Architects Moon Hoon designed a house in Chungcheongbuk-do, South Korea, that uses a staircase as a slide, a library and a room-divider. My goodness, it is lovely.
The basic request of upper and lower spatial organization and the shape of the site promted a long and tin house with fluctuating facade which would allow for more differentiated view. The key was coming up with a multi-functional space which is a large staircase, bookshelves, casual reading space, home cinema, slide and many more…
The client was very pleased with the design, and the initial design was accepted and finalized almost instantly, only with minor adjustments. The kitchen and dining space is another important space where family gathers to bond. The TV was pushed away to a smaller living room. The attic is where the best view is possible, it is used as a play room for younger kids. The multi-use stair and slice space brings much active energy to the house, not only children, but also grown ups love the slide staircase…An action filled playful house for all ages…
The US-Korean Free Trade Agreement came with a raft of draconian enforcement rules that Korea -- then known as a world leader in network use and literacy -- would have to adopt. Korea has since become a living lab of the impact of letting US entertainment giants design your Internet policy -- and the example that industry lobbyists point to when they discuss their goals.
One of the laws that Korea adopted early was the infamous "three strikes" rule, where repeated, unsubstantiated accusations of copyright infringement leads to whole families being punished through restriction of, or disconnection from their Internet connections. Now the Korean National Human Rights Commission has examined the fallout from the country's three strikes rules, and called for its repeal due to high costs to wider Korean society.
Here's the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Danny O'Brien with more:
The entertainment industry has repeatedly pointed to South Korea as a model for a controlled Internet that should be adopted everywhere else. In the wake of South Korea's implementation, graduated response laws have been passed in France and the United Kingdom, and ISPs in the United States have voluntarily accepted a similar scheme.
But back in Korea, the entertainment industry's experiment in Internet enforcement has been a failure. Instead of tackling a few "heavy uploaders" involved in large scale infringement, the law has spiraled out of control. It has now distributed nearly half a million takedown notices, and led to the closing down of 408 Korean Internet users' web accounts, most of which were online storage services. An investigation led by the Korean politician Choi Jae-Cheon showed that half of those suspended were involved in infringement of material that would cost less than 90 U.S. cents. And while the bill's backers claimed it would reduce piracy, detected infringement has only increased as more and more users are subject to suspensions, deletion, and blocked content.
This Wednesday, Korea's National Human Rights Commission recommended that the three strikes law be re-examined, given its unclear benefits, and its potential violation of the human rights to receive and impart information and to participate in the cultural life of the community.
Korea's three strikes rules are similar to the "Six Strikes" rules that America's leading ISPs have voluntarily adopted and just put into effect. If you want to see the future of American Internet policy, and its fallout, look at Korea.
Google Maps has added notorious, secretive North Korean prison camps to its maps of the country. The data is gleaned from user contributions, including a first-person account of Shin Dong-Hyuk, who escaped from Camp 14, a death camp where he was born and raised.
Called Map Maker, Google’s information for the country’s layout comes primarily from visitors and from former citizens who defected, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The mapping idea stemmed in part from a 28-year-old South Korean who tried to use Google maps on a trip to Laos four years ago, but found it unhelpful, at best. He ultimately helped devise the Google map application for North Korea.
“I thought if I could fill in information on North Korea, it might be useful in an emergency or tragedy if Google can provide a map for aid agencies,” the South Korean told the Wall Street Journal.
A talented Korean musical duo on their way to becoming a YouTube sensation. Video Link They're on Facebook and Twitter, here's their website, and here's their YouTube channel. (via Reddit, where there is a gross and racist comment thread so just ignore that please, thanks Joe Sabia)
CNN reports on the arsenal discovered on the North Korean assassin arrested in Seoul last year: a poison-dart pen, a pen-pistol, a flashlight-gun, and more.
Disguised to look like a Parker ballpoint pen, it contains a poison needle and is practically impossible to identify as a weapon.
The second pen shoots a poison-filled bullet which penetrates the skin and releases the toxin and the third weapon is a flashlight, loaded with up to three bullets. They all look completely innocuous but all three will kill...
That target was anti-North Korea activist, Park Sang-hak, who has since been given round-the-clock police protection by South Korean authorities. We showed Park the footage of the weapons intended for him. He was shocked.
The South Korean customs department is going to target its inspections in order to intercept shipments of Chinese quack medicine tablets made from the flesh of babies and foetuses, which are sometimes infected with superbacteria. From the BBC:
"It was confirmed those capsules contain materials harmful to the human body, such as super bacteria. We need to take tougher measures to protect public health," a customs official was quoted as saying by the Korea Times.
Inspections are to be stepped up on shipments of drugs arriving from north-east China, Yonhap news agency reported.
The Dong-a Ilbo newspaper said that capsules were being dyed or switched into boxes of other drugs in a bid to disguise them.
Some of the capsules were found in travellers' luggage and some in the post, customs officials said.
Allegations that human flesh capsules were being trafficked from north-east China into South Korea emerged last year in a South Korean television documentary.
The thing I don't get is why the rip-off artists who sell these things don't just fill the tablets with sugar and say they're full of powdered baby. It's not like the credulous dunces buying the stuff will be able to tell the difference, and surely sugar is easier to get hold of.
“Factory Girls,” a [paywalled] New Yorker piece this month by John Seabrook, explores the rise of the two billion-dollar Korean pop music industry and "its fraught entry into the Western music market" despite the YouTube-driven viral success of PSY's "Gangnam Style.”
Typical K-pop “is an East-West mash-up,” writes Seabrook. “The performers are mostly Korean, and their mesmerizing synchronized dance moves, accompanied by a complex telegraphy of winks and hand gestures, have an Asian flavor to them, but the music sounds Western: hip-hop verses, Euro-pop choruses, rapping, and dubstep breaks.”
My brother Carl Hamm, a club and radio DJ who regularly spins K-Pop nights (including one this Friday night in Richmond, VA), says, "This is one of an endless stream of articles I have read that sort of 'warns' of a pending K-Pop invasion. But the fact is, it's already happened. Not just PSY, but groups like EXO (which they mention), BIG BANG, SNSD/Girls Generation, SHinee, and 2NE1. All are well on their way to being huge over here among young American kids. And yes, the whole thing about manufactured, assembly-line personas of the artists is, for the most part, true. But despite the much-rumored dark side of this business, many of them really are gifted performers who have worked hard to reach where they are, love their fans, and enjoy what they do."
"Incidentally, Big Bang are playing 2 dates in Los Angeles and one in New Jersey this November," Carl adds. "Tickets sold out in less than 4 hours! And 2ne1 also recently played to huge crowds in the US last month. See here and here."
Colorful flags snapped in the sea breeze as more than a dozen Korean shamans, dressed in bright colors, danced and chanted prayers in front of a huge cow's head stuck to a trident.
The ceremony on a ship was designed to exorcise demons that threaten fishermen and bring good luck to everybody on board. The presence of several hundred spectators underlined how the ages-old trance rituals were going strong again, having been shunned as recently as 30 years ago.
"People are trying to understand more, learn more, and see more. They are very interested in this," said Kim Keum-hwa, one of South Korea's most famous shamans, who led the ceremony.
Though an ancient practice, Korean shamanism - in which singing and dancing are used in trance rituals addressed to specific gods, often to get an answer to specific questions - had long been suppressed in Asia's second most Christian nation.
Christians attend a prayer meeting being held as they pray to stop the concert of Lady Gaga, at a church in Seoul April 22, 2012. The Christians blame Lady Gaga for promoting indecency and "homosexual love." Gaga performed live in Seoul today, despite the incantations. Below, her performance during the MTV Video Music Aid Japan event in Chiba, near Tokyo, last year.
Seoul's Leeum Samsung Museum of Art is exhibiting Do Ho Suh remarkable "Home Within Home" until June 3. Suh's piece consists of several large-scale hanging fabric recreations of the houses he's inhabited.
An important characteristic of Suh’s “homes” can be found in the fact that they respond to the spaces in which they are exhibited and by doing so, bring about new interpretations to them. His artistic attempts in the unique Rem Koolhaas-designed architectural space at Leeum are especially remarkable in that light. Suh installed Reflection near the sloping passageway that leads to the exhibition galleries so that the work can serve as an introduction to the exhibition. In the Ground Gallery, he also built a home out of a soft, light, and translucent fabric that stands in a stark contrast with the almost overwhelming space made out of concrete. Suh first received wide attention from the international art world with a work in which he recreated, using thin jade-toned Chinese silk, the traditional-style house (hanok) in the Seongbuk-dong neighborhood of Seoul where he spent his childhood and adolescence. In addition to this work, titled Seoul Home/Seoul Home, he also presents in this exhibition other homes he has had in New York and Berlin. Through their placement in a museum, these private spaces become spaces for others that are open to interpretation through viewers’ experiences.
The Black Box, an especially distinct feature of the Koolhaas building, is like a “home within home” that floats inside the enormous space of the architecture. By placing two works, Fallen Star-1/5 and Home within Home-1/11, together in this space, Suh draws out an interesting conversation. Specifically, Fallen Star-1/5 expresses the emotions the artist experienced while living as a foreign student in the United States through the form of a hanok that fell and crashed into an American apartment building. On the other hand, Home within Home-1/11, taking the form of a hanok lodged inside an American house, represents the state of becoming gradually familiar with a new culture. While works like these grow out of the artist’s private experiences of cultural collision, they also symbolize more broadly the experience of the contemporary being, who constantly experiences clashes arising from individual, cultural, and regional “differences” and struggles to adapt to them. In A Perfect Home: The Bridge Project (Leeum Version) and Gate (Leeum Version), also installed inside the Black Box, Suh tries to give new meanings to “home as both boundary and passage.”