Kwangjoo is Impeaching

Kwangjoo is Impleaching

(video, single-channel, 2005, 1hour 27min)

This work is to juxtapose the various form of mediation from the one historical event according to the linear timeline. The public memory of the incident is formed and molded with mediated images and languages.

In May 1980, there was a student massacre in Kwangjoo South Korea by a military government backed up by the U.S government.

Right after the incident, the government prohibited showing the image from the incidents, pictures, films, and videos or even mentioning it publicly until 1997 when the military regime had ended.

The government arrested a huge number of the student protestors, tortured them, and tried to uproot the protest groups from South Korea.  The total number of the arrested students rose up to a massive number.

When the military regime ended, they burned the document about this incident for several nights.

Because of this interception of information by the government, most South Korean people have misunderstandings about this incident. Even after the information was released by the new government, people’s impression of the incident didn’t easily subvert since the old image created a strong image in the people. The time passed, the importance of the incident became weaker than right at the time. However since the government pressure on the incident was released, it started to make an appearance in public media in various forms.

Here I could see the historical tragic event became popularized yet its form is consumptive melodrama, which is historicized and nostalgic at the same time.

<Various mediation in relation to the incident according to timeline>

1.“Kwangjoo is impeaching” (1980, Documentary/ Film, 20min)

“Kwangju is impeaching” (20min) was made by a North Korean institution in Japan in 1980. In the North Korean community in Japan, this documentary film was shown right after the incident and praised as a very important film.

2. “Kwangjoo Democratic Uprising” (late 1990’s, Documentary/ Video)

This was made by the South Korean democratic foundation in the late 1990s. The related document was released by the government in 1997. It was 17 years after the incident. The original format was CD-ROM.

3. “Pepper Mint Candy” (2000, Film/ Drama, 130min)

It is a film made by Changdon-Lee in 2000. The protagonist was a soldier at the incident. He was serving as a mandatory service obliged to every Korean man. He injured his foot and accidentally killed a schoolgirl. After the event, his life begins to degrade as he suicides in the end.

4. “5th Republic” (2005, TV Soap Opera, )

The Soap Opera, “The 5th Republic” was broadcasted in South Korea

from April to September 2005 on MBC (Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation.)

In this part, the whole events of the Kwangjoo massacre are dramatized and woven as popularized version, based on actual events and people. This was the first time, a popular TV station made a video drama about the Kwangju student massacre.

Kwangjoo is Impeaching, a full movie,  1 hour 27min

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