Post-pastoral Perspectives of Korean Environment in Contemporary Art and Literature
Vol. 22 No. 1
pp. 17~33 (all 18 pages)
post-pastoral, Korean art, Korean literature, ecocriticism, South Korean development, Korean environment
Mixrice, an art collective of artists Yang Ch’ŏlmo [Yang Chul Mo] and Cho Chiŭn [Cho Ji Eun] won the 2016 Korea Artist Prize for their provocative multimedia project that featured a two-channel video installation, titled “The Vine Chronicle.” Centrally documenting the various lives of trees, like a 450-year old Zelkova tree from the village of Kangdong-ri, the video portrays their itinerant lives as they are moved to various sites to fuel capitalist development schemes: camping resorts, apartment complexes and redevelopment sites. Using this exhibit and its unique post-pastoral perspective as a frame, this article explores contemporary perceptions of Korean environment in art and literature. In this study, I am interested in drawing connections among ecocritical artworks and literary works that highlight the dispossession of human and non-human life and the history of rapid South Korean development. These works seek to complicate notions of South Korean development, environmental degradation and migration through a post-pastoral frame.