THE MU:L 2010
The Han River, or Hangang is the lifeline running through Seoul, capital of the Republic of Korea. And just as we never feel air as something ‘ fresh’ , the river does not stimulate our mind, as it has so long been part of our daily life. But when viewing the Han River however, we can get lost in thought. Just as our lives flow endlessly to places we don’ t know, the river adapts to change, it lives, dies, is reborn, and thus is a metaphor for life and time.
Before documented history, recorded in pictures and letters, the river was there, always flowing. It is in 2009 as it was in 2007. But, as Aurelius Augustinus noted, a drop of its water is not the same. River water in the present is always new, while river water in the past flows away.
Time flows, remains anew, and exists in the present, and by its movement, proves it exists within consciousness only. The temporal horizon of the past, present, and future, turns into the present through subjective correlations, recollection, intuition, and anticipation. Likewise, Augustinus classified the states of time into newness in the past, newness in the present, and newness in the future.
Similarly, according to Emmanuel Levinas, the present is always destined to die out, as it starts from itself. If the present continues to exist, this means the present maintains its existence through something prior to it, so the present cannot start from itself. Levinas explains the present’ s extinction as a fundamental form in the commencement of a subject’ s presence. The present is a moment in which the subject exists before entering into the linear relation past-present-future, and is thus understood as the achievement of the subject. In other words, I am, only through marriage with the present.
Photography captures and chronicles a moment, a split in time. The Han River, recorded in these photographs, appears as an image, or dynamic picture, reflected onto our idea of it, rather than a portrayal of the flowing water itself. These pictures momentously capture the branches, roots, and its splendid patterns, that infiltrate the flowing water. For eyes unable to capture a blooming flower, these are like magic. These photos chronicle time we could never see.
Our lives, reflected in the river, that are complex and dynamic, with joy and anger, sorrow and pleasure, full of
adolescent passion, the sereneness of a baby’ s breath, the gentleness of old age. These pictures prove our
lives are linked to the cycle of deconstruction and renewal, just like the river.
In the Han River we can find an incongruous, disorderly world, removed from the logic chains of cause and
effect. The river leads us into transient moments, arousing countless impressions and associations within its
fleeting flow. The Han River is an area of renewal and destruction, a stage where I meet myself, and confirm my existence.
We all remain alone with this river. Standing alone in front of it, flowing without intention, disappearing,
appearing, setting down, not returning, trivial and transient but endless, we witness the present absorbed in the past at every moment. But we cannot deny that these moments awaken us, here and now, moments exposing our meaningful lives, and our intuitive relation to time. Feeling of being alive within recollections of the past, intuitions in the present and anticipations of the future, while seeing the flow of time pass through us, we at last meet ourselves.