Beyond the DMZ and the chance to witness world history as it's happening, Korea's full embrace of its creative industries was a second motivating factor in my choice to visit the nation. As someone with a vested interest in the Arts, it is intriguing to see a government acknowledge its importance and influence in society, and actively fund it to the tune of more than 5.2 billion dollars (the second highest investor in culture after France). This does extend well beyond 'Gangham Style', of course, but k-pop is still a huge part of it. In this regard, I attended a hologram concert which was one of THE coolest experiences of my life. Photography was prohibited but this person captured and posted part of it online:
The full impact of this obviously does not come across via a low-res Youtube video but let me assure you, when the curtain rose, I swore Psy (and 2NE1 and Big Bang) were standing in front of me. I'm not sure when this technology will become commonplace in North America, but I look forward to it. It blew me away.
I also visited the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, a unique epicentre of design and the creative industries where global citizens can learn about and experience the latest trends and knowledge pertaining to the field. The fluid, ultra-modern architecture alone was stunning but the numerous art halls, design labs and experience zones situated within it's graceful curves also provided a much needed jolt of inspiration. My takeaway is that Korean design aims to be fun, fearless and revolutionary and its scene is one that will be a major global influencer for decades to come.
Samsung, one of Korea's biggest brands with over 305 billion dollars in revenue and nearly half-a-million staff, has a showcase in their head office in Gangnam. Open to the public, Samsung d'light offers hands-on interaction with their latest and upcoming products and technology – it is a digital playground for early adopters. I was greatly intrigued by their educational and home life displays, while the ultra HD 4k televisions left me in awe. I'm not really one for watching TV and playing video games, but I could have spent all afternoon doing this there.
Alas, there was so much more to see and do in Seoul.
Like go to a dog café.
Klive, the hologram concert hall, is located on the ninth floor of Lotte Fitin shopping complex in Dongdaemun, Seoul, Korea. For more information and admission prices, click here.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza is located across the street from Lotte Fitin shopping complex. For more information, click here.
Samsung d'light is located near exit 8 of the Gangnam Subway Station in Seoul, Korea. For more information, click here.