So, in the timeline of events, (rather than my horribly non-chronological blog posts) a few weeks after Chuseok Nick and I went on another day out with Rachel and Jamie, this time to Gyeongbokgung and the Daelim museum.
But first: food. Of course! ;D
In honour of Nick, we had bossam (boiled belly pork, what's not to like?) but this time rather than ssam (large salad leaves that you use to make a fajita-style wrap) we had crepe-like pancakes, effectively a thin, plain version of the jeon that we love to eat. It was super good, I'd definitely eat it like that again, but then I'm not even TRYING to convince myself it's healthy via all the salad I eat when we use ssam. ;p
So. Stuffed full of pork, ssamjang and pancakes (and soju) we went to the Daelim Museum where there was an art exhibit called "Persistent Illusions" by TROIKA, a UK-based art collective that'd I'd heard of before but never experienced.
|This ominous sculpture greeted us in the main lobby/gift shop.|
The rippling mirrors reminded me of The Imprisoned from Skyward Sword and generally made me feel kind of uncomfortable and scared for some reason. But I like it when art causes physical and emotional reactions, good or bad.
|For the uninformed: This is The Imprisoned. It's creepy.|
The main thing I liked about the exhibit was that they used really unusual mediums for the different installations. The titles for each artwork kind of gave it a meaning and (to me) let you come up with various interpretations, which I really enjoyed.
|The Weather Yesterday|
"Labyrinth", again, was pretty underwhelming until I learnt some more about how it was made. Like a sort of printing press (I think. Most of the captions were in Korean so anything I know was gleaned from Rachel or guesswork) the wooden construction was placed on the paper, and soot mixed with water was placed at the start of the maze. Then, you just let gravity work its magic as the liquid ran through the wood, trying to find its way out. Very cool.
|The Sum of All Possibilities|
There are a lot of fantastic photos available on TROIKA's website that do the exhibition much more justice than I did. My favourite, which I didn't take a photo of (for some reason) was "Calculating the Universe" which was made of hundreds of black and white dice creating a really interesting pattern. I enjoyed it mainly for the title and concept that I got from it.
Across the road from Daelim was another art exhibition which had free entry, so we thought "why not?" and headed in. It was weird, because it did at first look a lot like we were just wandering into someone's house, albeit a rather fancy and expensive one.
I think it was an art exhibition to go with a film that was released, which I believe was also a thriller. Which explained the really eerie feeling the whole place gave off.
|The man projected onto the bed kept tossing and turning and I can only assume he recently experienced a heart-wrenching breakup with someone.|
I think as you travel through the house you also travel through the protagonist's memories, as it has a bit of an ethereal feel to it, and some of the rooms seem almost identical in layout but at different times in a person's life. So a desk covered in letters and photos in one room, has them shoved in a drawer and a figure of a girl hiding in the wardrobe. And further on, the lights are off, the desk is barren and there's just a chair facing the open, empty wardrobe.
|This section, labelled "Prelude" showed the cheeriest images of young love and romance in the building's entrance.|
When we walked in, all we could see were huge groups of people and thought that it must be the queue to get in. It was a national holiday, after all. Curses!
But it turned out that we were just in time to see the Changing of the Guard ceremony and the queues, upon closer inspection, were just where barriers had been set up around the edges.
|I still love how traditional Korean clothes are so vibrant and colourful.|
|There was a lot of noisemaking from some of the guards, using traditional instruments (which I love the sound of), and a lot of shouting that I think did get translated over a tannoy but the crowd was still a bit too noisy. Oh well.|
But yes, joking aside, it's an incredibly grand place, with all the gorgeous colours and architecture that I've come to expect from historical Korean buildings.
|I don't think I'll ever get over being able to see mountains everywhere.|
I loved seeing this. This is the King's jang fermentation house. Jang being all the various sauces and pastes you can make from soy beans, including soy sauce, ssamjang, and soy bean paste. I would assume that it's also where the kimchi jars were kept, but don't quote me on that. There was well over a hundred jars and it was the (very important) job of three women to spend all day tending to them, making sure it was all of the highest quality and safe to eat. I liked this because to me it says "hey, the King is only human. He needs soy products just like you", haha.
We looked around a little more and took lots of lovely photos before heading back home to...pretty much just sleep. I always make these days out seem very easygoing and relaxing (which they are!) but they're also super-tiring. It's great!