Gustav Hellberg

Tracing Korea


50 x 400 x 25 cm
3-channel video installation, 3 x 40’ monitors, video loop 12:00 minutes

Tracing Korea consists of video recordings made with a drone that was flown over an agricultural area just south of Seoul in South Korea. A three-channel video is played on tree monitors placed in a row on the floor. The video recordings are reminiscent of two-dimensional maps. The soundtrack consists of two voices. A male voice recites Aeguka, South Korea's national anthem. Over the landscape images, two narrow white lines move in two different axes. At the point of intersection they form a cross. Every now and then the movement of the lines seems to stop, a point is highlighted and two text boxes appear, one in Korean and one in English. The text describes the object that the dot points to. At the same time, a woman's voice is heard saying the word with an American accent. Shortly thereafter, the same voice says the word in Korean (with a slight American accent).

The video installation is part of a larger project where Gustav Hellberg investigates a complex Korean reality that is strongly influenced by the country's strong patriotic culture. In the pictures, details from the landscape are pointed out and the question is asked what is really Korean. How does language change our perception of Korea and what is considered Korean?