World Script Symposia 2018
The Golden Chain

Oct 4th (Thu) –
Oct 7th (Sun), 2018  

Suseongdong Valley, Yeongchumun Gate, Ogin-dong34-1, Snagchonjae House, Space 291 (Sejong Village)

Opening Performance
2018 Oct 4 (Thu) 4:30pm
Suseongdong Valley

Opening Ceremony
2018 Oct 4 (Thu) 5:00pm
Suseongdong Valley

Closing Performance
2018 Oct 7 (Sun) 11:00am
Yeongchumun Gate

Invitation to World Script Symposia 2018

With the victory of the Candlelight Revolution, our citizens have rekindled the freedom and values of our democracy. It was through the determination of citizens alone, through their intense desire to restore our broken democratic system, that has made such an achievement possible. The process was peaceful. However, this is not the end of our achievement, but only the beginning.

Since its inauguration in 2014, World Script Symposia has hosted 4 annual festivals introducing a wide spectrum of creative practices and experiments. This year’s title and theme, “Golden Chain” represents a new turning point for World Script Symposia. Derived from sociology of religion, the Golden Chain symbolizes liberated solidarity which goes beyond the boundaries of the powerful and the weak, the rich and the poor, the public and the experts. The Golden Chain reflects the zeitgeist of today, because the only way to restore human dignity is through the noble act of human unity and solidarity.

The venue for World Script Symposia 2018 is located in Jongno-gu, the “birthplace of King Sejong, the creator of Hunminjeongeum (the Korean script).” Benefiting the people through the sharing of script and sharing of culture was the philosophy behind the creation of Hunminjeongeum. At this year’s symposia, citizens, artists and scholars will once again come together to reimagine new ways to unite and bond for a better future – on the streets and alleys of Jongno, in the heart of King Sejong’s birthplace.

Oksang Lim, President of World Script Institute

Life is becoming increasingly challenging for ordinary people. The rapid capitalization of our society has caused many complex and critical issues that lie ahead of us. Those issues particularly concern the ordinary people who lead their lives with honest and hard work. The location of World Script Symposia 2018 – Ogin-dong area of Jongno-gu district – was also affected by such changes in recent years. With the powerful forces of capitalism sweeping across the local area, ordinary people are forced to become victims and bystanders. The ghost in the name of gentrification constantly haunts us.

The Golden Chain is a term derived from the Protestantism, but aptly reflects our reality today. If the metal chain symbolized suppression and restraint, the golden chain signifies liberated solidarity that goes beyond the boundaries of the powerful and the powerless, the rich and the poor, the public and the experts. The title, The Golden Chain, for World Script Symposia 2018 was chosen to reflect the fact that the location of this year’s event, Tongin-dong and Ogin-dong in Jongno-gu, represents an intersection of our historical past and the capitalist present. Known as the birthplace of King Sejong the Great, this area was once the center of the wihang literary movement led by the commoner class of Joseon period, and has now become a booming marketplace bustling with tourists who come to visit its historical landmarks.

Hangul (the Korean script) fundamentally reflects the spirit of the15th century Joseon monarchy to benefit the people of the kingdom. Centuries later, hangul officially became the national language of the newly established the Republic of Korea after the country declared its independence in 1945. Whereas hanja (the national script of the Joseon period based on Chinese characters) only served the privileged elite of Joseon, hangul represented all sovereign citizens of the new democratic society. Script is not only the product of a nation’s social system and ideology, but also the ultimate symbol of its power and wealth.

On the other hand, the script of the artists and intellectuals serves as a self-liberating tool of the ordinary people. In this context, the script is not a privilege of the powerful elite alone, but an intellectual tool that opens the way for people to see the world through a wider perspective. Armed with artistic and intellectual imagination, their script allows them to create their own unique tool, a means of liberation that confronts and engages with their reality. This goes beyond simply communicating information and knowledge, but more importantly helping people to claim their rights in life.

For the closing ceremony of World Script Symposia 2018, a gate opening ceremony will take place at the Yongchumun gate in Gyeongbokgung Palace. Local residents, along with artists and intellectuals, will march into the palace together holding up the slogan “Script is Rupture,” in a performance symbolizing the explosive energy and determination of the citizens calling for human dignity. The performance also celebrates the script as a tool of liberation, as opposed to control, owned and established by the democratic citizens, as opposed to oppressed subjects. The event hopes to reflect the true symbolism of the Golden Chain, which signifies human solidarity and unity strengthened by the spirit and aesthetics of democracy.

Written by Ji Yoon Yang, Artistic Director of World Script Symposia 2018