There's something ridiculous about ping-pong, even when it’s played by Olympic athletes; all that skill and training employed in paddling a weightless, worthless plastic ball across a toy tennis court. At this year’s Gwangju Biennale, visitors were invited to play ping-pong on stainless steel tables in the courtyard, with double dividers for nets, installed by Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija. The table tops were polished to a mirror-like sheen, so that players could see themselves and their surroundings as they jumped around, whacking the ball at friends, relatives or strangers across the divide.
|"In Front of Them All" -- guards at the DMZ|
It felt ridiculous, in a fun way. But it was also a symbol of
today – where armies face off across a barrier that divides a homogeneous nation into two hostile camps, trading shots and threats in a game that has no meaning or raison d’etre outside of politics. Korea 50 miles to the border, for a guided tour of the DMZ. Seoul
Inspired by the exhibit, a few days later we took a bus from