No Longer Gagok: Room 5↻

Park Minhee . 박박parkpark . Seoul . South Korea

Dazzling Interludes of Sound. A Promenade Concert through Korea’s Past

A long corridor fills with the sound of singing from neighbouring rooms. One voice interweaves with another, a new timbre is created – only to disappear again. Singers and audience members cross paths in the rooms of an abandoned building, sharing the moment and the music. 

In this place, where the bustle of daily life ceased long ago, Korean gagok singing has travelled to us across centuries and continents to take on a new, contemporary form. Minhee Park, an accomplished gagok singer, will perform this traditional vocal music, which is similar to the Western song cycle, within a new framework. Caught between listening and passing by, between distance and presence, between the alien and the intimate, the music will reveal its unique poetry inside these austere rooms.

Website 박박parkpark

Watch the trailer

Conceived and directed by Park Minhee Performed by Ahn Yiho (Pansori) . Jeong Eonjin (Performance) . Kim Heeyoung (Gagok) . Lee Kipum (Gagok) . Park Minhee (Gagok) . Yun Jaewon (Performance) Composition of the Song for Room No. 3 Ahn Yiho . Park Minhee Stage Manager Kim Sangyeob Project manager Yi Cecilia Soojeong Co-produced with Festival Bo:m

Within the framework of Our Common Futures supported by the German Federal Cultural Foundation

Rosenstraße 6

15.06.16:00 Uhr / 16:20 Uhr / 16:40 Uhr / 19:00 Uhr / 19:20 Uhr / 19:40 Uhr

16.06. - 17.06.19:00 Uhr / 19:20 Uhr / 19:40 Uhr / 20:00 Uhr / 20:20 Uhr

18.06. - 19.06.16:00 Uhr / 16:20 Uhr / 16:40 Uhr / 19:00 Uhr / 19:20 Uhr / 19:40 Uhr

AdmissionAdvance booking 18 Euro . Evening box office 20 Euro
ConcessionsAdvance booking 9 Euro . Evening box office 10 Euro
Duration30 min . no interval
LanguageKorean . partly with German and English surtitles

Not accessible for wheelchairs
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<가곡실격: 방5↻>

<가곡실격>은 전통가곡(歌曲)이라는 특정 음악 장르의 메타포라고 할 수 있다. 가곡 이수자인 박민희가 음악과 안무를 맡아 2013년 창작한 <가곡실격>은 시와 목소리, 그리고 안무가 하나의 뿌리에서 출발하고 있다. 작품은 환영과 환청같은 시청각 이미지들과 신체 언어를 통해 시를 쓰는 또 다른 방법을 보여준다. 여기서 신체 언어란 단지 안무된 움직임을 말하는 것이 아니라 목소리와 공간의 관계를 관객들이 입체적으로 체험하도록 하는 소통의 방법론이다. 구획된 객석과 객석 사이를 방향성 없이 유랑하는 목소리는 관객을 내밀한 소리의 물성을 만나는 심리적으로 경험으로 초대한다.

<가곡실격: 방5↻> 가곡의 음악적 형식을 공간 구조화하여 공간과 배치와 소리의 원근감, 그리고 7개의 개별적 공간에서 콘텐츠와 관객이 1:1로 관계를 맺는 방식을 통해 가시화했다. 2014년 페스티벌봄과에서 공동제작/초연했다.
가곡은 시다. 시를 감상하기 위해서는 갖가지 비워냄이 필요하다. 그 비움의 예로는 공간, 시간, 마음 등을 들 수 있을 것이다.   
가곡의 목적은 은근한 침투이다. 가곡은 가까이, 더 가까이 들여다 볼 때 발견되는 아름다움을 가졌다. 은근하게 깊숙이 들어와 흔들릴 때 비로소 예쁘다. 그런 순간에 가곡은 작용한다.
가곡은 순환한다. 시간과 사람으로 순환한다. 이 곡은 저 곡으로 순환한다. 그렇게 순환하다 보면 중요하다 여겨졌던 것들은 전부 사라지고 하나만 남는다. 그 하나는 그것을 느끼는 저마다 다르다.

 가곡*(歌曲)은 우리나라 고유의 정형시를 노래하는 성악곡으로 18세기 풍류방에서 성행했다. 그 원형에 대한 연원은 고려시대로 소급한다. 남녀창이 교창하며 연창되는 양식을 갖고 있다. 연창할 때에 각 곡이 연결되는 방식은 그 각각의 조성과 빠르기 장단(리듬) 등 규칙에 의해 이루어진다. 각 악곡들 또한 5장 구조 안에서 엄격한 형식을 가지며 시어(노랫말)와의 결합마저 특정한 방식을 따른다. ‘형식미'라는 말이 가곡의 대표적 설명으로 사용될 만큼 구조적인 성악곡이다. 

Interview with Park Minhee

What is Gagok?
Gagok is Korean traditional vocal music using odes as its lyrics. It’s believed to originate from the 15th century, but classical Gagok became a representative art genre of the upper class and the royal family since the 18th century. The music contains the artistic character of Seoul, the capital; emphasizing the aesthetic of formality and the structure.

How is it traditionally performed?
Originally Gagok was sung in a salon where nobles and their friends used to gather and play music, but from the beginning of the 20th century Gagok adopted the western theatre form which has a clear border between the stage and the auditorium. Although, singers and musicians remain their position sitting on the floor as traditional way. The singer is accompanied by three strings (Gayageum, Geomungo y Haegeum), two flutes (Daegeum and Piri) and a percussion (Janggu).
The most important thing in Gagok performance is “Moderation”. The singer in a traditional costume, is not allowed to move hands or head, shouldn’t open the mouth wide; but keeps the sitting position without any facial expression controlling emotion as much as possible. 

How do you see Gagok today?
There were huge gaps between when I first discovered Gagok as a child and when I started singing and performing it. I learned that Gagok wasn’t just the musical form but that the form of the actions themselves, such as "not moving or smiling," also contributed to the unique sense of beauty in Gagok. But witnessing how this sense of beauty is not properly conveyed in Gagok performances today, and how the significance also seems to be waning, I started to question whether it was always this mediocre. 

What do you then mean by ‚No longer Gagok’?
If the performance of Gagok in a theater is in some senses an error of the era, then should there not be a way in which Gagok can be better performed? Is todays performance of Gagok authentic? No Longer Gagok references a voluntarily loss, of this form - it contains a determination to abandon an existing form to try something different.

How did your work on No Longer Gagok begin?
While studying traditional music, there was a principle that I could not doubt, that I had to protect. It had to do with how Gagok had to be elegant, and that to protect this elegance one could not sing it anywhere. There was a moment in my mid-twenties when all that came crashing down. It was when I started to think that elegance came not from form, but from the beliefs and philosophies, and intellectual depth of the performer. One day I was at a cafe with my friends and someone requested that I sing for them. It wasn’t a standard stage performance, but I really enjoyed singing for my friends, who were curious about my music, putting every ounce of strength I had into the song. Given how much I love Gagok, it shouldn’t be surprising that I’m passionate about having it heard properly, and so this was when I began to think that the best way for this to happen was if it was performed closer to the audience. To be more precise, I think I can say that I wanted to see the music heard without any misunderstandings; there are so many misunderstandings on a stage. Whenever I would hear from my teachers that "Gagok is good, and it is something that must not disappear," I could never wholly understand, because you can’t convey how good it is simply on the strength of authority; I felt the need to find another way of conveying how good it was. 

What is your motivation for your continuous work on Gagok? Are there any other questions you want to try and answer through Gagok?
My previous stubbornness regarding Gxagok wasn’t just because I simply liked Gagok. It was also because I believed that, given that Gagok was something that contained the essence of an era, even by asking questions about it I could achieve a lot. The modern history of our country is about moving forward rather than asking questions about the past. As a result of this history there are so many people, spaces and regions that, like Gagok, haven’t quite found a place. Gagok seems to me like the crystallized remains of everything abandoned and disregarded after the period of Japanese colonial rule in Korea. So, in that sense, I believe that questions about Gagok can also be questions about our society today and questions about capitalism. And in the 21st century, when capital has become both religion and god, and when personal tastes are becoming annihilated by a lack of individual personality, actively creating small-scale performances is, for me, a way of asking questions about what’s happening.