The installation, Autopsy of the Future, lays bare a collection of forgotten stories—probable yet fanciful, real yet fictitious, and familiar yet foreign—of various actors and players, both central and marginal, whose lives were intertwined through a grand experiment on Yeouido. Fifty years since its creation, Yeouido still retains its mythical status within Korea’s popular imagination today. It is more often a metaphor than a place, or simply just a unit of measurement for large tracts of land. Millions of people have gathered on its asphalt plaza to play, pray, sing, and protest, and millions come to watch the fireworks on its riverside park each autumn, or walk under the cherry blossoms in spring. It continues to be a probable utopia for Koreans, inspiring them to dream of a better future, and its fate as a prophetic urban concept is closely linked to the solidity of Korea’s state identity. Yeouido, as a collective social and aesthetic experiment, continues to motivate Korea’s architectural avant-gardes.
Dreaming of a utopian future was an antidote to despair for the young architects of KECC, and their ideas were ravenously consumed through official reports, state media, and trade expos. Seven young architects who worked on the Yeouido Master Plan were naïve and inexperienced, but smart, young and ambitious. The team produced a series of visions for their nation that defied reality. Their vision for Yeouido promised to adjust the discrepancy between people and place by leapfrogging onto a new island that offered leisurely strolls along lush parks and plazas, various museums and cultural institutions, and various modes of transport. In turn, their utopian vision provided an ideal state image that the Third Republic needed as propulsive propaganda for tightly binding its citizens to the cogwheel of economic expansion, luring them toward the mirage that continued to recede beyond the silvery horizon of Han River.