Araon Ship Residency in partnership

Korea Polar Research Institute

2018 Review of Overseas Leisure Games

Introduction to Residence Institution

The icebreaker Araon is the first arctic research vessel of Korea which began its navigation in 2009. This research vessel which navigates across the south and north of the earth has become a big driving force for various research activities of scientists. It plays an important role of arctic research activities which have newly attracted attention today. Scientists on board Araon should imagine beyond the general time zone we live in. They are searching for bases of the environment of ancient earth crossing the time zone of 10 thousand years in short period or more than 100 thousand years in long period. They collected and analyzed material samples slept in arctic deep sea in order to study paleo-environment, paleo-ocean, paleo-climate, and paleo-geology and to establish a database. Those collected materials of ancient earth tell us the stories of situations at that time through simulation but also make a close connection chain with today's global themes such as a global warming or a climate change. Other research on the development and characteristics of resources have been in progress such as marine organism or microorganism, and gas hydrate of methane ice. Every year, few artists will board on Araon. They will be able to observe voluntarily local situation or experiments of their interest and collect materials to obtain ideas for their works.

Major activities of residency programs

(workshop, creative activities, network establishment, etc.)

The Residence on board Araon focuses on the exploration different from the general Residence of artistic creation. Each exploration toward the arctics has been in progress with a certain theme continued for several years. (The purpose of North Pole exploration on board by an author was the navigation which focused on the research of methane and corresponded to the third time among total five years of exploration period.) The main purpose of navigation was the exploration by the composed members. The navigation of about 20 days will be tightly scheduled. The navigation will begin with a science meeting at about 9AM in every morning. During the meeting, the situation of exploration in progress will be shared to all members and overseas exploration team. Detailed schedule will be coordinated. In the afternoon, an experiment will be proceeded to the changing local situation and climate condition. Even under a cold wind of North Pole, scientists and crews will wear heavy working clothes and helmets and cover their faces with wind breakers to carry out experiments all through the night. Artists may volunteer to participate as an assistant for the experiments. In general, they may search their own interest in relation to the arctic or spend time reading materials from the library provided on the ship. On the seaway to return, there will be research-related presentations by chef-level doctors of philosophy. Any artists of keen interest will obtain very useful information. As there will be no special task given to artists during the entire period, they will be able to conduct their desired creative activities freely.

  • 01.

    The icebreaker, the Araon, is South Korea's first polar probe that began operating in 2009.

  • 02.

    collect data and get ideas from works.

Residence programs and other matters

(uch as accommodation, local culture, etc.)

I had to move alone to the local boarding location in Alaska because I resided in overseas country. The boarding location was Barrow the end of the earth located at the highest latitude in the U.S. I left early after I had read a local blogger who wrote about a frequent cancellation of a plane to depart from Anchorage due to unpredictable and horrible climate. From the time when I came down from the plane and breathed the air of Barrow, a chill penetrated into lungs will be so realistic to feel the North Pole. It is not sensible to imagine why I happen to remember spontaneously of the memories of my saggy body when hot and humid air passed through my lungs in hot summer of 40 degrees Celsius in the land of Australia I stepped on 10 years ago. Or, it could be some kind of yearning I suffered in a strange land. Barrow is the place of a minus temperature throughout the year and one month without rising sun, which appeared as a rough place from the first impression different from other tourist attractions. I myself thought that I had traveled many different places, but it was quite unfamiliar to me as the appearance of the village was quite shabby and deteriorated even after the village had been built enduring the sea breeze and extreme weather of North Pole

It is quite a different place from the natural environment of the city where I have lived until now or is living. I used to live while considering properly well-decorated parks as a nature among dense buildings in the city erected consecutively in a row. The arctic village appeared as if human community owes to one side of wide untouchable giant nature. The village of Barrow clearly showed the providence of nature disappeared and recreated rather than arranged or decorated pretty. No less than whale's bones or deer's horns scattered throughout the village, old abandoned cars without wheels, remains of weathered ship for long years, and houses or well paved roads look just like a part of nature. No one can recognize such sceneries as strange or special. A stranger like me can only go around every corner of the village and obtain constant unusual feeling as if standing at the center of movie setting or installed arts. My feet were soaked with water after a long walk with such feeling. When the signboard of Osakara on the orange building caught my eyes, I walked away to find a small stand-up bar. Asian interior, green Japanese umbrellas hung on the ceiling, decoration... The owner of the bar welcomed a stranger of long forgotten days saying, "Are you a Korean?". It seems I have been again transferred to the center of somewhere in Seoul beyond time and space. I recommend to stay anywhere before or after boarding the ship. It will be another way to experience the arctic.


Even in the cold Arctic wind, scientists and crew members, wearing thick work clothes and helmets with their faces covered with wind shields, conduct experiments through the night.

Before I left, I had various imaginations about the pole while reading the reviews of the writers who participated in the event. I've seen and read Dokyu,


Having a year-round minus temperature and a month-long period of no sunrise, Barrow had a tough look from his first impression to other tourist attractions.

but how could I imagine the aurora crossing the vast sky from the deck at 4 a.m. on the 18th of the Arctic Ocean, and how can I express the details?

What do you want to say to writers interested in the residency program?

When I was selected for the Artist-in Residency Program to board the icebreaker , one of those who told me about the joyful news at first was my Japanese friend, Sho Hasegawa. We began life in Germany during a similar period and first met each other in one language center located at Berlin. The reason to talk each other in clumsy and stammering German language joyfully and to become friends was our common point to work in modern arts. It was so exciting and anticipating to visit the North Pole by the icebreaker vessel that I sent E-mail to Sho with a heart to boast as much as I could. ''Lieber Sho,,,Dear Sho." I wrote a load of pride as he was a friend I could get something out of the chest. Less than a day, he replied to me. "Hey Jaewon, I really congratulate that you can go to the North Pole…one month? I envy you really. You will travel by icebreaker indeed... However, in fact, I went to the South Pole last winter." It was an unexpected reply. He ostentatiously attached photos of the project which was conducted at somewhere of the South Pole. My friend participated in the first Antarctic Biennale held in the region of South Pole last year. Even I felt before, he was the man of quick action.

Now, let us ask questions for ourselves. Why do artists go to the North Pole? What can they do with scientists of geophysics? What does it mean for artists to exchange with new places or other fields actively? The above questions have been told and heard mostly from people around you. In fact, reflecting the past, several fields of politics, science, arts, literature, music, and poem have influenced each other naturally. For a piece of example, there is a surrealism that has received the influence of psychoanalysis to reflect the unconscious world actively on the art types to realize it. Also, when intellectuals of entire European region took a skeptical and critical attitude upon human history while going through the era of the world war, artists strictly denied and mocked at previous value or order and created the art campaign of DADA. Such artistic movement has continued its context in today's modern literature and influenced all over the territories of image medium or arts, architecture, furniture, design and fashion. Likewise, the arts have accepted other fields actively and reacted sensitively to the social change. Accordingly, I also used to meet people of other fields intentionally and habitually. Living in Germany, I had many opportunities to meet from several communities Korean researchers who were in PhD program or who had already finished the program.

It is nothing but highly joyful to exchange with various researchers of theoretical physics, psychoanalysis, cancer cell research, satellite development, mathematics, and linguistics and visit their research spaces. It actually inspires the works. I am not sure if they could also be inspired by me. I willingly drink wine with an artist uniquely known to me. The life on Araon will end in a few days. Last night, I knocked the door of one researcher to drink a glass of Soju. But I heard the same words here again. I was the first artist he ever met in his life. We had a small talk over different topics. In this way, I heard many stories of researchers for the past 20 days. Mainly, I tried to ask questions. Because for such a short time I wanted to feel the world where researchers live. There are many knowledges to contact with such as from the common sense of general geophysics, the theme and type of professional research in progress by an individual person, the operation principles and roles of machineries, the measurement of physical properties in geological layer or seawater layer, the circulation of heat or carbon in living organisms and marine environment. When I confirm sediments with my own eyes and touch them that the ship marks the coordinates to collect; and that look like the exceptionally dark blue ocean, it seems like I'm traveling in time back to the Ice Age.


Aurora appeared in the wide black air, and the colorful curves, beautiful volume, and colors of the sky were burning through the sky from the west to the east end.

The North Pole remains the same, but the impression the writer faces will be very different. I hope you will apply for this program in anticipation of the North Pole. Lastly, I will finish the review by sharing the last diary I wrote before getting off the boat.

When aurora appeared in a vast empty dark air to fill the sky with colorful curves and beautiful volume, and color sense crossing from the west end to the east end, I looked up the sky for a long time and kept taking photos even though fine ice particles mixed with harsh sea wind of North Pole were quite sharp sweeping my face. All these were the abstraction to awake five senses of an artist. It is difficult to explain logically, but it seems, those sensible experiences and stories that were told by researchers with passion across from left to right in my brain to make a sort of switching action. Abstractive work took place quite actively such that unfamiliar ideas make a connection chain in the brain to find out a relation or a pattern existing between ideas of work. When I retrospect the memories of meeting with researchers in my past life, I used to find out that I have frequently gone through similar experiences. The time on Araon has confirmed my past experiences fervently once again.

The work proceeded with a theme of sediment in the past comes to mind. At that time, my work began by some researcher's article about 'Fine Plastic Particles' roaming in the sea. I developed the work through the imagination of fine sediments and micro-plastics piled up in a deep ocean bottom. I made fine white powders through the chemical reaction with some materials that purify water from the compound of detergents used in daily life. I installed a simple machinery that generates movement to make a series of moving sculptures or a view. It is my work to learn related knowledge and ask sociological questions, and seek the concreteness of a theme, and complete the visual and sensible realization through experiments. In the meantime, there are coincidental elements that are manifested unavoidably.

These will often suggest new directivity of works. In many cases, it plays a very important role. As the icebreaker Araon marks the coordinates in endless ocean and navigates her surroundings to explore, an artist walks around the target point designated with knowledge and intuition and find his own artistic languages. Perhaps, I come to think that the cultural exchange program may have such purpose where I have participated this time. I presume that mixing two heterogeneous fields in one space, few experiences happen to mix by chance that seem never bind into one group as newness always does, won't it provide amazing insight which will lead us to a certain new world? At the end of exploration, I give thanks for I have found a clue for my new work. I expect to make such newness continuously on the research vessel of Araon.

18.09.2018. At the end of exploration

We use cookies on our websites to deliver our online services. Details about how we use cookies and how you may disable them are set out in our Privacy Statement. By using this website you agree to our use of cookies.