Artist Haeil Kwon is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this photo essay. From the project ‘Compressor’. To see Haeil’s body of work, click on any image.
Once the shantytown on the hills was bulldozed, an apartment complex with a rich town’s name took the place. Out of the fear of losing a competition and despite the price premium for being close to a flashy neighborhood across the river, I ended up buying a unit. While this numbered rectangular space built on the air is legally mine, I am anxious. The concern of selling this property already gives me a headache, although I just bought it.
About five decades ago, Guy Debord warned the world that it would be full of people just like me. He named the particular loss of inherent worth and the form of worshiping commodities as “spectacle.” Spectacles have degraded us into spectators no longer capable of reasons and emotions. While we are surrounded by us in all directions, we ostracize ourselves.
Meanwhile, apartments have become the very symbol of spectacles. Construction site floors are flooded with cryptic numbers, signs and codes. The fence screen that encircles the entire outer wall must be trying to hide what happens on the inside. Wires are so tangled that nobody could possibly guess where they are connected; thin steel frames are connected by some means, and then get covered with thick cement. Yesterday’s floor becomes today’s ceiling, and bumps develop from smooth surfaces in a day. How does the world disturb us? The very process of spectacles is as much as spectacle as the outcomes themselves. I feel anxious and nauseated.
For I do not possess the level of intellect to give a logical account of my social standpoint, I wish to speak through photographs. Spectacles are not mere sets of images; rather, they are the social relationships among the people mediated by these images! Since our modern history was not built upon our willful choices, we have become secularized. For that, I give my best to be more meticulous.
“I was born in Korea in 1977. In 1995, I first encountered a photo in a university photo club activity. I am a major in art education, and in 2018 I received a doctorate in photography. I am currently working at a school and working as a member of the 'Busan International Photo Festival' management committee. I am very interested in the relationship between people and society. So, I want to explain the human relationship through the city and buildings. So I'm closely watching the inside and outside of buildings, especially those that are being built.”
All images and text © Haeil Kwon
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