Words & Photos Gissella Ramirez-Valle
Independent publishing is gaining a wider audience in Korea. This is apparent by the substantial growth in visitors to events such as the annual Seoul Art Book Fair over the past three years. While the next Seoul Art Book Fair is scheduled for October 2018, more opportunities for creators to showcase & sell their work are popping up throughout the year. The 4th Publisher's Table market was held at Culture Station Seoul 284 on May 25th to 27th. Dozens of makers and collectives: writers, photographers, illustrators, publishing houses etc. sold their self produced goods.
Culture Station Seoul 284 was first built in 1925 as Seoul Station, a railway station adorned with renaissance and baroque elements. After Seoul Station moved next door and became the much larger high speed KTX railway station in 2004, the former Seoul Station was transformed into Culture Station Seoul 284 in 2011.
Popular illustrators such as sister duo 01. (@0choo & @1choo) and many other newcomers showcased their recent work. Posters, postcards, phone cases and tote bags are the usual merchandise that artists offer at the market. Photographers like Snakepool (@snakepool) offered photo books and prints of their images that range from chronicling Seoul youth enclavesto international destinations.
Emerging niche interest, subculture, and social minority projects were also represented. HijackingClub (@hijackingclub) recently held a successful crowdfunding campaign for their first publication Hijack Your House, a book that explores the rise of House music culture in South Korea. 6699 Press (@6699press) is a publishing house and graphic design studio that produces work reflecting collective feminist and queer experiences. (see MUTZINE 02 for more on underground music, feminism & queer culture!)
Independent publishing can be a lonely and difficult endeavor but the 4th Publisher's Table aimed to support a more richer and valuable publishing culture by successfully connecting creators with a wider audience. Let's look forward to the next Publisher's Table together!