famous TV program I am a Singer. However, this year world-famous musicians, such as Lady Gaga and Jason Muraz, captured public interest by holding concerts in Korea. Performances by Korean idol groups, such as Shinwha, Beast and Infinite, saturated the rest of the concert market.

Dance
• Ballet at its best: the rise of the ‘Balletdols’.
- Performances from a range of repertories boosted the overall dance market. These repertories included The Lady of the Camillias with Stuttgart Ballet prima ballerina Kang Sue-jin, This is Modern3 from Universal Ballet, and Giselle and Spartacus from Korean National Ballet. As Ballet grew in popularity, star ballerinas and ballerinas, such as Kim Joowon, Kim Jiyoung, Lee Donghoon and Lee Eunwon, now as famous as Korean idols, became known as ‘Balletdols’.

Classical Music
• Continuous growth, year on year.
- The Classical Music sector expanded with annual festivals, such as Uijeongbu International Music Theatre Festival, Korean Orchestra Festival, Busan International Music Festival, Ditto Festival, and Korea Opera Festival, and with more than ten series of weekly performances planned in each facility, including Seoul Arts Center Artist Series, Kumho Art Hall Rising Star Series, Sejong Rising Artist Series, Youngsan Art Hall Concert, and Goyang Aram Nuri Matinee Concert. Ticket sales of small as well as big concerts and award ceremonies contributed to the growth in this sector.
- Cho Young-nam Concert, attracting attention by returning to the stage at Seoul Arts Center, as a pop singer, for the first time in years, and Yuki Kuramoto Concert ranked first and second in total sales in the Classical sector. The tickets for Chung Kyung-Wha’s Recital of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas, held in Myeongdong Cathedral, were sold out in just a couple of days, showing exceptional ticket-selling power. While world-famous orchestral concerts topped last year’’s ranking, exclusive concerts by these popular musicians dominated the first half of this year’s market.

Key Issues in the Second Half of 2012

The outlook for each sector in the latter half of the year is much the same. By segment, business sentiment for Western music organizations and big production companies looks set to improve. It is predicted that the Daehangno facilities will deteriorate at the highest rate: 57%. In accordance with the first half-year’s results, the second half will also see an increasing polarization between the industry and the Creative Arts sector. The London Olympics haven’t affected the overall performing arts sector, and increased demands towards the end of the year, as well as the Presidential election, should have a positive impact on growth in the latter half. Interpark forecasts around a 15% growth rate in musicals and concerts, based on the growth trend from the first half of the year.

]]>
theApro <![CDATA[Singing Like a Waterfall?]]> Singing Like a Waterfall?
[Focus] Pansori is a Korean national treasure, but can anyone else get it? Simon Broughton didn’t think so.


As editor-in-chief of Songlines I’m often asked if there’s a style of music that I simply can’t bear to listen to. Yes, there is Korean pansori. It’s a sort of opera, or narrative song, sung by one (usually female) singer accompanied by a drum. The style of singing is rough, shrieky and full of exaggerated vibratos, the pieces go on for hours in a language I don’t understand, and the musical texture is minimal.

So when I was invited to a festival specialising in pansori I was hesitant. But then reasoned that if I was ever going to understand this extraordinary art form, recognised by UNESCO, then this was my chance. And surprise, surprise, the experience was a revelation.

In Korean ‘pan’ is a place where people gather together and ‘sori’ means ‘sound’ or ‘song.’ The first written account of it was in 1754 (by an educated aristocrat), but the form is much older. It used to be performed in an open space – a market place or courtyard. Although it’s often described as Korean opera, the description is misleading. Unlike European opera, pansori wasn’t an aristocratic creation, but mixes elements of folk music and shamanism, Korea’s folk religion. It was performed by professional folk musicians, some of them shamans, who would regularly commune between people and the spirit world. Although it became popular all over, the pansori heartland is Jeolla in the south-west of the Korean peninsula and the music is linked to the folk melodies of the region.
Although pansori did become popular amongst the aristocracy, it was thought by many to be too common and vulgar. But it enjoyed its golden age during the 19th century thanks to aristocratic and royal patronage and the names of celebrated singers are still remembered. Female singers started performing in the mid 19th century.

In 1902, Hyomnyulsa, the first Western-style theatre for pansori, was built in Seoul with the support of the royal family. The first recordings of pansori extracts on 78rpm were made by Victor, probably just before the Japanese invasion of 1910, and then by Nipponophone. There is a direct line of pansori singing from the celebrated singers of the pre-World War II period through to the singers of today. After the war, pansori went through a period of decline until the 60s when there was concern that changgeuk (a 20th century staged form of pansori with several singers) had taken over. In 1964 pansori was recognised as an Intangible Cultural Property No 5 and leading performers were designated ‘human treasures’ and from the 70s started to receive state support to train and perform. Pansori as a unique artistic form was seen as central to Korean identity and many new contemporary pansori pieces were composed.

In 1993, one of Korea’s most celebrated film directors Im Kwon-taek made Sopyonje, a hugely successful film about a family of pansori musicians in Jeolla province. It’s been described as one of the ‘definitive works of Korean cinema.’ Today the best-known pansori singer is Ahn Sook-sun, the female vocalist on the Sopyonje soundtrack who has performed all over the world, including WOMAD. There are regular pansori performances in Seoul and elsewhere in the country and two prestigious national competitions.

Pyongyang
Artist unknown, late Chosun Dynasty (presumed), on canvas

My revelation took place at the International Sori Festival in Jeonju (one of Songlines’ 2012 25 best international festivals). The city, in north Jeolla province, is home to many famous performers and one of the national competitions. In the centre of town is the old hanok village – an atmospheric district of largely wooden houses with tiled roofs, including the Geonggijeon shrine (Historic site No 339), several museums, galleries and tea houses.

Here is the Hakindang, a merchant’s house from the 19th century surrounded by a garden courtyard with trees and a pool. One end of the main room is the performing area, in front of a painted screen. I’m glad I arrived early and got a seat near the front as the room fills quickly and many have to sit outside on the terrace or in the garden under sunshades. Most importantly, I have a good view of a TV screen where a simultaneous translation is displayed. Even more than with opera, it transforms the experience when you can understand almost every word.

The singer Jang Mun-heui, around 30, is one of the younger generation of pansori singers. She’s in the traditional garb – a silk dress with a fan and a handkerchief. She flips the fan open and closed as a percussion instrument to add emphasis to her words. With her onstage is the drummer (gosu), dressed in a gat, the typical wide-brimmed black hat that Korean men wore till the end of the 19th century, playing the buk (barrel drum). His 12-beat rhythm runs through the whole performance – the hard decisive strokes from his right hand struck with a stick on the right skin of the drum and on the wooden top, while the left hand taps softer beats on the left-hand side. It’s clear the drummer is the musical mediator in the performance. ‘Il gosu, I myeongchang’ (First the drummer, second the singer) goes an old Korean saying.

Out of 12 pansori stories there are now only five left in the repertoire. And whereas most classical operas end tragically, all the pansori stories, despite going through moments of sadness and anguish, end happily.

Jang Mun-heui is performing Simcheongga (The Song of Sim Cheong), the story of a daughter who sacrifices herself for her blind father so that he can see again. When his wife dies in childbirth, Mr Sim begs for milk for his daughter and raises her alone. After Sim Cheong throws herself into the sea to pay for offerings at the Buddha temple, the underwater Dragon King is impressed by her filial piety and returns her to earth where she marries the emperor. Sim Cheong, now empress, holds a banquet for all the blind people in the kingdom hoping to find her father. When he appears at the banquet and discovers his daughter is alive he regains his sight.

In a pansori performance there are alternating passages of narration (aniri) which simply advance the story (like recitative in Mozartian opera), and songs (sori), the equivalent of an aria. This is combined with gesture (ballim) using the fan and a handkerchief. After Sim Cheong’s mother has died, the fan clearly represents the baby Mr Sim is left holding. During the story the singer is both the narrator and all the characters. It’s the sori sections that are the most emotional and attract the applause. Part of the revelation is seeing the interaction with the drummer and the audience – the drummer is always grunting or yelling expressions of encouragement and the audience do the same. I realise pansori is actually closer to traditional flamenco than opera – there’s the prominent use of the fan, for one thing, but deeper than that, there’s the depth of emotion that cante jondo has and the involvement of the audience yelling the Korean equivalent of olé encouraging the performer on.

The audience in Jeonju seem like aficionados – along with the drummer they are murmuring encouragement and bursting out with laughter at the comic bits. Mr Sim falls into a stream, struggles to get out but slides back down. The singer’s eyeballs ogle. There are chuckles all round. It feels like a community experience, not just a performance. What draws most applause are the tragic moments – the dark bitterness in Jang Mun-heui’s voice over the death of Sim Cheong’s mother, and then an other-worldly quality when a nightingale in a willow pavilion sings a sad song at her funeral. Very often nature and animals are reacting to the events of the story.

Music is seen by many traditional Korean musicians as a natural force. Many years ago I remember the gayageum (zither) player Hwang Byung-ki explaining to me the principles of pungnyu (wind and stream). Instrumental musicians would often go into the natural environment to play – a popular theme in Korean paintings – and it was seen as a way of purifying the soul and cleansing the mind. But Hwang also explained the ornamentations in Korean music like a waterfall. If you play (or sing) two notes – the first higher and the second lower – the second note is decorated and pitch-shifted like a stream arriving at the bottom of a waterfall. It really helps to keep this in mind when listening to Korean instrumental sanjo music and the exaggerated vibrato of pansori.

In Seoul, I talked to the male pansori singer Bae Il-dong who trained for seven years living by a waterfall in Jeolla province. “People don’t train like this now,” he says, “but this was the traditional way. It helps develop the rough quality you need in the voice and helps you maintain energy in the performance.” Male pansori singers have a range of over four octaves. He describes himself sucking in the sound and energy of the waterfall and how the pungnyu quality of everywhere is different. It has certainly given him the rough, sandpaper quality in his voice, loved by pansori aficionados. He’s worked with Australian drummer Simon Barker on pansori jazz fusion projects.

Jang Mun-heui’s performance of Simcheongga lasts about three hours. You can vary the length of the performance by leaving out certain episodes – this was obvious to us foreigners in the audience when the person managing the translation had to skip several sections from time to time.

As in opera, it’s the tragic rather than the joyful bits that move the most. The most vivid part of Simcheongga is the evocation of the shamanistic ceremony on board a boat before Sim Cheong sacrifices herself and ‘flies into the vast blue water like a seagull’. The grass, trees and even the mountains weep. The birds, including a very distinct cuckoo, sing farewell. It was one of the most moving pieces of music dramas I’ve ever seen.

So I’m totally won over to pansori after all. Just as kimchi, the hot Korean pickled cabbage, tastes strange at first, pansori takes some getting used to. And just as there’s nothing to beat jamon and flamenco on its home ground in Andalucía, I think pansori needs to be heard in Jeolla, with a translation. Yes pansori singers do occasionally perform in the West, but for me it’s the intimacy, the translation, the audience and the ambience that are just as important as the music. When all that comes together, pansori really is one of the world’s great musical art forms.

This article was originally published in Songlines, July 2012

]]>
theApro <![CDATA[Key Findings from the Survey on Performing Arts in Korea]]> Key Findings from the Survey on Performing Arts in Korea
[FOCUS] Survey on Performing Arts in Korea (based on 2010) (Ⅱ)
 


Overview

1. Background and Objectives of the Survey
1) Objectives of the Survey
The objectives of the 2011 Survey on the Performing Arts were to gather statistical data concerning the state of current public funding for the performing arts sector flowing from administrative authorities responsible for public performance as well as the current operational practices of performing arts facilities and companies; ascertain the present status of the performing arts sector in an objective and reliable manner; and thereby provide basic data for establishing policies to galvanize the performing arts sector.

2) Survey Background and Approach
The Survey on the Performing Arts was first conducted in 2005 on the areas of performing arts where structured data and information on practices in the performing arts field were then scarcely available, and it obtained approval from the Statistics Korea with respect to its statistical compilation in 2007 to ensure maximum objectivity and reliability of the survey.

The survey population was categorized into five groups, i.e., national facilities, culture & art centers(funded by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism), performance venues in the Daehangno district, others (public), and others (private), in order to allow for a sampling design that reflected characteristics of the performing arts market and to estimate its size. As for the analysis of survey data, the size of the performing arts market was estimated and its characteristics were analyzed so that the entire structure of the market could be put into perspective. Furthermore, in a bid to grasp in detail the actual condition of the performing arts industry, detailed analytical findings were presented as per attributes of public funding, performing arts facilities, and performing arts companies. Given the current situation wherein an increasing need for policies to invigorate the performing arts industry and sharpen its competitiveness is on the rise, the survey has focused on producing data of value that would objectively help in providing an accurate overview of the size of the performing arts market and the current state of the performing arts sector.

This survey excluded the consumption (audience) area while exploring three key areas: funding, creation, and distribution. The central government and local governments responsible for providing public funding for the performing arts sector were surveyed in relation to the domain of funding while performing arts companies and performing arts facilities (performance venues) were inquired in relation to the creation (production) and distribution domains.

Survey Methodology

Size and Characteristics of the Performing Arts Market

Section1. Size of the Performing Arts Market

1. Size of the Entire Performing Arts Market
Entire Market Size
Considering performing arts facilities and performing arts companies in 2010, the performing arts market was found to be composed of a total of 3,034 businesses, 56,798 employees, and sales of some KRW 549.3 billion.

Size of the Performing Arts Market

Category No. of Businesses No. of Employees Sales (in KRW 1 million)*
total 3,034 56,798 549,313
performing arts facilities 820 9,623 327,441
performing arts companies 2,214 47,175 221,872

During the last four years, the number of performing arts facilities has increased to 820 in 2010 from 662 in 2007, up about 160 units. The number of employees rose to 9,623 in 2010 from 9,037 in 2007, up about 590 persons. Their sales increased from KRW 288 billion in 2007 to about KRW 327 billion in 2010, which recovered from about KRW 230 billion in 2008.
As for performing arts companies that are surveyed every two years, the number of companies decreased to 2,214 in 2010 from 2,440 in 2008, down about 230 units. The number of employees also declined to 47,175 in 2010 from 80,517 in 2008. It can be inferred that the sharp decrease in the number of employees was primarily attributable to the substantial drop in the number of part-time performing members of these companies. Sales declined to KRW 222 billion in 2010 from KRW 232 billion in 2008, down about KRW 10 billion.

Survey Methodology

Number of Businesses
The number of businesses of performing arts facilities increased 6.2% (or by 48 units) year on year, while that of performing arts companies decreased 9.3% (or by 225 units) year on year.

Yearly Changes in the Number of Businesses

category 2007 2008 2009 2010 year-on-year changes in 2010
change % change
total 662 3,172 772 3,034 - -
performing arts facilities 662 732 772 820 48 6.2%
performing arts companies - 2,440 - 2,214

△226

△9.3%

Number of Employees
The number of employees of performing arts facilities increased 2.5% (or by 231 persons) compared to the previous year, while that of performing arts companies decreased 41.4% (or by 33,342 persons) compared to the prior year. In the case of performing arts companies, the number of their performers declined 46.7% (or by 20,789 persons) and that of support personnel(staffs) decreased 17.5% (by 2,553 persons). As for the members, the decline in part-time members was more remarkable than that of full-time members. The change in the number of employees of performing arts companies is found to be significant over the years.

Yearly Changes in the Number of Employees

category 2007 2008 2009 2010 year-on-year changes in 2010
change % change
total 9,037 87,030 9,392 56,798 - -
performing arts facilities 9,037 6,513 9,392 9,623 231 2.5%
performing arts companies - 80,517 - 47,175

△33,342

△41.4%

performers - 65,911 - 35,122

△30,789

△46.7%

staffs - 14,606 - 12,053

△2,553

△17.5%

Sales (Self-Generated Revenues)
Sales of performing arts facilities increased 22.4% (by about KRW 59.9 billion) year on year, while those of performing arts companies showed a decrease of 4.5% (by about KRW 10.3 billion) compared to the previous year.

Yearly Changes in Sales (Self-Generated Revenues)

category 2007 2008 2009 2010 year-on-year changes in 2010
change % change
total 287,923 462,574 267,556 549,313 - -
performing arts facilities 287,923 230,366 267,556 327,441 59,885 22.4%
performing arts companies - 232,208 - 221,872 △10,336 △4.5%

2. Market Size Comparisons Based On Characteristics
The survey showed that in the performing arts market, as for performing arts facilities, culture & art centers and other private facilities commanded larger shares than other performing arts facilities; and in terms of performing arts companies, theatre companies and western music companies represented larger components that other genres.

Performing Arts Facilities
As regards performing arts facilities, in terms of the number of businesses, other private facilities accounted for 39.6% of all performing arts facilities surveyed, representing the largest share, followed by culture & art centers at 23.4%. In terms of the number of employees, culture & art centers commanded the largest share of 39.4%, followed by other private facilities at 27.5%. In terms of sales, other private facilities accounted for 45.5%, nearly a half of all facilities, followed by culture & art centers at 32.0%.
Overall, central government facilities and culture & art centers comprised relatively high shares of the number of employees and sales, given their share of the number of units. On the other hand, Daehangno facilities were found to have relatively low shares of the number of employees and sales, given their share of the number of units. Other public facilities showed a high share of the number of units and number of employees, but a relatively low share of sales. For other private facilities, their shares of all three categories were high overall, but their number of employees commanded a relatively low share while their sales accounted for a very high percentage.

[Figure] Shares of Market Size by Attribute (Performing Arts Facilities)


Performing Arts Companies
As regards performing arts companies, in terms of the number of businesses, western music companies and theatre/musical companies accounted for 31.0% and 28.3%, respectively, representing higher shares than other companies. In light of the number of employees, western music companies made up 40.8% of the entire group. In terms of sales, theatre companies comprised 56.8%, more than a half of the entire group, whereas western music companies commanded a relatively high share at 28.3%.
Overall, the portion of theatre/musical companies’’ sales among the entire group was high given the share of their number of businesses and employees. The portion of Western music companies’’ sales was relatively low for their portion of the number of businesses and employees. The shares of dance, Korean traditional music, and multidisciplinary genre groups are relatively small among all the performing arts companies. The proportions of sales of all three companies were rather small for the portions of their number of businesses and employees.

[Figure] Shares of Market Size by Attribute (Performing Arts Companies)


Section 2. Characteristics of Performing Arts Market
1. Public Funding for the Performing Arts Sector

Comparison of Shares of Performing Arts Budget of Central Government and Local Governments

category culture budget culture & arts budget performing arts budget b/a c/a c/b
(krw100mn) (krw100mn) (krw100mn) (%) (%) (%)
central government 24,444 13,226 1,477 54.1% 6.0% 11.2%
local governments 57,469 25,358 7,767 44.1% 13.5% 30.6%
total 81,913 38,584 9,244 47.1% 11.3% 24.0%

* b/a: Culture budget to culture & arts budget rate
* c/a: Culture budget to performing arts budget rate
* c/b: Culture & arts budge to performing arts budget rate

The domain of public funding plays a crucial role in the performing arts market. The funding is provided in a variety of forms including subsidies for performing arts activities and festivals mostly offered to private performing organizations, and budgets for establishment and operation of national and public performing arts facilities/organizations.
The performing arts budget that came from the central government and local governments totaled KRW 924.4 billion, of which the central government provided about KRW 147.7 billion and local governments about KRW 776.7 billion.
The central government’’s budget for performing arts commanded 6.0% in its total culture budget, and 11.2% in its total culture & arts budget.
The local governments’’ budget for performing arts accounted for 13.5% in its total culture budget, and 30.6% in its total culture & arts budget, showing local governments had a higher share of performing arts budget than the central government.

In terms of usage of the performing arts budget of the central government that totaled KRW 147.7 billion, operation of national performing arts facilities commanded the highest share (54.2%), followed by operation of national performing arts companies (23.1%), establishment of national/public performing arts facilities (16.8%), and subsidies for performing arts activities and festivals (5.9%).
In terms of usage of the performing arts budget of local governments that totaled KRW 776.7 billion, operation of public performing arts facilities accounted for the highest share (37.9%), followed by operation of public performing arts companies (21.5%), establishment of public performing arts facilities (21.0%), and funding for performing arts activities and festivals (16.7%).

2. Performance Statistics
As regards genre-based performances staged by performing arts facilities, which are the key distributor in the performing arts market, an average of 11 musicals per performance venue were performed 106 times for 76 days for an audience of 30,561 in 2010.
On average, 12 theatres per venue were staged 124 times for 98 days for an audience of 17,117. An average of 46 western music performances per venue were staged 64 times for 52 days and attended by 16,867 people on average.
As for multidisciplinary genre performances per performance venue, on average, 17 works were performed 40 times for 29 days and viewed by an audience of 13,286.
For other dance, ballet, opera, and Korean traditional music performances, an average of 4,000 to 5,000 persons per performance venue attended the performances.
It was shown that performing arts facilities mostly staged works generally preferred by the public such as theatres, musicals, western music, and multidisciplinary genres, thereby leading to a high rate of attendance.

[Figure] Genre-based Performance Results (Performing Arts Facilities)