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A Global Distribution Platform for the Performing Arts—Examining Opportunities for Change
 A Global Distribution Platform for the Performing Arts—Examining Opportunities for Change
Writer : Kim Seul-gi_Press Researcher the NTCK 2014.11.04 Asia > Korea

A Global Distribution Platform for the Performing Arts—Examining Opportunities for Change
[Trends] 2014 Performing Arts Market in Seoul “Round Table 1”


The Performing Arts Market in Seoul(PAMS) had its 10th anniversary this year. Since its inception, South Korea’s performing arts world has pursued a variety of overseas expansion opportunities through the vehicle of PAMS, as well as active interaction with a variety of countries around the world. But for the past 10 years the way the organization has perceived the world and reacted to it has changed so rapidly that it has rendered hasty prediction untenable; these changes, while influencing society and culture in broad ways, have also guided us to a world of unlimited possibilities. The performing arts world around the world has also adjusted to the direction of these changes, and is in the midst of exploring new directions in response to the changes. Round Table 1 was an opportunity to listen to the voices in the field directly involved in such changes, and to identify a future direction for PAMS in the context of these developments.

To a place of exchange and collaboration rather than trade

The total number of Round Table events that PAMS has hosted this year is five, and each focuses on the transformation of the performing arts today, as well as exploring visions of the future in performing arts. Round Table 1, which began in the lobby of the first floor of the Haeoreum Theater of the National Theater on Oct. 9, proceeded with “What’s Next in the Evolution of the Global Distribution Platform of the Performing Arts?” as the topic with KAMS head Jung Jae-wal as the host. Panelists included international performing arts network ISPA head David Baile, International Exchange for the Performing Arts CINARS head Alain Paré, and Performing arts meeting in Yokohama TPAM director Hiromi Maruoka. Besides the aforementioned people, Singapore International Festival of Arts (SIFA) art director Ong Keng Sen participated in an interrogatory role. All of the above organizations have preceded PAMS in pioneering the world market through their attempts at creating an international performing arts network. And as witnesses in the development of PAMS over many years of participation, they were more than willing participants in a discussion of how PAMS, in its 10th year, was doing. More than anything, all of the panelists were in agreement about the fact that a performing arts platform in today’s world had to overcome the traditional concept of a market to reinvent itself as a network or network-like organization. At the same time, each of the panelists were clear about the unique identity and mission of each of their organizations, reminding their hosts that individual goals could differ according to environment and other contextual factors. The common goals of the panelists were loosely aligned, and although their specific, individual strategies may have differed, they were on the same page, facing the same goal.

2014 PAMS Round Table 1 Poster

Panelists who participated in the Round Table 1

2014 PAMS Round Table 1 Poster Panelists who participated in the Round Table 1

The evolution of the platform, the attitude of identifying change and reacting to it

The ISPA(International Society for the Performing Art) is a membership-based organization with activities that differ from those of the traditional performing arts platform. The organization, which comprises about 450 members in a total of 24 countries and includes festivals, performing arts groups, managers, and consultants, hosts two general meetings every year, keeping tabs on the changing performing arts ecosystem and strengthening its international network. ISPA head David Baile has identified a transformation in the method of exchange as the most significant change in contemporary performing art. Recently, the communication between artists and audiences, to say nothing of that between planners and presenters, has found a new source of energy from the development of digital media, and evolved to the point where one could almost say that there are no longer any boundaries—that is how spontaneous and direct the opportunities produced through this medium are. Furthermore, by expanding the concept of art and culture to mean more than simply the individual creation of a genius artist but into the realm of the public, the performing arts connect with the local community and call for the participation of ordinary citizens.

On the one hand, CINARS(Commerce International des Arts de la Scène) may have begun in 1984 as an international art market in Canada, but in recent years it has emphasized its role as a network. CINAR proposes to increase the number of opportunities for Canadian performing artists abroad by creating a space for trade, exchange, and collaboration. Alain Paré, who has been with CINARS since its inception until the present, through its transformations and developments, highlighted the fact that even while paying respect to traditional ways, it’s important to adjust to the logistics of a new creative paradigm. In actuality, a fast-changing reality is often an obstacle in the long-term plans of those in the field. All we can do in the present is flexibly adjust to reality best as we can through the implementation of new skills and technologies. Paré also called on all of us to shed our conventional roles to explore new ways to adjust to a changing world.

TPAM began in 1995 as the Tokyo Performing Arts Market, and in 2011 moved its base of operations to Yokohama and changed the original “market” in the name to “meeting,” thus becoming the Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama. Above all else, those behind this event aim to be a platform for professionals, with information and idea exchange as the primary purpose. It took a lot of continued discussion between artists and presenters before the name changed. What they needed was not simply a positive assessment of their piece but, rather, by having a place where they could share their background and their artistic processes, a forum emerged where they could seriously talk about why a certain piece might have repelled them, if it did repel them. TPAM director Hiromi Maruoka emphasized the importance of working together to create a feasible new paradigm because, as he asserted, nobody knows the answer, meaning that all the more people thus need to join the discussion.

Round Table 1 participants (From left to right, Jung Jae-wal, David Baile, Hiromi Maruoka, Alain Paré)

Round Table 1 participants (From left to right, Jung Jae-wal, David Baile, Hiromi Maruoka, Alain Paré)

Another Question—Extending the Reach of a Medium

If all three panelists had approached the debate as mediators or agents, then interrogator Ong Ken Sen, speaking as the art director of a festival, threw out a question on the dual importance of archiving and stimulating audience communication. He drew attention to the “handmade” aspect of the performing arts, an art form that is in touch with both the moment and with time. Ong, in an effort to redirect the topic towards “audience ownership,” also noted that, given the particularities of the performing arts as a genre, it was impossible to apply a set standard in judging a piece. He brought up a recent anecdote from Singapore, where he was attempting to convert the experience of the audience into a set of values through a rating system based on sincerity, rather than pull value from numbers. Going beyond a performance for the audience, Ong also was in favor of a performance that involved the audience, and instead of pursuing a simple effect, he was interested in the influence it had. If such approaches act as mediating agents between creator and audience, Ong also proposed archiving as a method of mediating between the past, present, and future.

Those in the performing arts world are always interested in the issues of a new era, and rush forward, without devoting much interest in looking back or in recording the present. Certainly, due to the revolution of digital technology in recent years, it’s easy to recover the past and record the present, but the limitations of this are self-evident. Such methods of recording function more superficially to produce exhibitions and stockpile achievements rather than archive for the purpose of mediation and discussion. The value found in such methods is distant from the aforementioned handmade experience that only the performing arts can give, actually falling closer to the value of readymade data. Ong ended by emphasizing that it was important to attempt new discussions by learning from the past, and to explore the possibilities to be found in these discussions.

David Baile who answers to audience questions

Round Table field

David Baile who answers to audience questions Round Table field

The significance of this Round Table was that the professionals and experts chimed in on the immediate issues of performing arts today. There was a sense of regret about the fact that the debate could not involve a more varied audience, and that there wasn’t as much lively discussion or interrogation as the organizers might have hoped for, but at the very least the participants were able to reexamine the present in more diverse ways after the event. The global distribution platform for the performing arts is by necessity something that must evolve to suit the needs of the present. The time has now come to listen to the various voices involved. In some ways the only solution might be to acknowledge that there is no answer. This is perhaps what makes the future of PAMS so intriguing as it navigates its 10th year.

기고자프로필

Kim Seul-gi_Press Researcher the NTCK
Kim Seul-gi is interested in the various values that arise in the processes of artistic creation and audience reception. She is particularly intrigued by what is possible through the performing arts, including performance. She has written for the monthly magazine The Korean Theatre Review and is currently working as a press researcher for the National Theater Company of Korea(NTCK), managing various programs related to theater, including academy programs and publications. She is currently studying theater theory in graduate school, and through stints as dramaturge is pursing both research and writing in the field of the performing arts. E-mail
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