In 2017, the Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art in Ansan, South Korea approached eL Seed to create an art piece in the DMZ (the demilitarised zone between North Korea and South Korea). The goal behind the commission was to celebrate a call for reunification, unity and mutual respect. My initial idea was to build a bridge-like sculptural artwork that would curve upwards to a height of 20 metres, but stop at the mid-way point. Bridges are never built from one side; their very nature needs a step forward from both sides, so by extending the sculpture to the midpoint, I was intending to make a gesture of solidarity. The project would remain unfinished until another art piece was installed in North Korea, thus making it the ultimate symbol of unification.
However, due to security concerns within the military zone, the original concept was fraught with difficulties and getting permission for it was difficult. Therefore, I proposed a horizontal laser-cut aluminium art piece installed on the fence of the DMZ instead. The art piece carries the words of Kim Sowol, a poet from North Korea who died before the country became divided:
‘You may remember, unable to forget:
yet live a lifetime, remember or forget,
For you will have a day when you will come to forget.
You may remember, unable to forget:
Let your years flow by, remember or forget,
For once in a while, you will forget.
On the other hand it may be:
“How could you forget
What you can never forget?”’
The Bridge feeds the memories of the older generations with the souvenir of one united country and is a reminder for the younger generations that there is a shared culture, language and traditions and that art can bring people and indeed, generations together, beyond political conflict.