Fernando Garcia Dory Campaigns of Agro Reform in Korea
“Lament of the Newt” transferred FErnando Garcia Dory’s campaign for agrarian preservation from Spain to Korea. His contribution to the Gwangju Biennale from August to September 2016 consisted of collective performances staged on the last surviving rice field in Gwangju. Once a common site, rice fields are being steadily usurped to create space for towering apartment blocks. Thus, instead of being the mainstay of Korean sights, the rice field has become a quaint anachronism threatened with extinction.
Throughout the biennale, this field served as a stage for a collective performances examining the tenuous relationship between the city and the ecosystem in which it is located. Dory’s title announces which of these competing forces has earned his loyalty. The work is a ‘lament’, meaning a loss has occured and it is being mourned.
Vanguard performance of contemporary sync pop choreographies and lip-dub were scheduled along side traditional village mask rituals honoring the seasonal cultivation of rice, as well as farmers unions’ demonstrations. Combined, these events placed real estate development and economic growth within the context of their victim – a functioning ecosystem. In this manner the field itself contributed to this narrative by presenting irrefutable evidence of what was being lost: streams, plants, and other non-human organisms coalescing into a community of cooperating residents.