When you imagine paradise, what do you see? A palm tree? An island? A beach? Do you see bright blues? Surfers riding the horizon? Do you feel humidity and heat? Hear sounds of birds, breezes, and the crashing of waves? As a Western audience, our sense of paradise is largely shared. We could all point to a few places on a map, but paradise is inherently placeless, caught somewhere between the cognitive and the real.
Aloha from Paradise East. Like the paradise in your head, Paradise East boasts warm water, healthy palm trees, surfing, and relaxation. Unlike the paradise in your head, Paradise East is free from the colonial ties and misogyny that sadly poisons our oceans everyday. It is a counter landscape, challenging placelessness with place, the future with nostalgia, and nature with artifice.
Paradise East is an artificial surf park on the bank of the Han river in Seoul, Korea. A program of artificial waves powered by the passing subway train and flow of the river is fused with the program of a jimjilbang (a Korean spa). The socially connective environment of the jimjilbang challenges the colonized and competitive attitudes embedded in surf culture, creating a safe space for the othered surfer. Find surfing’s lost soul in this Paradise of pure invention.