I'm in Seoul to work on the second phase of the collaboration between Substation and Seoul Art Space Mullae. Seoul Art Space Mullae is a building with artist hostels, black box theatre, large gallery space, dance studios, video editing studio and sound recording studio and editing studios for use. It also serves as a central meeting point for artists in the Mullae area, which is an industrial area with many steel and metal works. Mullae is in walking distance from Yeongdeungpo (Line 1, Blue) and Mullae (Line 2, Green). Although its location is fairly central, it is still quite a hike to get to so it is mostly quiet until there are openings in the area.
Gallery Jungdabang Project
Gallery Jungdabang Project is another space nearby that is run by Murim Park, a curator who is working with us. He was very kind to show me around his space and Mullae. Jundabang is a gallery space with cafe, bar, and a small space upstairs for classes which recalls the "dabangs" or tea rooms of years gone past, as there apparently used to be a court across the road and people would come to this space to have tea. It is one of the few spaces at Mullae that is open all the time. There is a cafe/bar and it is sometimes used as a music venue as well. Currently there is a show going on in the space and there are some really interesting works in there. We also walked in briefly on a workshop by Fabworkshop teaching about open source hardware, along with a Little Bits demo.
Seo Sumi's words as insects.
The space in Mullae was much more informal compared to Seoul Art Space Mullae, so it seemed like a better place to ask people to fill out a little "survey" drawing for me.
Asking people to reflect on what is the shape of a Korean house
솜씨 (Somssi / Cottonseed Gallery)
Another notable landmark is 솜씨 in Mullae, also known as Cottonseed Gallery, which is another small space that is open all the time and also serves as a focal meeting point in the area. It is also host to workshops, talks, small exhibitions, and the Mullae Art Archive, a project that archives each and every artist who makes work in the Mullae area.
Somssi / Cottonseed Gallery: Mullae Art Archive
There is what appears to be a particularly insightful description online of Somssi on Akive:
"As Mullae-dong is already planned for re-development, it is hard to tell how much time the Artists Village and Somssi will have for these artists. However, as urban development cannot wipe out the history of artistic creations for which dreams and ideas are shared and co-created, Somssi’s activities are deemed as sufficiently meaningful. At the second floor of Somssi, there is Mullae Arts Archive that was established in 2011. Mullae Arts Archive collects, preserves and introduces current art practices by visual artists working in the Mullae Artists Village."
Mullae Culture Magazine
Nearby, there are also writers who produce the Mullae Culture Magazine and other writings about the area.
On another street corner, there is a garden that was planted by an artist who cleaned up a disused street corner and converted it into a little garden.
There are cafes in the area which can be visited during the daytime. This is one of them.
And we visited a carpenter who makes furniture and also conducts workshops in the area. The workshops are for the people living in the area. We also visited other artists who work with other materials such as metal. Their studios are all around the area but it can be hard to find as they are hidden away amidst the metal works...
A bright splash of colour amidst the low-flatted, grey and rusty buildings of the metal industry in the area. But of course, without the last straggling bits of the metal industry there, the area would probably no longer exist in this form. When the last of the metal industry in the area moves out, the area would very likely then be subsumed into the sea of sameness and generic apartment blocks...