The poignant expressions—“We are all the Sewŏl ferry” and “We are all sunken deep under the sea”—characterize the Sewŏl ferry incident as a metonym of the collective death under the capitalist democracy in South Korea. This talk focuses on the five-year-long occupy struggle to uncover the truth of the disaster in Kwanghwamun Square, Seoul, especially the Yellow Ribbon Workshop and its pursued autonomy from the 416 United that oversaw the occupy site. I conceptualize the workshop's hand-making and free-sharing of yellow ribbons—the symbol of the disaster—as a play that breaks the dictatorship of consumption and organizes a new social life. In critique of the statist-juridical order, workshop participants take on a rhizomatic character, such as indiscipline, non-cumulative relationship, and cellular participation. I contrast this play with the dark tourism, while interpreting it as an alternative to the proliferating healing industries and cultures.
Hyun Ok Park is Professor in the Department of Sociology at York University.
This event is co-sponsored by the East Asian Studies Center.