Interview with a culture designer – The color of Jeju Part 1
Date of report: November 20, 2016 (Interviewed on November 19, 2016)
Culture reporter: Park So-hee
Headline: ‘Revealing true colors’ implies revealing one’s nature, i.e. identity. Therefore, the unique color of a city or a country stands for the identity of their culture.
Suffering from sprawling developing due to the sudden population influx and active real estate market, Jeju still has the magnificent Mt. Halla that has different vibes from different angles, the Gotjawal forests that are dubbed the lung of the island, the seas that glow with exotic colors, the sky that change its view every moment, more than 360 volcanic cones (oreum in the local term), and the night sky that are showered with sugary stars of mountainous villages. There is no doubt that ‘nature’ is the major source of Jeju’s tourism.
However, what captures tourists’ mind is not just the aesthetic value such as the size, vastness, shape, etc. The perfect landscape depicting all these elements is completed by ‘colors’. ‘Revealing true colors’ implies revealing one’s nature, i.e. identity. Therefore, the unique color of a city or a country stands for the identity of their culture.
Color is nothing but a physical phenomenon caused by a scattering light, not an intrinsic attribute of an object. Yet, few others are compatible with color in that it instantly stimulates our senses. One of the pioneers of abstract art, Kandinsky, who was fascinated by the symbolic colors, created his own ‘color symbol system’. Each color in his paintings shows different emotions, and he had the belief that one’s ‘soul’ is enlightened when glaring at those ‘colors’. As peculiar energies such as jubilance, explosion, liveliness, glamor, decadence, calmness, passion, insanity, youth, and encouragement encroach on our anxiety at times or uplift our emotions, his belief sounds plausible. It is no exaggeration that the unique charm of a culture depends on its color.
Jeju Island, often referred to as Samdado as it abounds with stones, wind, and women, is rich in other things, too. According to a Jeju myth, Yeongdeung Halmang, who controls winds blowing in 18,000 colors, visits Jeju every year by the time of the first day of February on the lunar calendar. Yeongdeun Halmang, who infuses all living things on earth with wind, pays a visit to Jeju holding seeds of spring flowers and seafood in her arms along with the last cold snap.
Jeju with winds blowing in 18,000 colors. Among these colors, which would be the ‘unique’ one only seen in Jeju?
Mother and son riding bikes along the trail sidelined with silver grass in fall
Fallen leaves and mushrooms
Tangerine peels sundried under sea breezes
A mid-day afternoon when squids are dried
On Buddha’s birthday, at an alley in a town of Jeju – the scenery of lotus lanterns, taken in a pitch dark alley with no streetlights
Weeds around the house, stone walls, and slate roofs