Bauhaus Song

Bauhaus Song, 2019. Single-channel video, seven parts, each part 4 minutes. Sound produced by Se Chung. Exhibited in Gwangju Design Biennale 2019⁣, ⁣“Humanity for Next Generation” section, curated by Kang Seungmin, 7 Sept–31 Oct⁣ 2019.

Bauhaus is a legend, in the literal sense of the word: it lies right at the heart of modern design’s creation myth, and in the subsequent tales of its triumphs and defeats. There is a parallel between celebrating the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus in Korea, which had no known direct contact with the school, and the country’s still-commonplace rituals to remember noble ancestors who may not have even existed.

Bauhaus Song is meant to be a chant to the imaginary ancestral rite. True to the spirit of myths, it takes the form of the prominent contemporary vehicle of oral transmission, hip hop music. The song talks about the Bauhaus’s history, people, tenets, influence, and its reception in Korea, combining the fragments into a confusing montage. Never made as a proper recording, the song is presented in the karaoke-like “music video,” its lyrics being displayed as subtitles. Reflecting the use of geometric shapes and primary colors in the Bauhaus, the seven-part video appropriates typical motifs and technical features of karaoke videos. It represents a song that does not exist and encourages the audience to sing along a song that they do not even know. This might as well be an analogy to the relationship between the Bauhaus and us in Korea 2019.