chapter  3
13 Pages

Seoul In Motion: Urban Form And Political Consciousness

The location of colonial expositions held in the Kyoˇngbok palace, the once forbidden realm of the Chosoˇn dynasty, symbolized the presence of a new colonial order. It also inaugurated a new era for the city of Seoul, anticipating new urban models and experiences of them. Following the events, the city developed a series of unprecedented architectural and urban forms. By the 1930s, driven by the rapid incorporation into forces of modernity, capitalism and colonialism, Seoul had become like an exposition. The exposition was fused with and spilled into the world outside its gate, blurring the distinction between the simulated and the real. Despite the clearly marked boundaries between these two spaces, “The real world beyond the gates turned out to be rather like an extension of the exhibition.” Both were involved in the ordering of what Timothy Mitchell refers to as “the world itself as an endless exhibition.”1 In the world conceived as if it were an exhibition, the differences between the exposition and the city did not necessarily produce a dichotomy. Instead, the representation (of the exposition) and the reality (of the city) mutually constituted each other.