mute 2: 봉인된 시간 Sealed times 2011.11.5~12.3 한미사진미술관
김재경의『Mute 2』와 사진건축의 미학
글 : 김민수 / 서울대 디자인학부 교수
『뮤트』에는 적막한 좁은 골목길의 장소 이미지가 담겨져 있다. 그러나 김재경에게 ‘뮤트’란 단순히 말없고 고요한 ‘침묵의’ 언어가 아니다. 그것은 소리가 잘 나던 오디오의 작동이 일시 정지된 상황을 뜻한다. 달리 말해, 사전적으로 이는 “과거에 곧 잘 말하다가 뭔가에 의해 (일시적으로) 말을 못하는 묵언(黙言) 또는 발음되지 못한 묵음(黙音)의 상황”에 더 가깝다.
그는 기존의 ‘점’과 같은 이미지를 넘어서 파노라마 화각의 ‘면’으로 펼쳐진 장소성을 포착한 것이다. 결과적으로 『뮤트 2』는 한편의 응축된 ‘시적(詩的) 이미지’의 밀도감을 유지하면서도 동시에 ‘소설적 서사’의 울림을 자아낸다. 이러한 울림은『뮤트 2』가 실존적이고 상징적 차원에서 장소와 시간을 어루만지는 영매(靈媒)로 작용하기 때문일 것이다.
... 그러나 김재경의『뮤트 2』의 골목길은 하루키나 김기덕의 작품에서처럼 결코 고립된 타자들의 닫혀진 공간이 아니다. 그 속에는 ‘열려진 흐름의 연속체’로 다가와 오히려 뭔가의 가능성을 발견하게 이끄는 묘한 힘이 존재한다. 『뮤트 2』의 골목길에는 얼핏 폐쇄된 듯 보이지만 미묘하게 서로 얽혀진 ‘숨길’이 존재하고 작동하고 있기 때문이다. 그곳엔 후미진 골목길이 숨 쉬고 내뱉는 이른바 ‘들숨’과 ‘날숨’이 동시에 존재한다.
바로 이점에서 김재경의 미학적 욕망은 단순히 건물에 종속된 ‘건축사진가’의 차원을 넘어선다. 그의 행위는 적극적으로 도시에 개입하고 건축적 욕망을 발언하는 건축가의 작업과 다를 바 없다. 그래서 김재경의『뮤트 2』는 개념적으로 ‘건축사진’과 ‘사진건축’의 사이에서 후자의 행위에 더 가까운 것으로 여겨진다. 이는 그가 도시 내부의 깊숙한 시간의 켜 속에 잠입해 삶을 이루는 생체조직의 미세한 혈관과 피부조직 밑의 ‘봉인된 시간’들을 조심스레 들춰내 기억의 장소로 새롭게 구조화하기 때문이다.
“Mute 2” by Jae-Kyeong KIM and The Aesthetics of Photography Architecture
Min-Soo Kim / Professor of Design Division, Seoul National University
“Mute2”: It is the second series of Jae-Kyeong Kim following his first “Mute” in 2000. “Mute 2” does not only contain more clearly extended message but also seems to explore a new possibility. Originally the work “Mute” started from the remote daldongnaes (poor hillside villages) of Samseon-dong, Hawolgok-dong, Oksu-dong, Gireum-dong and Hannam-dong. He captured stairs, dark and damp walls, rusty steel door and telephone poles of the narrow alleys in high contrast on his 35mm camera. These black and white photographs which are technically very delicate and finely captured, mutely tells us to stop our eyes and pay attention to the the life which has existed as a trivial and insignificant thing on the street, just as his previous solo exhibition The Nature and Architecture (1998) did. On the other hand, “Mute” came to us as another metaphor for resistance. It is a document of a life containing the wish of an architectural photographer who is standing against the conspiracy of the urban renewal program and residential looting that spreads out spectacularly—reminding of a construction of movie sets, and who tries to stop it with the still pictures at the front line of the Korean urban architecture.
“Mute” contains space images of quiet narrow alleys. To Jae-Kyeong Kim, however, “mute” is not only a simple quiet and silent language, it is a sort of a situation that an audio player is paused while working properly. In other words, lexically it is more close to the situation of silence that a person who has spoken well in the past is incapable of speaking (temporarily) because of something, or the situation of silent syllable that cannot be pronounced. The language —the message—of “Mute” is a strong metaphor of the existential situation of Korean cities that no longer can be pronounced since the substantive experience of the space and the existence of shelter has been uprooted, and demolition and plunder of residence (living) has been ventured by the new urban planning and redevelopment. Interestingly, since “Mute” was presented, over the years, the strength of the metaphor has been more heightened. As the ills of New Town and the redevelopment projects including the recent tragedy of Yongsan become public, the desolation in the scene is seized with fear of the invisible presence just as the film Paranormal Activity (2007) by Oren Peli. This implied fear abuts on the fate of the ‘planned development district’ where the noise and dust of the development that plows over the existing shelters indiscriminately has not yet occurred just as the eye of the hurricane. Therefore, “Mute” is not a quiet silence but a tacit call to reconsider the Korean urban planning and architectural scenery that leads to self-destruction of soul and identity of the city.
“Mute2” will now guide us to a new zone. He persisted in the theme of his previous work, presenting new possibilities. The sites of his subject matter, for example, have been expanded to Sageun-dong, Sindang-dong, Hyeonjeo-dong, Ihwa-dong, Myeonglyun-dong, Jungnim-dong, Chungsin-dong, Hoehyeon-dong, etc. as well as Samseon-dong, Oksu-dong, Hannam-dong. His angle of view also has expanded as much as his path. Instead of using common 35mm cameras, he catches the elongated and undistorted images of the alleys with the 136° angle of view of Noblex 135U. Therefore, with his panoramic camera he has been using since 2008, he captures the placeness which had spread out as a ‘plane’ of the panoramic field of view overcoming the image of a ‘point’. Consequently, “Mute2” maintains the density of a condensed piece of ‘poetic image’ and evokes the resonance of ‘novelistic narrative’ at the same time.
This resonance is created because “Mute2” serves as a medium that embraces time and space in symbolic and existential area. As someone said, a place might be ‘a contemporary representation of past experiences and events, and a contemporary expression of the future expectations’. At this point the alleys captured by the panoramic view bring back to present the places which will be buried as a past in the city life in the republic of apartments, Seoul, and make us question about the future. For instance, they show the temporal persistence of “a village with intricate alleyways where those who still use coal briquettes live” stated in the novel Seoulites (1984) by Wanseo Park, which realistically depicted the change of residential environment of Seoul from 1960’s to 1980’s. The place referred to in the novel as “such a village (with intricate alleyways) [which] is eventually an open path, as usual, wherever we go”, becomes the object in “Mute2”. Jae-Kyeong Kim embraces the existent place where the heroine of the novel “shuddered at the open mouth of trash cans in front of every door while walking up the narrow winding uphill path” and regenerates it as a place of warmth but not as a horrible past.
In “Mute2” also a new story of a symbolic dimension is unfolding. When looking at the alleys in the photographs, the symbols of the novel The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994) by Haruki Murakami come to mind: an ‘alley’ blocked from flowing, which has neither entry nor exit, and a ‘vacant house’ where nobody lives. Murakami deals with the fundamental matter—the sense of loss of the raison d’être that a humanbeing faces in the modern society, through the symbols in the novel. In a sense, “Mute2” also shows the metaphor of the empty alley and the place as a lost place. Some people might think of the view of an othered ghost who wanders in search for an empty house in the film Vacant (2004) by Ki-Duk Kim. But the alleys of “Mute2” are never closed spaces of the isolated others as in the works of Ki-Duk Kim and Haruki Murakami. Inside them lies a strange force, which comes as a ‘continuum of open flow’ and lead us to find a potential possibility. It is because although the alleys in “Mute2” seem to be closed at first glance, ‘passages of breath’ subtly intertwined with each other exist to work. There co-exist so-called the ‘inhalation’ and the ‘exhalation the obscure alley breathes.
For example, in Jungnim-dong (2009), there is a possibility of another alley led via the stairs on the edge of the narrow wall on the left side. Now let’s move our eyes to the right. The eyes which came through the wall will meet the laundry fluttering in the breeze caused by the flow of the view entering the right alley. And then, the observer’s eyes slip away the alley crossing the wall on the right side of the photo and leaving behind the smell of the laundry soap. This subtle breath of the alley peaks in Hannam-dong (2009). The inhalation that carefully started from the small staircase on the left side of the scene turns around the wall located on the bottom of the scene and then turns into the exhalation letting the breath to the alley on the right. In the center of the scene with a long wall as a background, chairs that each has different shapes are friendly lined up. These empty chairs have all different looks such as injection molded plastic chair, office chair, kindergarten chair, dining chair, and puppy swivel chair. If today’s modern architecture gets away from the obsession of the newness and respects the layers and admits the diversity of life as much as these chairs, the world might be more livable.
And that is why Jae-Kyeong Kim’s aesthetic desires is beyond the ‘architectural photograph’ area which is simply subject to the buildings. His work is not different from that of an architect who is actively involved in the city and speaks the architectural desires. Therefore, between ‘architectural photography’ and ‘photography architecture’, the series “Mute2” is conceptually considered to be closer to the latter. It is because he infiltrates the deep layer of time inside the city, to bring up carefully the times sealed under the microscopic blood vessels and skin tissue of life, and then newly structuralizes it as a place of remembrance. Such a practice shares the direction of the urban architecture which regenerates the faults of time and memory in today’s modern architecture. It is proved by the photograph (from Space, Sep, 2011, p.81) he took during the restoration of recently opened ‘Dream Floor’ in the Children’s Grand Park . The photograph is almost a ‘genetic map’ which already contains all the information of how the architecture should be involved in the heritage of modern architecture which was originally built in 1971 as a golf course clubhouse. He has provided all the clues by this single photograph on how a building which went through the transformation of time should be regenerated and restored conserving its archetypal value with which structure and texture. In this sense, I find the message of ‘the hope born in the pain’ of the film Stalker (1979) by Andrei Tarkovsky in Jae-Kyeong Kim’s “Mute2” and the desire of architectural photography. Photography architect Jae-Kyeong Kim: I wonder if he might be one of the “stalkers” of our time who help people with no hope fulfill their deep inner wishes by taking them to “the Zone”; Waiting for “mute3”…