Tuesday, March 06, 2007

(If Free Use Is Wrong)
I Don't Want to Be Copyright

Kind of interesting, imho -- the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has opened a website full of items whose copyrights have expired, and so are available for free use. Literature, music, art, just oodles of interesting stuff. The Ministry claims over 10,000 works will be available at first, with more to come, although I have not tried counting. It is all in Korean, but even blind clicking can turn up some interesting artworks (try poking around this area).

As I have mentioned before, the Ministry of Culture is currently pushing "Han Culture" (traditional Korean culture) as a way of moving the Korean Wave to a second phase, beyond just pop culture. I am pretty ambivalent about this idea for many reasons... I mean, I like the idea of better presenting traditional Korean culture. But I have doubts about how receptive the world will be on a popular level to this campaign. And I am in general skeptical anytime governments get involved in culture.

Instead of creating a new campaign, I would be much happier if the government just cleaned up its existing palaces (get rid of the linoleum and mold and put in real traditional paper floors) and created interesting brochures and audio tours (written and performed by professionals... not some vice-minister's niece or whatever). Or give Ryu Seung-whan a few dollars to set his new violence fest in the Chosun Dynasty, that could be fun.

Sure, Korean culture has a lot of great stuff -- but so has Thai culture, and Mongolia, and Kenyan, and Maori, and... and... and....

Point being, if you want to raise your profile and become significant to the world, you need to present works that capture people's imaginations. You cannot just sit back and expect the world to come to you and love you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm also not sure if the government is taking the right steps to promote Korean culture. I am sure in the times to come if they go on like the way they do now, it will put off many people. Take Arirang for example. It is just like a Communist Chinese Propaganda Channel - self sentered and ignorant. The only part you understand from that Arrirang is that Korea is attempting to tell the rest of the world that Korea is the most advanced and most cultured and most tolerant and... well, the best in the world. May be some of those are true but this is not the way to present it. There are more subtler ways to do it. Recently on Arrirang I saw a program about 24 hours in Seoul. The presenter walks about in a posh street and says - "Did you know that Seoul is one of the most beautiful cities in the world" Come on girl, you just killed it right there. The presentation showed only the cleanest, the richest and the most beautiful parts of Seoul. Isn't that lying? What is wrong with showing a more dirtier area? Why did they only have to show people drinking beer and wine and not soju? Isn't that lying? I love Seoul, I love seoul more than many other places in the world but I love Seoul not because it is the best and the cleanest in the world. I love it for how different it is from Paris or London or New York or even Tokyo for that matter.