To promote Korea’s publishing culture to the world, the SIBF strives to get Korea invited as a guest of honor at international book fairs.
Such programs not only feature publishing and copyright exchanges but also demonstrate a nation's economic, political, diplomatic, and cultural competence.
Publishers that produce books, writers who create content, artists, scholars, and cultural and diplomatic institutions all work together
to promote Korea’s books and culture and arts. During this process, Korea and a book fair's host country conduct material and immaterial exchanges,
sharing ideas as well as sentiments.
|Human & Humanity
|26 - 29 September, 2019
|Swedish Exhibition and Conference Centre
|Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Publication Industry Promotion Agency of Korea, Naver
|Literature Translation Institute of Korea, Publication Industry Promotion Agency of Korea
Why the “Human” Today?
As Guest of Honour of the Göteborg Book Fair 2019, Korea wishes to discuss something that is both the oldest and newest of themes: humankind. Korea is considered a preeminent example of a country that rapidly achieved accelerated modernization. It possesses the world’s top level of information technology. Its popular culture—as exemplified by K-pop—is actively penetrating global markets. As much success as they have had, Koreans have posed just as many questions to themselves about the possibilities and limitations of humankind.
With the Göteborg Book Fair 2019, Korea hopes to share these questions with Sweden and the rest of the world. Through various books and works of literature that pose profound questions about humanity, scholars and readers from Korea and Sweden will be taking part in a shared discussion. During this occasion, we will come to share the efforts by writers to transcend oppression between human beings and discover humanity in its stead.
As Guest of Honour, Korea plans to share an exhibition, seminar, and culture and arts programs including new media, technology, and content on the themes of “human” and “humanity”. In the process, we hope to explore the present and future of human. This will be a meaningful occasion for Korea and Sweden to share issues of humanity and the relationship between humankind and nature as they are currently being pondered.
Since the modern era began, human beings have truly become masters of our world. We have witnessed various geographic discoveries and conquests, the Industrial Revolution, developments in science and technology, space exploration, and a revolution in information technology. Recently, people have been talking of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Can this really be seen as a great victory for humanity? In the process of becoming masters of the world, human beings have oppressed innumerable other humans. While mastering our world, humans have exploited nature.
With issues such as sexual discrimination, racism, oppression of minorities, poverty, and the plight of refugees, humans have sought to exclude the “other”. The plastics that we have created to benefit humankind have returned to us in the form of microplastic pollution. Climate change has intensified to the point that more and more of us are sensing it in our daily lives. Are humans really qualified to be masters of our world? Is there hope for humankind?
As science and technology reach new plateaus of advancement, they have come to unsettle the very concept of humanity. Artificial intelligence, robotics, and bioengineering are achieving fusion with human beings themselves as they replace and augment their capabilities. The emergence of a new “humankind”, a new humanity, has become increasingly likely—what some have called the “post-human”. Some expect the post-human era to open up new opportunities for humankind. But will those opportunities actually be fair.
They are ancient questions, but ones that we must constantly ask anew: What does it mean to be human? What are the limits and possibilities of humanity? Throughout history, many works of literature and many great books have posed these very questions. Literature and books represent media through which humankind interrogates its own humanity.
"All of us are beings seated in uncomfortable chairs on the incline of fate."
Sadness is the human condition.
Rather than overcoming our sadness and finding happiness, we find happiness as we look upon each other’s sadness and sympathize, as we willingly confront it. For we are born already into this condition of
a sloping ground. On such an incline, we cannot sit comfortably on a proper chair. Each of us has our own slope. Humanity begins in recognizing that discomfort and sympathizing with the other.
A Slope of 1 Percent
The Guest of Honour Stand features a floor that slopes upward by 1 percent with chairs facing this incline. The slope provides a shared, embodied experience of the unsettling human condition. At times, we consider ourselves to be sitting in upright chairs. Yet those chairs always stand upon slight inclinations. When the thought “Why do I feel so uncomfortable?” crosses your mind once seated, we urge you to lend an ear to others sitting around you. Whether they address you directly or not, we hope you will experience listening to their stories upon this slope. For their stories may be your own.
The exhibition hall features sixty-six chairs placed upon an inclined floor. The number six alludes to the hexahedron, the Platonic solid associated with earth. It represents the here and now whereupon we stand. The number six also symbolizes the human condition inevitably tied to bodies made of clay and destined to live upon the earth. From this predicament rises the additional number six, which represents human desire. The sixty-six chairs thus symbolize the state in which, rather than signifying nonfulfillment, the lack of being serves as the basic condition whereby humans respond to the lack of others.