Experiment on Building a New Nation outside of the Data-Digital System


“An expression ‘tal Joseon’, or ‘fleeing Korea,’ has been prevalent among young people who want to but cannot escape the country. The ‘space for escape’ ZER01NE creator project team Pink Nation set by comparing it with the concept of a nation attempts a distancing from state-led technology systems such as smart city and instead focuses on transitioning of the everyday modes of the visitors.”

ZER01NE creators seem to not fear creation. They experiment on everything and just try making anything. Consisting of the creators Kim Nahee, Oak Jungho, and Hwang Moonjung, the project team Pink Nation attempted to build a country. We asked Hwang Moonjung a hint about the project on the ZER01NE DAY.

Q. Could you give us brief introduction of the project team Pink Nation?
A. We first met at ZER01NE. Though the three of us have different backgrounds, we all are interested in narratives rather than materials and want to conduct “anti-data” activities, which are the common ground between us that allowed us to form a team. Built based on the past, data let us to predict the future to plan our lives more efficiently. Meanwhile, Pink Nation performs a project in a spontaneous and hardly-expectable direction while observing and recording various types of conflicts and a gap between the ideal and reality that occur during the process of building a nation. For this, we even purchased a piece of land located far away from an actual city.

Q. The strange combination of “pink” and “nation” arouses curiosity. Why pink?
A. For a long time the color pink has been trapped in social stereotypes such as “women’s color” or “the color of love”. Recently, however, with the concept around gender becoming flexible, we see more and more cases against the past stereotypes such as pink men’s wear. The three of us thought the change in pink’s concept over time was interesting and thought of our name as the combination of “pink” and “nation,” which coincides with our new attempt to build a nation to suggest new landscapes. It was also an important factor that pink can be hardly found in rural areas of Korea.

Q. We have heard that you started your experiment by imagining a nation 10,000 years later, which is an expression symbolizing the vast period of time. How does Pink Nation see a nation in the future?
A. When we think of a nation in the future, our imagination is often limited to images input by various media. We usually think of a high-tech nation governed by AI and data, don’t we? In the far future after 10,000 years, however, a nation could be very close to the beginning of the civilization as if a reset button was pressed. The Pink Nation is a nation that only has its territory as a frame with its content empty. We would like to let the visitors to the Pink Nation about the future we see.

Q. We would like to know how you move ahead with your project.
A. The three of us each hold separated powers and decide by holding each other in check. Every decision should be discussed by the three of us; only when a unanimous consent is reached do we act on the decision. When someone proposes a new opinion, it sometimes gets rejected by a single vote against it or gets passed through persuasion. The actual task distribution reflects the area of the works by each of us. Oak Jungho is in charge of photography and video recording, while Kim Nahee takes over video recording and editing and Hwang Moonjung installation of three-dimensional figures. Currently, the national flag and costumes for diplomatic occasions of the Pink Nation are prepared with the event to be held at the land we purchased being planned.

Q. Was there a new discovery or a change of perspective while working on the project?
A. At first, we wanted to do as much as possible for six months, a short period for completing a project. While implementing the plan for laying the foundation for a nation, however, we thought that excessive installations would affect the visitors as limitations. Based on the concept we had in mind, we decided that it would be more appropriate to build a nation that existed for a day and disappeared than a continuous one.

Q. You visited the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea on the ZER01NE field trip to Shanghai. What kind of insight did you find?
A: A visit to a foreign country makes you slowly look back on your life when you get back home. The visit to the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea changed our identity. After the visit, we reconsidered the direction of our project and obtained an idea about how we would display the result in the future.

Q. What kind of difficulties you had while working on the project so far?
A: We went on a trip to a place far away once or twice a week to find land that suit our budget and conditions. During a long trip, we held meetings to think about various conditions for building a nation. The actual process of buying the land, however, held many unexpected difficulties and problems. Sometimes a road just disappeared or a piece of land lay over a valley. A complex set of documents were required as well for purchase under joint ownership.

Q. How did you show the result of the project?
A. The result presented as two videos at large: a documentary film of the journey of searching for the land and a video of explaining the process of building a nation after purchasing the land. The national flag, costumes, and diplomatic documents of the Pink Nation displayed in a corner of the exhibition place, with a mosque with the height of four to five meters placed as a symbolic figure.