Imaginary Playground. Performance Intervention.  2016. Incheon, S. Korea.

Imaginary Playground was an experiment in redefining the lived experience of an urban landscape. The work questions the prescribed mechanisms of public space and the imaginary structures, borders and rules that shape how communal landscapes are navigated, experienced, and shared.

The intervention took place in the Jung-gu area of Incheon, a city 36 km west of Seoul. An installation of black fabric was first draped overnight throughout an area several blocks large, drawing symbolic interruptions that appropriated the existing structures, created new paths and obstructions, and at times altered how people moved and related to one another. The performance began at sunrise as the city awoke and the first pedestrians walked the streets, becoming part of the performance themselves. ‘Imaginary pedestrian’ performers arrived one by one around this time, at separate locations throughout the landscape. 

The experiment challenged existing norms through a peaceful intervention. Care was taken not to block stores or cars on the street, and not to impose on people or prevent them from doing anything they would normally do. The public’s reaction was nevertheless strong—some were indifferent, others curious, while a large amount of people were very angry, and even frightened. About 2.5 hours in, after many complaints and two police reports, the piece came to an end.

Imaginary Playground was generously supported by Incheon Art Platform and the Incheon Foundation for Arts & Culture. Incheon (KR)

Concept and Artistic Direction: Grace Euna Kim
Performers: Seo Young Joo, Chung Wan Ho, Lee Wang Soo, Shin Hye Nam, Lee Jin Won
Documentation: Seione Jieun Kim, Min Jun Gi (1984)
Production Assistants: Jee Jin Hyun, Kim Soo Hyun