Photographer catches Seoul’s artificial mountains

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Plush green pine trees are thickly planted on rough slopes outside a transcending loft obstruct in Seoul. They look like South Korea’s acclaimed Dodamsambong Peaks, however are only a small amount of the size.

This beautification pattern, known as “jingyeong sansu,” tries to reproduce the nation’s most well known mountains – on an a lot littler scale – outside extravagance high rises and private estates.

The artificial mountains are worked by land designers wanting to improve the buildings’ feng shui – and advertise esteem. A few inhabitants likewise accept that they bring the mending intensity of nature to their front entryways.

Seoul-based picture taker Seunggu Kim has been catching these eccentric structures since 2011. In that time, he has visited around 30 high rises fitted with self important shake gardens and tree-secured slopes.

Having spent his 20s taking a shot at building destinations, Kim was frequently among the primary individuals to observe the months-long procedure of recreating the nation’s best known mountains.

Laborers first form a fundamental Styrofoam shape, which is verified nearby the loft square, he said. At that point they spread it with soil, before planting blossoms and trees.

The structures are frequently joined by inscriptions depicting the positive vitality every mountain is thought to bring, from richness and goal to significant serenity.

“I realized this is not just an artificial landscape but a new environment that combines tradition and philosophy,” Kim said in a telephone meet. “It is interesting to see how capitalistic it has become.”

The mountains’ indulgent sticker price – up to $2 million for a plan up to 20 meters tall – mean they are commonly found in extravagance high rises. Just top notch materials are utilized, including costly shakes and bonsai, and every mountain is kept up by a group of specialists.

Extraordinarily Korean

Mountains spread around 70% of the Korean promontory and are a basic piece of Korean personality. The legendary story of Korea’s establishment starts in the Taebaek mountain go.

As indicated by Korean legend, Hwan-ung slipped from paradise and was drawn closer by a bear that needed to be a lady. Hwan-ung advised the bear to eat garlic and herbs for 100 days in a cavern. It worked, and the bear-lady later wedded Hwan-ung and brought forth Dangun, who established the realm in 2333 BC.

While many believe the legend to be a fantasy, North Korean archeologists professed to have discovered Dangun’s grave at the foot of Taebaek mountain close to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, and fabricated a sepulcher at the site in 1994 to love him.

Today, mountains on the two sides of the outskirt among North and South Korea are accepted to bring karma and fortune. The two nations commend the establishment of Korea – the day the sky opened to Hwan-ung – on October 3 consistently.

“There’s a positive and shamanistic belief towards mountains in Korea, so it’s like compressing it and bringing it back into a city where there is lack of nature,” said Kim. “My work is to discover Korean landscapes that still exist in modern society.”

A portion of the more mainstream structures are Mount Seorak, in the Taebaek mountain scope of Gangwon area, and Jeju Island’s Halla, the nation’s most elevated mountain.

Mount Kumgang in North Korea is likewise prevalent, as South Korean travelers have been not able visit the genuine article since 2008, because of political strains.

Back to nature

The ubiquity of counterfeit scenes recommends that occupants are attempting to fortify their bond with nature following quite a while of quick urbanization. It’s this endeavor to reconnect that Kim tries to catch in his photographs, as per guardian Haeni Park.

“Through his work, Kim reveals his understanding of the reality of our society, where people living in cities that can be rather bleak actually take solace, if only for a moment, from the colorful artificial structures,” she wrote in her curatorial explanation for Kim’s 2015 presentation “A List of Landscapes.”

For Kim, this simulacrum of nature comes as mo shock, given the nation’s topographic constraints.

“South Korea has developed a compressed throwaway culture, as we have relatively good amount of resources but not enough time and space to spend (them),” said Kim. “(The fake mountains) represent an alternative landscape that city-dwellers had to accept.”

Finding joy

Kim has photographed similar structures over numerous years so as to watch occasional changes in their shape and shading. He at first observed “kitsch” scene design as one of the manifestations of quick financial development in South Korea. Yet, he has since developed to value the mountains’ excellence and the “healing” impact they have, he said.

“Sometimes when I am out there photographing fake hills, old residents come up to me and explain the significance of the mountain with so much pride, as if they are real and they own it,” the picture taker reviewed. “I found that sense of ownership very unique.”

Kim said that, today, individuals have needed to discover elective approaches to appreciate nature and unwind. He calls it “instant culture,” and it’s the more extensive subject of his long lasting endeavor to catch how South Korean urbanites manage their “relentless desire to find joy in the toughest times.”

His other continuous arrangement on life in South Korea’s urban areas highlights pictures of residents endeavoring to stick onto their relaxation spaces – paying little mind to what else is going on -, for example, a man strolling his canine beside an overwhelmed park and a jam-stuffed pool in Seoul.

Kim considers himself to be an eyewitness or recorder, instead of a artist. He trusts his photographs offer a sensible delineation of South Korea’s free enterprise society.

“I want to reveal the identity of modern Korea — an ironic, optimistic and joyful Korean society, and its twisted consumer culture.”

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Blanca Journal journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.