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Real Survival Guide Gongjung Dosi

1-channel video_26m 27s

2019

 

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Introduction by a Gongjung Dosi Engineer

My apartment is on the border between Mapo and Yongsan in Seoul. The apartment complex is just a few steps away from the noise of five roads converging, and is hidden behind the towering shoulders of the concrete stepchildren of various mega-corporations. I live on the sixth

floor of a six-story building built thirty years ago. Having no elevator has gotten to be a headache overtime, but it encourages me to travel light and has become my excuse for living a no-frills lifestyle.

I quit smoking around ten years ago. But I do still smoke a cigarette now and then because I’m embarrassed about smoking. I go up to the roof to smoke, which is one of my favorite spots in the apartment. For a variety of reasons, this place has been mostly forgotten and now belongs to the little birds, blankets hung up each season by unknown persons to dry, and the atmosphere provided by neighboring rooftops. In

this city, you can gaze at rooftops all day without getting bored, and the scenery to be found here is a world apart from the arid views seen from

the window of a restaurant in some skyscraper. Waves crash in every direction. In the east, Lotte Tower. From south to north rise large pilings.

Moving diagonally from the river’s edge heading inland, more waves of pilings crash forward crushing hillside villages and basement apartments. These waves are dotted with green squares, which are buoys signaling where and what will happen tomorrow in this city. To me, this all looks like the room of a poverty-stricken senior living with 150 dogs, which makes me wonder what the geniuses who searched for new ideals in the rules of modern architecture would think looking down at Seoul covered in pilings and rooftops. In the middle of all this, an entrepreneur with a keen interest in the arts is creating a new font, and does it really make a difference if it’s 151 or 152 dogs? In a way, all this ruckus has an allure to it.

There is nothing that links these rooftops together; we are all scattered far apart. Then again, there are days when those standing face

to face with each other do feel relatively close. When the smog clears for the first time in a long time and the sky opens up, cracked kimchi pots,

plastic rocking horses, and men and women smoking cigarettes all glow a deeper green. Sometimes you see banners hung on rooftops calling out members of landowner associations and government workers who are lukewarm about redeveloping a neighborhood. So, I stare not at other rooftops but further down.

I can see down to the roots of the empty space which overlaps vertically with the horizontally stacked facades. Everything floating is connected to the earth. We move from point to point, coordinate to coordinate, in order to walk better. Is it the same with things coming out

of the ground? When searching for ways to survive, do humans inevitably go up?

Yoonjuli Writing Corporation

Translator Max Balhorn