When asked ‘What kind of person are you?’, most people look for their acquaintances to get the answer. Although only they would know best about their personality and strengths, people define themselves through others’ eyes. Suppose you are given a mirror, a sheet of paper, and a pen and are placed in a solitary place with the mission of describing yourself objectively. Most likely, you will simply stare at yourself in the mirror for quite some time and write some abstract descriptions because people rarely contemplate who they are or even think deeply about themselves. However, there is one place where people can deeply think about ‘themselves’. Let’s visit Na Na Land and learn more about who you are.
Welcome to Na Na Land
According to the dictionary, Na Na Land is a world that doesn’t abide by society’s standards or others’ gaze. Na Na Land is one of the top 10 trendy words of 2019 by the Consumption Trend Analysis Center of Research Institute of Human Ecology at Seoul National University. A first-ever exhibition was held in collaboration with the aforementioned Center and Savina Museum, and its aim was at exploring changes in one’s consciousness and social phenomena after discovering one’s true self and practicing that realization. In other words, the exhibition fosters and explores Na Na Landers.
To get to Savina Museum and experience Na Na Land, take Bus 400 from the main gate of Sookmyung Women’s University, transfer to Bus 701 at Sungnyemun Gate, get off at Eunpyeong Police Station, and walk about 6 minutes. The total time will be approximately 1 hour. The museum offers a docent program each day at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. However, due to unannounced scheduling or events at the museum, if you wish to join the docent program, it is best to call in advance.
Become a Na Na Lander
The exhibition is comprised of 4 sections including 64 works by 21 artists. When compared to other exhibitions, there are many booths which visitors can take part in, and those booths are called ‘Na Na Lounge’. Also, through that lounge, everyone can be a Na Na Lander. Because the exhibition displays work done by 21 different artists, this reporter will only present a few of the works on display.
In the first section ‘Travel to Find Me: Portrait of Me and You’, visitors who aren’t Na Na Landers yet start to observe and concentrate on themselves. Among the works on display, Portrait Made by Hand by Chun Kyeongwoo is a space in which Na Na Landers describe themselves objectively on paper while looking at themselves in a mirror. The SMT reporter wrote about herself, but it was a strange and awkward experience to stare at herself in a mirror. Regretfully, she could only describe herself abstractly when compared to excellent works outside the space. In the second section ‘Find Myself beyond Stereotypes: I am I’, most of the works on display questioned common stereotypes that Na Na Landers have of themselves. The most notable piece in this section is Naming Show by Ku Hyeyoung. Most people use the name given to them by their parents and hardly question parents’ naming decision. However, this exhibition asks visitors this question and makes visitors think about their name more deeply. New names are given to visitors through a lottery drawing system. This reporter got the name ‘SeonJyak’. After passing through the first two sections of the exhibition, visitors gain the rank of intermediate Na Na Landers. In the third section, ‘We can Be our Real selves when We Are Alone: One-person System’, the focus was on the motto ‘We can see true selves when we are alone’ and aimed at independent living. One of the works in this section, Voyage by Antti Laitinen says “Making my own island is not only possession but also an illusion of freedom to leave wherever I want when I want to leave.” In other words, Laitinen emphasizes a subjective lifestyle with plenty of time to think. Especially, in this section, there is a one-person photo studio and a karaoke room. This reporter got her photo taken and sang a song alone. Through the experience, the reporter found herself soliloquizing continuously. In the final section, ‘We don’t Need Standards: Gender Neutral and Body Positive’, which is the last step to becoming a true Na Na Lander, displayed works proudly highlight appearances, races, and disabilities, which are typically considered weak or disadvantageous, through ‘Body Positive’. In addition, to break the thought that certain things are manly or feminine, artwork addresses these issues, especially the work Pink Space and Blue Space by Yoon Jeongmee. People start accepting themselves and stop trying to meet society’s standards. Through the four sections, visitors can take right step to become perfect Na Na Landers.
Ratings : ★★★★★
The exhibition’s displayed works were amazing and good to break stereotypes. They offer visitors the chance to learn more about themselves, and most of all, it was interesting to become an active part of the artwork in Na Na Lounge. This SMT reporter reflecting on herself, by comparing ideas of herself before and after the exhibition, felt she became a Na Na Lander. This SMT reporter highly recommends visiting the exhibition to find your true self. Go and become a fellow Na Na Lander!