When you first think of France, what comes to mind? Although the answer can be various, no one can deny the fact that France is the city of culture & art. In Korea, more and more people are becoming interested in culture, and a lot of cities such as Seoul publish a slogan, the city of culture. However, we still have a lack of understanding it. During the winter vacation, The Sookmyung Times (SMT) went to Paris as a part of Global Explore and could feel a thorough attitude about culture.
Paris is the symbol and pride of France. This city started to develop internationally from Louis XIV and under the plan of Napoleon; today, Paris flourishes in earnest. Centering around the Triumphal Arch, Champs-Elysees avenue spreads out. Along the Seine River, numerous artistic statues, bridges, and buildings carry over. This city is full of international museums such as the Louvre, Orsay, and Rodin. In a word, the city itself is a huge museum. There are many Cultural Properties Protection Laws in France. And most of all, the law of Andre Malraux legislated in 1962 is the strongest law to protect the cultural property. Of course, the cultural properties, even the historical roads, villages and the region where treasure was buried are all designated as a protected areas. Scenic beauty of the street, heights of the buildings and styles can’t be changed without the permission of the Cultural Properties Committee. France pays attention to even the smallest details when it comes to their culture. And the attitude makes France the country of culture.
How about Korea?
Where does the high status of France’s culture come from? It comes from the active support which has been continued by the Ministry of Culture in France. France intervenes in every part for culture, including supporting funds. The Ministry of Culture in France is interested in all fields of culture contents in France, as well as museums, so it has contributed to the advance of culture and the enhancement of the people’s recognition and understanding their cultural contents in France. However, although Korea adopted the same system as the Ministry of Culture in France for the new policy of culture in Korea, Korea hasn’t met with good results in culture and art like France. Why haven’t we achieved the same results as France? First of all, in the policy of government, the policy for culture is just used for attracting interest or votes, so it is the problem that there isn’t any long-term strategy to ultimately advance the culture of Korea. Moreover, it can’t support the basis of Korean culture, which will be a foundation to make a better culture. The festivals held by the local autonomous entities are the typical examples reflecting the short-sightedness of Korean policy. Some festivals have been held as a tool to enter the political world because it can make the results for showing. They have sprung up everywhere and most of them have disappeared unnoticed for financial difficulties. Without any consideration about the background of region or the future plan, they haven’t made any help for protect the traditional culture of region and just cause the waste of budget. Also, the specific policy for the experimental artistic activities is short, although the activities need the supporting from the nation, because they can’t advance or attract audiences by themselves. By contrast, in the United States, which doesn’t intervene in culture actively, the owners of theaters make a room for the experimental performances or arts to develop the new generation of art, and it shows that Korea has managed our own culture poorly.
Korea, should go
Not long ago, many of Korea’s cultural enterprises were just focused on national projects, but recently Korea started to invest in cultural software and education with various cultural systems. However, as mentioned before, Korea brings many good systems from France, but we can’t get good result as France because art is so related to politics. Moreover, cultural policy should be culture and art’s policy, but in our society we usually emphasized enterprise culture, so culture is treated like a merchandise item. To develop our culture, we should change these circumstances and awareness. The first thing that we can do is supporting the basis of the culture: literature, music and the arts. The vitalization of creation is a foundation for developing our culture. Hence, supporting should not just stop as funding support. Government should support indirectly through setting a creation circumstance. Also, recently people can easily disseminate their own creations with digital media, so government should make research in this area and give support. Moreover, make citizens to think that they can easily participate in art and cultural activities, so that they are part of the cultural community. Lastly, we should extend the range of art and make a specialized department of culture in Korea. The thing that we brought from France is a very good system, but we can’t say it is also effective in our society. To improve Korean culture, we should redevelop the system which can correspond to our culture and make a goal to get rid of bureaucratic administration in our society.