[Call For Papers] Surface Tension: Popular K-Arts vs Korean Arts in the Hallyu Era

Discipline : Arts & Media
Speaker(s) : Soyoung Kim, Shindong Kim... more to be determined
Language : English

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Original time zone : 2023-12-20 23:59 Eastern Standard Time(EST) (America/New_York)
My local time zone : 2023-12-20 23:59 ()
posted by Nadja Nielsen

AAPlab’s 3rd International Conference

  • Date: February 22-24, 2024
  • Venue: University of Montreal (UdeM), Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The Asian Art Publication Lab (AAPlab) will hold its third international conference “Surface Tension: Popular K-Arts vs Korean Arts in the Hallyu Era” from February 22nd to 24th, 2024, at the University of Montreal (UdeM) in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Here the term “K-Arts” refers to Korean popular arts such as K-Drama, K-Pop, K-Cinema etc., while “Korean Arts” refers to both traditional and contemporary artistic production.

This conference aims to examine how environmental, geocultural and geopolitical issues are represented or silenced in the K-Arts while also acknowledging the groundbreaking achievements of the Hallyu or Korean Wave in changing global perceptions of Asian arts and culture. With its central question “Can the arts speak up?” the conference responds to Guattari’s notion of ecology, which incorporates the social and subjective into the environmental and thus can equally be applied to our living conditions, sustainability, ecosophy and equilibria as expressed through the arts

The conference welcomes papers from a wide range of disciplines, including Cinema and Media Studies, Film Philosophy, Geoculture, Geopolitics and Asian Art History, on topics including but not limited to:

- K-Arts (popular arts) vs Korean Arts (traditional & contemporary arts)

- K-Film, K-Drama, K-Webtoons (manhwa), K-Pop, digital media

- Visual and interactive arts

- Technology and social media

- Aesthetics of poetics and transnational expression

- Ethnographical, geocultural and geopolitical topics

The current global surge of fascination with Korean popular culture and arts is a phenomenon that has impacted cultural sectors around the world. Like the French New Wave (Nouvelle Vague) of the late 1950s or the British Invasion and American New Wave of the ‘60s, the Korean Wave has challenged the boundaries between popular and contemporary arts. With its swift and radical impacts on international arts and culture and its global proliferation, the Hallyu has rapidly mushroomed in tandem with the rise of new social media platforms.

Notably, the mainstream Korean Wave is fueled by consumerism and commodities that reflect the privilege of the wealthy classes with an emphasis on aesthetics, beauty and cosmetic appearance fueling the rapid economic growth of related industries. Underneath this glossy veneer, the distressing realities of Korean social, cultural, and environmental issues have been silenced, excluded or neglected. The Korean Wave has assigned the letter “K” to Korean artistic and cultural production across the board, be it pop culture or diverse other disciplines, which has seen some artists and scholars expressing a perplexed feeling in their artistic and theoretical approaches. In resonance with Korean film director Bong Joon-Ho’s remark “Films, novels and all creative works, they always reflect the violence that exists in the world, but a beat late”, this conference will explore not only the sunny side but also the shadows of Hallyu. We aim to examine the blurred boundaries between pop art and contemporary art, as well as asking what artistic visions are being proposed that challenge or refuse the mainstream “K” and what is the potential of these visions for the world to come?


  • Proposals can be submitted in English or French to asianartpublicationlab@gmail.com no later than 11:59 PM (EST) on December 20th, 2023.
  • Individual proposals are limited to 250 words max, plus a 100-word bio of the presenter(s), a max of 5 keywords and 3 bibliographical references.
  • We welcome papers from artists, established researchers, postdoctoral and early-career scholars, and postgraduate students.
  • Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by December 30th, 2023.
  • The organizing committee plans to publish an edited volume or special journal issue of the papers presented.
  • The conference will be held in person with some virtual access and will be free of charge to attend. For invited presenters, lodging (up to two nights) and meals will be covered.

For more information, please visit: https://koreanfilmfestivalcanada.ca/conference-2024/

For inquiries: AAPlab at asianartpublicationlab@gmail.com

Social media: AAPLab, KFFC, Instagram

This conference is generously funded by the Academy of Korean Studies in Seoul, Korea.

Keynote speakers:

  • Soyoung Kim, Filmmaker/artist, Professor of Cinema Studies at Korea National University of Arts, Director of Trans-Asia Screen Culture, Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Arts, Busan.
  • Shin Dong Kim, Professor of the Media School and Director of the Institute for Convergence Culture, Hallym University; Director of the Knowledge Coop for Good Governance, Seoul, Korea

Organizing Committee:

  • Mi-Jeong Lee, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Shin Dong Kim, Hallym University, South Korea
  • Martin Picard, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Jung Bong Choi, Former Professor of the Cinema Studies, NYU, US
  • Gabriel Remy-Handfield, Australian National University

Asian Art Publication Lab (AAPlab) is a Montreal-based research and creation laboratory at the intersection of arts and technology since 2020. Our goal is to bridge the gap between the East and West by decolonizing Asian arts through inclusive and critical dialogue. We publish and translate textbooks, essays, and lived stories based on art practices and experiments, and provide a platform for innovative Pan-Asian art projects. AAPlab is a project of Arts East-West / Korean Film Festival Canada, a Quebec based, artist-driven nonprofit organization supporting Asian media arts since 1996.

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