in 2015, artist jae-eun choi initiated a collaborative project titled ‘dreaming of earth’. the ambitious plan involved transforming the korean demilitarized zone (DMZ) — the strip of land that divides north and south korea — through a series of interventions from internationally acclaimed artists and architects. choi, in collaboration with pritzker laureate shigeru ban, has proposed a comprehensive landscape and architectural design to both protect and celebrate the untouched ecological preserve. through art, the project symbolizes the elimination of conflict and division, creating a space for reflection and contemplation.

jae-eun choi dreaming of earth
dreaming of earth | installation view at the 15th venice architecture biennale, venice
image courtesy of the artist and shigeru ban, photo by taedong kim (also main image)



in order to maintain a harmonious coexistence between the untouched DMZ ecosystem and visitors, architect shigeru ban proposed a sprawling 20 kilometer floating garden — a concept which was first presented at the 2016 venice architecture biennale. an elevated passage would both metaphorically (re)connect the two koreas while allowing for the appreciation of nature. the scheme also includes a series of jung jas (traditional korean pavilions) and observation towers. a seed bank and a knowledge bank also form part of the plans, and are intended to educate visitors and safeguard vital collections of ecological and cultural significance.

jae-eun choi dreaming of earth
recurring tree | tower design by jae-eun choi 2017
image courtesy of the artist, provided by kukje gallery



five of the proposed 12 jung jas have been conceived by artists lee ufan, lee bul, and tadashi kawamata as well as studio mumbai and studio other spaces — the collaborative firm founded by olafur eliasson and sebastian behmann. the remaining pavilions will be designed by north korean creatives. jae-eun choi and architect seung h-sang have each submitted a design for two of the proposed three towers, while the third tower is reserved for a north korean artist. architect minsuk cho, founder of mass studies, has designed the seed and knowledge banks, which will be built on top of an underground tunnel.

jae-eun choi dreaming of earth
model of the elevated passage and mind tower 2016
image courtesy of the artist and shigeru ban studio, provided by kukje gallery



furthermore, jaeseung jeong has designed a manual documenting the research and conceptual foundation of the entire project, while author alan weisman is the project’s final contributor. jae-eun choi is adamant that ‘dreaming of earth’ will be built, and — as reported by weisman for the LA times — has begun seeking government and united nations funding. ‘we need it. they need it. we don’t need war: with terrorism, hurricanes, and extinctions, the world is already dangerous enough,’ says choi. ‘in such times, we must get together. right now, this must be our art.’

jae-eun choi dreaming of earth
section of the ‘center – starting point’ from the south looking to the north 2017
image courtesy of mass studies

jae-eun choi dreaming of earth
section of the ‘center – starting point’ 2017
image courtesy of mass studies

jae-eun choi dreaming of earth
proposal for jung ja of dreaming of earth 2017
image courtesy of studio mumbai

jae-eun choi dreaming of earth
model of condensation pavilion 2017
image courtesy of studio other spaces (olafur eliasson & sebastian behmann)

jae-eun choi dreaming of earth
bird’s monastery 2017
image courtesy of seung h-sang

jae-eun choi dreaming of earth
model of ‘nest’ 2017
image courtesy of kawamata tadashi

jae-eun choi dreaming of earth
proposal for ‘jung ja’ of dreaming of earth 2017
image courtesy of lee bul

jae-eun choi dreaming of earth
a pavilion (jung ja) for reunion and drinking tea together 2017
image courtesy of lee ufan

jae-eun choi dreaming of earth
dreaming of earth
project image relief courtesy of the artist

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