Are We Estranging the Strange?
Are We Estranging the Strange?
  • Yi Sohn Joonyoung
  • 승인 2012.10.14 00:12
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We members of the society are on an impossible mission.  In a period of time where people are identical to one another as if printed out by a machine, originality is crucial.  Thus, we stand on the edge of the cliff, not being able to go backwards onto the safe side and remain on the same as everyone else, but also not being able to take another step forward and go beyond ‘different,’ strange.  Everyone wants to be different, but no one wants to be strange.  However, here are two exhibitions that specifically require a strange mind and perspective in order to be able to fully appreciate its works: the Fun Museum and the Rolling Ball Museum.

A Counter-Clockwise Adventure: Fun Museum

Why would a clock hand turn counter-clockwise? Ask anyone who has been to the Fun Museum and they will surely reply, “Why not?” This museum is full of strange objects and nearly all of them can be held and touched by the visitors.  The Fun Museum is divided into five themes: sound, light, science, movement, and life.  According to each theme, each month the museum brings in unusual and odd objects from all around the world for display.  Creativity is the main ingredient for each and every item in the exhibition.  However, the creativity here does not merely embellish existing ideas.  The real kind is inventive, crazy and rarely ever productive.  The objects in this museum reflected these properties very well.  On a busy morning, have you ever had to fuss with your shoes because they weren’t laid in the right direction? Worry no more.  With the ‘two-way shoes’ you can slip your feet easily into them without having to check which side is the front.  What about during rough subway trips, when there is nothing to hold on to? Simply carry around the ‘portable subway handle’ to hang on any pole or bar.  You can also see many other odd inventions such as the ‘baby clothes cleaner’ which is an outfit that sweeps the dust on the floor while the baby crawls. These items may give the wrong impression.  “Why waste time to invent a silly toy?” These may seem useless, impractical and a joke, but think again.  Could it perhaps be because you are afraid to like something a little strange? Out of one hundred people, a single strange man is someone to hide from.  However, when there are a hundred strange people all in one place, strangeness becomes a norm, and from then on you start to want to be the strangest.  The Fun Museum, with all its brilliant ideas and notions, flips any existing stereotypes lying within the visitor upside down and opens up a whole new possible realm of thoughts where strangeness is the key factor.  Being creative sometimes requires a person to be slightly strange.

Beautifully Chaotic: Rolling Ball Museum

The Rolling Ball Museum is the first ever kinetic art museum to be opened in Korea.  What is kinetic art? The word ‘kinetic’ comes from the Greek word kinesis meaning ‘movement.’ Artwork which moves by itself, or have moving objects within the piece is called kinetic art.  How do they move? They move either by electric power or manually by the viewer which is how the exhibition is divided.  The cold bronze wires form the most complicated and ridiculously long path for the rolling ball to cross through.  However, its chaotic form with its twists and turns is what makes every piece of kinetic art in the museum look mysteriously beautiful.  Not a single shot on camera could catch the hypnotic flow of the rolling ball.  Once you look into one piece of art, it’s hard to stay away from it.  Also, there are corners in the museum where you can roll the balls onto miniature tracks yourself.  The visitor becomes one of the main characters of the show.  The other main characters of this museum are the artists who made all the work: Jeffrey Zachmann, Bruce Gray and Didier Legros.  Legros says, “It’s important to not lose the kid inside you.  Think simply and be plenty curious.  Our trivial imaginations and small happy moments are what complete our daily lives.” This is the main theme that unites both museums.  All the works may seem trivial, useless and strange, but by the end of the tour you will start to enjoy all its triviality, uselessness, and strangeness.  By the end of the tour, you will feel the child within you stir out of sleep.

Rolling Ball Museum
PlACE Jungdong Kyunghyang Art Hill 2F (between metro line 5 Seodaemun and Gwanghwamun station)
HOURS Weekdays- 2PM~7PM // Weekend- 10AM~7PM // (Last entrance - 6PM)
PRICE Fun Museum (A) 8,000won. Rolling Ball Museum(B) 8,000won, A+B 9,000won



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