Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Sunday in Seoul

After reading fellow blogger Joy's post about the new exhibit at SOMA (Seoul Olympic Museum of Art), I decided to override my initial reaction to the place on my first visit there, which was so unexceptional that it merited but one line in my post about the overall park experience. This was partly due to the fact that a docent (or an art student paid minimum wage) followed me around the entire museum to insure that I didn't take any photographs, and partly due to the uninteresting exhibits.

However, the featured exhibit at the moment is "iRobot", a retrospective on the use of robots in art. As something of a robot buff, this was appealing to me. Based on her post, the photography policy had been relaxed, since she has a photo of practically every installation in the museum.

Well, hats off to you, Joy! You must be really, really sneaky! I got about three photos before a young girl stepped in to warn me off taking pictures. I saw the same thing happen to Koreans with their cameras as well.

The museum has four main exhibit halls, and about half of them were really good. The contributions by Paik Nam June, probably the inventor of "video art", the use of video and motion images within everyday forms. He is famous for making robots out of radio and TV sets, and the exhibit has two or three of these, which I didn't shoot (again, see Joy's blog). I did get the permanent outdoor installation of his, below:

Some of the exhibits had very little to do with robots or robotics, the toys are pretty much old hat, and I was hoping for more interactivity, but all that being said, it's a pretty good way for a robot buff to while away an hour on a chilly Sunday in March.

The museum was fairly busy, as was the Olympic Park "Peace Plaza", where families were out in force to thaw out after long winter and ride their bikes, fly their kites, and go for a spin in these rental bike-cart things:

On the way home, I go right by Samsung station, so I got out and went to COEX Mall for some Sbarro and a visit to Bandi and Luni's bookstore. It's called the "Lake Food Court" because it's got ponds and a beach-like motif, with fiberglass palm trees and sails or something on the ceiling.

A propos of nothing, here's the sign for a PC bang inside the COEX:

This is the "Millennium Plaza", essentially a smoking area on the concourse between the subway and the COEX:

Finally, here's a shot of me behind the World Peace Gate, bookend to my previous blog post about this location:

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