ChongMyo park 2007 project

Location-based Research Project.    11.2007
teaching @ Konkuk University, Korea.

At the center of Seoul, South Korea, Chong Myo is one of the most historical places where mortuary tablets of Cho-Sun dynasty are preserved and at the same time modernization of the country is postulated. Now at the front of Chong Myo, Chong Myo citizen park is the biggest meeting place for senior citizens. The project aims to grasp frictions between generations, territories, social states, and to present design proposals in forms of product, photography, essay and performance without any predetermined direction.

20 undergraduate students at Konkuk University participated in this project. Professor. Chang-Sub Oh, who is running Meta Design Laboratory, and I together supervised along the whole process.

Research Methods _ three layers of investigation

Layer 1. Secondary Research
The project started by collecting broad information around the park - history, newspaper, map and statistics - and posing initial research questions.

[geological circumstances of the park and migrations of senior citizen]

[graphical representations of questionnaire results from park visitors]

Layer 2. Observation
In order to get closer view on the socio-cultural aspects of the park, we've visited there many times. As a result, we made a culture map of the park representing how visitors enjoy the place.

[culture map of ChongMyo park]

Layer 3. Cultural Probes
How do they feel, think and dream in daily life? In order to answer the question, we used Cultural Probes developed by professor. Bill Gaver at Royal College of Art. 6 groups of students picked their own topics - ritual, style, rumor, space, time and treasure box - and toolkits which were distributed to visitors. A week later, toolkits were collected and participants were asked to explain their own toolkits.

We didn't analyze the result of cultural probes in formal ways, but most students were naturally inspired from the experiences.

[a toolkit of 'ritual' group]

[results of disposable camera]

[a result of 'treasure box' group]

>>click here to see more results of cultural probes (in Korean, PDF:21 mb.)

Students developed 18 proposals using diverse media - public furniture, installation art, essay, interactive movie, photography and performance. All the proposals purposefully ignore practical compatibility, but pose questions in viewers' mind about the park, senior citizens, and designing activity.

Example 1. Don't Touch Me - a hood for a misanthrope by Philip Don

Example 2. Color me with yours - interactive furniture by Go-Eun Park
This bench slowly matches its color to people's cloths who are sitting on it. If there were two different colors, a gradation fills the gap between them.

Example 3. Two ways of visiting ChongMyo park - photography by SunYung Park

Example 4. Interactive Stool by Rock-In Sung
The stools are placed at public space where strangers gather and chat. Each stool reacts to the weight on it. Stools in a same color are virtually connected and share their brightness. When a new person comes and sits on a stool, other people will notice it and can play with the interaction among stools.

For more information
We have made a book(in Korean) about this project. If you're interested in it, feel free to contact me, reflect9 (at) gmail (dot) com

(c) 2008 Tak Yeon Lee