Sunday, November 20, 2011

Arirang & Jang-in

The Powerhouse Museum recently opened an exhibition called Spirit of jang-in, showcasing metalwork from Korea's Bronze Age as well as some contemporary pieces from modern Korean and some Australian artists. The Powerhouse also wrote their own detailed article on the exhibition. The exhibition is open till February 12th, 2012, and if you head over by that date you'll be able to see the beautiful Love Lace exhibition, the colourful Wiggles exhibition and the highly anticipated Harry Potter exhibition coming November 19th.

Since photography wasn't allowed in the exhibition, I just took a photo of the sign at the ramp leading to the new exhibition, though I do love the "logo" for this exhibition.

The meaning of Jang-in from the Powerhouse Museum's website:
The Korean word jang-in means ‘artisan’, ‘craftsman’ or ‘master’. In Korea, people who devoted themselves to a particular profession throughout their lives, or who mastered a particular craft skill, were called jang-in. They believed in setting high moral standards and considered their works to be their ‘other-self’ because they embodied the passion, soul and dedication of the maker.
As I was suppose to meet my friend at midday, my original plan was to pop in to the museum for the Celebrate Korean Culture opening day event before meeting her but I got caught up in wandering around the museum. After traversing through a bit of a maze to find the entrance (I know, I go there so often and I can't even find the entrance??*) I went inside and headed straight to level four to see the exhibition. As I was tight on time, I was going to take a quick scan but ended up bumping into the curator led talk and decided to stay and listen. There was an interesting section with a cannon which was faced towards some farming tools and weapons. This section was symbolising the period of Japanese occupation and when Korea was economically poor. At that time, many metallic pieces were melted down to make weapons and farm machinery.

As we approached the end of the exhibition with the contemporary pieces, the memebers of the group were suddenly introduced as "and here is the artist who made this..." etc etc so it was quite fun seeing the people who were part of the exhibition.

I ended up chatting to one of the other ladies on the tour and she gave heaps of interesting facts about science etc, like the person who is the best match for you is based on smell and stuff, which was from some human body documentary. We headed down to the Write your name in Korean stand and made a few requests from the girl sitting there in addition to our own names (one of the supervisors thought I was a helper too -_-) and then we went to the Turbine Hall where they were making a Korean toy called a jegi which was like a hacky sack or those feather toys which you bounce on your foot. The museum's photographer was going to take a photo of me playing with the jegi but since I was so hopeless he had to teach me how to play it lol!

There I bumped into someone I know from the museum as she had the super fun job of being the KPOP DJ, if that was me it'd only be playing Big Bang... and maybe some 2NE1. They were using a bin decked out colourfully to be a speaker system, this was attached to an iPad with a DJ application, so you could switch between two songs and do that scratchy mixing sound, lol.

As it was nearing lunchtime, the lady with lots of facts went to grab a bite and I was going to grab some bikkies from the Member's lounge, but since it had temporarily moved, I just went to see the Arirang show without food :(

I had just planned to watch the first half, but of course the best two shows were after intermission so I stayed back and wow, they were really amazing.

Korea's most beloved folksong played on the haegeum (two-stringed fiddle)

Korean lyric song cycles, accompanied by traditional Korean musical instruments.
Important Intangible Cultural Heritage of Korean No. 30 (1969)

An expression of people's frank emotions such as joy, sadness, and love through instrumental music. Originally played solo, but in this performance accompanied of ajaeng, daegeum and janggu.

A mellow, artistic folk dance performed to express wishes for the great peace of the nation. The costumes show a glimpse of the grandeur royal palace life.
Important Intangible Cultural Heritage of Korean No. 92 (1988)

Vocal and percussion music performance with expressive singing, stylised speech, repertory of naratives and gesture.
Important Intangible Cultural Heritage of Korean No. 5 (1964)

Creative fan dance presenting images such as butterflies and waves, originating from a solo dance. The beautiful sounds of the folding and unfolding fans are one of the dance's attractions.

Namsadang Nori
Generally performed outdoors to entertain poor farmers and lower-class people, serving as a consolation for the public through mask dances and puppet shows satirising a noble's suppressed reality.
Important Intangible Cultural Heritage of Korean No. 3 (1964)

After that I went to play some board games, eat sushi and sing karaoke!

Other facts:

**Just FYI, the museum is currently undergoing a revitalisation stage and there is a whole heap of construction and hoarding everywhere, but it's interesting to watch how the museum is evolving and they are keeping the public updated with how it's going.

This year marks the “Year of Friendship’ between Australia and the Republic of Korea and 50 years of their bilateral relations, and there have been many events such as the highly anticipated KPOP festival (12.11.2011) with some of Korea's hottest groups coming to perform (though missing the beautiful Big Bang T_T).

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