SEOUL, June 1 (Korea Bizwire) – A piece of street art symbolizing the Ilbe online community was badly damaged Wednesday, creating controversy.
Ilbe is an extreme right-wing group that has been criticized for its often far-fetched conservatism and misogynic viewpoints.
The artwork was modeled after a hand gesture that is used by Ilbe members as a sign of accreditation. On May 30, it appeared in front of Hongik University, which quickly faced a strong backlash across the net for supporting Ilbe.
However, the artwork was part of a school assignment for a Hongik University senior, Hong Gi-ha, who planned the display until June 20.
The artwork was titled ‘Nowhere yet Everywhere’, and intended to portray the existence of Ilbe, which is exceedingly predominant on the Internet but quite the contrary in real life.
“The artwork is not a dichotomous representation of whether I support or oppose Ilbe,” said Hong on Monday followed by wide public criticism. “It’s a reflection of our society’s reality, which I intended to share by showing that Ilbe is a big part of our society despite the community’s seemingly unsubstantial existence.”
“I suppose it’s a situation where we ask ourselves how such a witch hunt, false accusations, and the act of damaging one’s piece of art are different to the behavior that Ilbe is criticized for.”
But the criticisms didn’t subside, and the artwork was discovered badly damaged on Wednesday morning with a memo, ‘Art and freedom of expression are not an absolute right.’
The person, who apparently left the memo after destroying the sculpture, wrote on an online community saying, ‘It was not accidental. It was planned. And if I’m charged with any legal offenses, I’ll face them proudly.’
Chin Jung-kwon, a renowned professor and a left-wing critic, strongly criticized the act on his Twitter account, saying, “People who carry out such misconducts are worse than the members of Ilbe.”
“Those who believe that they can trample upon others’ freedom of expression for ‘the greater good’ are the real enemies of democracy,” he added.
By Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)