REVIEW: "When The Future Ended" @ The Hite Collection, Seoul

Jul 14, 2014 3:50AM

If art is a reflection of life, an exhibition that may have passed through the general consciousness as simply “a show of emerging artists” proved a little too prescient. Two months into “When The Future Ended,” at the Hite Collection in Seoul, the South Korean ferry Sewol carrying 476 passengers—mostly high-school students on a field trip—capsized. Nearly 300 people died, becoming South Korea’s worst civilian maritime disaster in 20 years. 

The title, “When the Future Ended,” was taken from the book Precarious Rhapsody (2009), by the Italian media-theorist Franco “Bifo” Berardi. According to the book, the year 1977 marked the advent of personal computers and the growing gap between capitalism and labor. Thirty-seven years later, information technology has accelerated the economy of Korea, yet the struggles of the middle class remain largely the same. In the Hite Collection exhibition, works by 11 artists from the Millenial generation, or the “Peter Pan generation” (referred to in Korean as “’88-saedae,” “Sampojok” and “Yitaebaek”), centered around the idea that the precarious world of 1977, as seen through the eyes of Bifo, is not so different to what Korea is today.