14 Oct 2023 - 19 Nov 2023

Sea Art Festival 2023

Ilgwang Beach


Busan Metropolitan City and the Busan Biennale Organizing Committee are pleased to announce details of Sea Art Festival 2023 taking place from October 14 to November 19 at Ilgwang Beach, Gijang, Bussan, South Korea. UK-based Greek curator, Irini Papadimitriou takes the helm as this year’s Artistic Director under the title Flickering Shores, Sea Imaginaries.

The 2023 program overseen by Europe-based curator Irini Papadimitriou
Irini Papadimitriou (1975) has a BA in Conservation and Diploma in Museum Studies in Italy, an MA in Aesthetics and Art history from Middlesex University, and an MA in Creative Curating from Goldsmiths, University of London.

Having grown up in a family that works in the marine industry in Greece, Papadimitriou has always drawn great inspiration from the sea. With interests stemming from her childhood, her artistic and academic studies of marine issues include matters related to exploitation, sea pollution, and seasteading.

Based in Europe, Papadimitriou is currently creative director of Future Everything, a non-profit organization dedicated to researching key topics in the digital era, including technology, society, and cultural convergence in the past two decades. Through community networking and various events, Future Everything brings together artists, curators, developers, programmers, urban planners, policymakers, and more, supporting them in their new endeavors and joint projects.

As Digital Programmes Manager for London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) from 2008 to 2018, the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, Papadimitriou oversaw V&A’s Digital Design Weekend Festival. It is renowned for a collection spanning multiple eras, regions, styles, and genres, as well as its historical documentation and preservation activities and an exhibition planning approach that reflects contemporary trends and transformations.

Flickering Shores, Sea Imaginaries
The theme for this year’s edition of Sea Art Festival is Flickering Shores, Sea Imaginaries. ‘Flickering Shores’ denotes the concurrent fragility and beauty of our shores and coastal sites. The sea “flickers” in an irregular manner, plagued by a number of issues associated with cruise tourism, wind power, deep-sea mining, overfishing, nuclear testing, rising water levels, and pollution.

‘Sea Imaginaries’ stands as an approach for adopting common values and actions towards alternative future visions of the sea and coastal cities, places, or communities.

The sea is a vital source for our survival, but in our contemporary capitalist society, it is also a vast industry we depend on and exploit in many ways. The sea provides us with valuable resources; a source of food, jobs, energy, minerals, medicines, goods, and services, but it is also a host for our vast internet data travelling through undersea cables, a site for trading routes, travel, cross-cultural exchange, and migration. The sea has always been central to many industries and world economies.

At the same time, human activities and interference – advanced deep-sea development, extractionism, unknown risks –  have been causing the fast acidification and warming of waters, threatening the health of our oceans and the survival of marine life and creating catastrophic consequences for our planet. At this point, the relationship between creatures and the sea must be urgently reconsidered and evaluated.

The Sea Art Festival 2023 attempts to look at the reality of our relationship with the sea in a new way, while generating inclusive, creative, and innovative ideas rooted in symbiosis and collectiveness. It also aims to explore the roles of coastal cities and communities as an interconnected global network and considers the sea’s recovery and the potential therein. In essence, this year’s Sea Art Festival is an invitation to reimagine our relationship to the sea, its species, and its environment by way of culture and art.

Academic Program – Sea Art Festival Lab
In addition to its anchor exhibition, this year also presents Sea Art Festival Lab bringing together not only the local community, schools, and other educational institutions but also members of the artistic community as well as researchers and viewers with an interest in the sea.

This program is a space for research and creative work on explorations of the sea, art, and science. Its aim is to serve as a base linking art and cultural institutions with the marine ecosystem. Major components include a symposium and workshop, which provide forums for presenting and discussing explorations of an alternative future in coexistence with the sea, along with screenings of film-based works reflecting the topic.

Artistic director, Irini Papadimitriou, explains, “Art is a great force for changing our attitudes and perspectives. Our hope here is to connect fields such as art, research, industry, and marine science in order to open up new possibilities.”

A 37-day festival that celebrates Busan’s coastline as a source of inspiration
Taking place over a 37-day period from October 14 to November 19, this year’s Sea Art Festival features an exhibition of work by around 30 Korean and international artists in Busan’s Ilgwang Beach. Previously used as the exhibition setting for the 2021 edition, Ilgwang is renowned for its superb scenery, as reflected by its inclusion as one of eight scenic sites in Gijang County and is frequented by many visitors. The 2023 exhibition is also poised to infuse vitality into the region through the use of various idle spaces as indoor gallery settings.

The festival’s organizing committee is making every possible effort to deliver its strongest ever iteration as it expects a record of visitors from the nearby regions of Busan, Ulsan, and the South Gyeongsang area thanks to increased activity at the nearby East Busan Tourism Complex and the full opening of the Donghae Railway line to Ulsan’s Taehwagang Station.

Press release from Busan Biennale Organizing Committee

Busan, South Korea