Reading Urban Common Cultures through Narrative Movies


The film <Cleo From 5 to 7> (Agnès Varda, 1962) was shot in Paris, <Taxi Driver> (Martin Charles Scorsese, 1976) was filmed in New York while <Chungking Express> (Wong Kar-Wai, 1994) was filmed in Hong Kong and <The Chaser> (Hong Jin Na, 2008) was shot in the northern part of Seoul, Korea. Can you imagine these films being made in other places than the city where these films are shot? The film <the Host>by Joon-Ho Bong

begins with the contaminated setting of Seoul's top-ranked shared resources, called the Han River, and develops in the background of typical underground facilities and spaces such asthe terrace land on the river, bridges and sewers. These stories of films are closely linked to the background of the city. Not only physical characteristics such as urban spatial structure and building style, but also unique residential style or shared culture that has been formed for a long time tightly permeate the story, conveying the unique appearance and atmosphere of each city to us.
The ‘Imminent Commons’, the theme of the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, seeks to approach architecture and city from the perspective of life occupying those spaces rather than paying attention to the morphological beauty of the architectural environment. That is to say, specific stories of life are important. In this sense, the above-mentioned films are very interesting objects as they directly illustrate the correlation between the physical environment and the story of life when trying to understand the various urban cultures and shared aspects of the world in detail. In this lecture, we will read the unique history, environment, and shared culture of cities such as Seoul, New York, Paris, London, Rome, Mumbai and Johannesburg through the selected films.

Won-joon Choi

Won-joon Choi is a professor of architecture at Soongsil University, teaching the history of architecture, theories and design. He earned his bachelor’s in architecture and masters and doctoral degrees in architecture history and theory from Seoul National University. After working at OROJE, the architectural firm of architect H-Sang Seung, he conducted postdoctoral researchas a researcher at the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. He is participating in construction of archives for modern and contemporary architecture atMokcheon Architectural Archive and now curator of Movie Image Program for the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism. He co-authored<Young Architects Award 2013>(2013), <Korean Architecture Concept Dictionary> (2013), <Convergent Flux>(2012), and <Records of Modern Architecture in Korea - Mokcheon Architecture Archive>(2013-) series and organized <Sections of Autonomy: Six Korean Architects>(2017) exhibition.