CICI Forum: Guy Sorman considers presidential office move “positive”

SEOUL, Aug. 25 (Yonhap) — Guy Sorman, an internationally renowned French intellectual, on Thursday gave a very positive assessment of the Yoon Suk-yeol government’s decision to move the presidential office to Yongsan and the former presidential compound Cheong Wa to open. Dae to the public.

“It’s a great positive choice,” Sorman said in a keynote address from New York via video at the Cultural Communication Forum (CCF), hosted in Seoul by the Corea Image Communications Institute (CICI). “In all democracies, the presidential office is in the center of the city, such as in Paris, Washington, Berlin and London,” he noted, also emphasizing the symbolic value of what was created with the former presidential office Cheong Wa Dae , which he described as an “imitation of a Chinese palace”.

Under the theme of “Space and Cultural Communication”, the 13th edition of this annual conference brought together both online and in person great masters of space and experts in cultural communication such as Sorman, Jean-Louis Cohen, architect and French architectural historian, David-Pierre Jalicon , also a French architect who heads DPJ & Partners, Architecture, Yoo Hyun-joon, Professor of Architecture at Hongik University, and Katrina Sedgwick, Director and CEO of Melbourne Arts Precinct Corporation.

It was an opportunity to reflect on the influence of space, real and virtual, in cultural communication, a theme at the heart of a major debate currently underway in the country as South Korea looks at how Cheong Wa Dae can be transformed. Since opening to the public on May 10, the compound, which housed the president’s office and residence for 74 years, has become one of Seoul’s most popular tourist attractions with more than 1.4 million visitors.

On the future of Cheong Wa Dae, architect Jalicon said it is the location that is important and not the building itself, because the location has a “history”. It was the backyard of the royal palace of Gyeongbok and a link to Mount Bukhan, he recalled before proposing to “connect the Gyeongbok Palace with Mount Bukhan” and keep the place as a “bet in the abyss of modern Korean society”, where people can reflect on their history and the value of this place.

Professor Yoo, on the other hand, suggested turning it into a forward-looking place where new content would be created, such as a shared office where young people can set up new businesses, and Lee from Designhouse expressed his hopes. a metaverse, a space that young people can build.

Sorman has also repeatedly emphasized the importance of “connecting past and present” and “connecting contemporary Seoul with the past” to ensure “continuity from century to century”, citing one of the finest examples: the Cheonggye River Restoration Project led by former president Lee Myung-bak (2008-2013) when he was mayor of the capital (2002-2006). “The transformation of Seoul as a space is not just about architecture, but also connecting it to history,” he said.

For him, the new Seoul City Hall was another successful project, as it links Korean civilization to its tradition through its completely transparent appearance as a symbol of South Korea’s democratization and because it has preserved the Japanese building that was built in colonial times. built but part of Korea’s history, despite the controversy it created as a symbol of colonization and imperialism.

The forum also looked at the changes the new coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has brought about in our relationship with space. On the one hand, it has accelerated the digital transition with the emergence of new forms of space such as the metaverse and, on the other, it has emphasized the importance of real space in our sensory and cultural experiences.

Contrary to many observers’ predictions that the pandemic will wipe out or render obsolete cinemas, theatres, museums and bookstores, we can observe the “return to space” and the “newly discovered dimension of space in our culture and communication”, remarked Jean. -Louis Cohen.

To cite examples that illustrate this return of cultural consumers or participants of culture to real space, the architect and historian spoke about the great success of the exhibition of the Morozov collection that earlier this year sent one of the largest numbers to the Louis Foundation Vuitton drew from visitors among contemporary or modern art exhibitions held in Paris, as well as unprecedented numbers of tourists in Europe and North America that reflect “people’s desire to have a real relationship with cities and landscapes and not that through the screen.” “.

The best digital image viewed through screens or electronic devices cannot provide the artistic “textual pleasure” that a real painting offers with all its rich textures and colors, Cohen noted, adding that the architectural walk cannot be reproduced. , not even with the best 3D glasses or any augmented reality, as it involves “the movement of the body as important as the movement of the eyes”.

“In short, the space provides a multi-sensory experience, an experience of scale, distance, culture, sound and smell that cannot be matched in any other way. The space allows communication and interaction between people, as well as the discovery of diversity, diversity of classes, races, genders, nations,” he concluded.

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