An interview with Gimo Yi, the curator in Asia Culture Institute (part 1)


What is ACC’s current goal and long term plan, regarding the aims, aspect and key point?

We set three steps to reach our current goal. First, to research and make a content, such as an idea. Second, to make a production which based on the content. And third, to distribute those productions. For the long-term plan, we need to realize the original purpose of the institution, which means the location of ACC is used to be the core place of May 18th Democratic Uprising, many people voted and died during that time. Thus, this is also the place to memorize people who die at the movement. Many Asian suffered in the colonial period, and it was a common experience in Gwangju. So, we try to share the emotion, and to understand each other over Asia. This is the base of the whole project in ACC. We want to improve Asia lifestyle by observing Asian culture and environment. Now, being colonization is passed, but the culture and experience are retained. The memory of the miserable movement gives us the shadow in economic, cultural, psychological, and many ways, it is hard to move away. ACC would be the type of a platform to discuss how to design the direction for the local residents to heal their pain of the memory. As we are on the global generation, we hope we can provide and educate Asian people plenty of knowledge and information about international worldview, and let them know there is not only two different countries between Western and Non-Western, but third-countries. It is important to be identified in the value of Asian culture, and embrace the values of other cultures around the world. Eventually, we want to help our residents get out of afraid from the historical depressed movement, and we need to open our mind to search a better direction.  I think our institution essential to go this way and to realize our aim and goal.

What is the scale and layout about internal structure, responsibility and work distribution in ACC?

Employees in ACC directly come from the Ministry of Culture Art, they administrate human resource, budget and control the hardware, like facilities, etc. ACI supervises by the ACC, so we ask ACC’s permission for the funding. In ACI, we are a hierarchical organization which consists of a president, a director of each department, and team leaders under each department. As my position, I work under a team leader. I organize, plan, create all the contents and handle our project. I just completed the first year anniversary exhibition (2016-2017), and I was hired to create this exhibition. After that, I moved to international exchange department, and my supervisor asked me to make a network with other countries. Each project which is processed and reported by ACI, ACC, and Ministry of Culture Art, every department and employee cooperate together and support for each program. The total number of employees in ACI and ACC is around 250 to 300, which consist of 80 to 100 employees in ACC and 180 to 200 In ACI.

What are the professional backgrounds and skills of employees in ACI?

How does ACI recruiting and hiring?

People find the job opportunity through advertisement when we offer the job opportunity. The requirement of hiring is differed from departments and positions. In general, they need to have experience. I work in international exchange department, most of the employee have a Master of Arts degree, and some of them have Ph.D. degree. In my case, I completed my MA degree and studied Ph.D. program. When I applied for the job, ACI asked me to write two proposals which are human right and environment in fifteen minutes. I always think of these proposals, and I think we need to get ready and wait for the opportunity. On November 2016, I made my first exhibition which was about the human right for the anniversary exhibition of ACC. At that time, people were protesting our ex-president – Park Geun-hye. It was a dangerous era to talk about human right, and I cannot directly say what I want to say. So, what I did is disguise the exhibition to draw popular music. The exhibition title was Clump Monster. When people see the advertisement, they think about this exhibition is about dance and music gathering exhibition. The music is related to Korean and Indonesian protesting and fighting popular songs (hip-hop), included the blue song – John Lennon’s Imagine, and a hip-pop protesting artist. Also, I invited a graphic designer for the visual work on ceiling paint. And, I invite another artist to redesign the ladder for a new vision which based on her 1967’s artwork, and let visitors experience. So, when visitors make efforts to climb up the ladder and stand on the dangerous situation, there’s a small word “Yes” on a ceiling artwork. We want to make people feel the Orient and Asian way of emotions. In that time, it was Brussels terror. To express their feeling sorry without saying, they start to sing John Lennon’s Imagine. Last year, when our ex-president stepped down, I invited a graphic artist to paint something to imply and describe this situation.


What is the funding source and allocation of ACI?

The funding is 100% from the government. And, we make a profit from selling tickets, especially, our theater is very popular including dance, drama, opera, and music performances. it is 7000 Won per ticket ( approximately $ 7 to 8 US dollars). We had 2 million visitors coming to ACI in the first year (2017). For the second year, the visitor amount is getting slower because the rate of outward migration in Gwangju is raising. Many people move to Seoul city which causes the low population in this area. So, we start to make special operas to attract more visitors, and increase the visiting amount of ACI. Our children museum is the best one in Korea, it has various programs and makes most profitable for ACI.