Returning to Seoul after 100 days of backpacking in India and Nepal, I realised there are a lot of neon signs on the streets of Korea. Korea, especially Seoul city has a vibrant night culture. So many artificial lights light up the streets 24 hours, it doesn’t matter how late you stay out.
South Korea achieved huge economic growth after the Korean war, which may make it seem like a new born country from an outside viewpoint. But the leap brought social problems as well. The rapid growth made existing industries obsolete, and influenced the younger generation but not so much the older generation – creating a cultural divide. I thought it’s similar to the neon signs – existing neon signs have been driven out to the red light districts by newer LED signs, and this served as an inspiration for this work. The words in neon; New, Korea, Arirang (a traditional song famous in Korea), Luxury, Karaoke, Motel, make people feel nostalgic, but also uncomfortable.
I shot the neon signs at night and created motion graphics with the footage using After Effects. I framed everything with a circle as it was going to be projected on circular object. The circular frame also served to make the video feel more dense and cramped, like the real entertainment districts they were from. My friend helped by composing music to match the mood of the streets.