News From Nowhere: Freedom Village

News From Nowhere: Freedom Village. 2021. 2 channel HD Film. 14 min. 35 sec.

MMCA Installation View

This video, which features a character living in Freedom Village and a future character who comes, by chance, to learn about the life of the former, portrays a distorted world, transcending time and space and created by contradictions in human thought and systems.

Formed through the folding of space and time, this work relegates the present to the past and ushers in a virtual future, offering a glimpse of an unrealistic reality. By organically binding together the fact and fiction of the actual Freedom Village and its imaginary counterpart, and flitting back and forth across the boundary between the two, the work opens formerly closed and suppressed gateways of perception. Functioning as a useful tool for showing perspectives of reflection and introspection on the systems and society we have created, the work evokes and agitates things that had seemed fixed and unchanging, or that were so familiar as to appear permanently embedded. It is a space of metaphor and a horizon of imagination, inducing the intervention of new thought.

This work is a two-channel video sound installation, consisting of video played on two large LED panels, seven-channel surround sound (including sound carefully installed in the exhibition space and linked to the video footage, and real sounds of knocking on the exhibition venue floor, walls and installations), ceiling lights turning on and off in connection with the video, and an automatic shutter opening and closing device synchronized with some moments in the work. The film was screened in the second half of 2021 at MMCA, Seoul.

Screen A - 32-year-old male. A was born in Freedom Village and has never left. To him, the village is both the center and the end of the world. When not farming, he spends the rest of his time collecting and studying wild plants in and around the village. This began as a hobby but has now become the most important part of his life. Books of plants that grow only in Freedom Village, and each of their characteristics, arranged and illustrated with his outstanding miniatures, are his most prized possessions.

Screen B - male, seemingly in his late teens or early twenties. B knows neither how he ended up in Freedom Village, nor who his parents are. It’s as if he was planted as a seed there and cultivated. All food and items that he needs to live are sent to him by The Company. Sometimes, he looks out through the window and asks questions about why he exists and why he is in the village, but he can’t find the answers anywhere.

Then, one day, a plastic balloon sent by A arrives in the place where B lives. With no way of knowing why or how this object has reached him, B is plunged into deep confusion. His daily life threatens to fall apart. After several days spent simply staring at the balloon, he finally plucks up the courage to take out its contents. From then on, B keeps on receiving balloons from A. The plant specimens and writings about Freedom Village that they contain make B curious about A and the place where he lives.

Actor A: Park Jungmin
Actor B: Jinyoung