Artsonje Center

Seoul, KR
Sunjung Kim
Type: Spatial Design

Commissioned by Sunjung Kim


  • Spatial Design by Studio Miessen, Berlin
  • Project Leader: Markus Miessen
  • Design Team: Daniel Springer, Márk Redele
  • Production Team: Najung Kim
  • Artwork by Liam Gillick, New York
  • Photography by JongOh Kim


Commissioned by Artsonje Center, Seoul, Studio Miessen's project "Discursive Sauna" presents a site-specific installation located in the car park right in front of the main entrance of Artsonje, towards a well-frequented alley. This pavilion-scale work explores the relationship between institutional architecture and the way in which the question of scale can be addressed and can respond to what Miessen coins “Cultures of Assembly”.

The Discursive Sauna exists as a micro-site for informal assembly and everyday hangout while doubling as a more formal venue, which allows Artsonje to temporarily scale down both physically and in terms of street presence in order to explore and foster an alternative scale and format of dialogue with the public. As such, the Discursive Sauna should be understood as a threshold-killer.
The scale of the Sauna particularly explores the notion of friction and unease when it comes to social settings. How do we talk to each other? How do we situate our bodies when entering a discursive setting? What are the socio-spatial protocols at stake here?

The artwork placed above the entrance door read “WITTESLEARNINGANDSTUDIE” (Wittes, Learning and Studie) and presents a work by New York base artist Liam Gillick. The phrase originates from an earlier time in English, through which one can experience the influence of old German and French (hence the spelling of "study" as "studie", for example). The work presents a means to express three forms of intelligence: “Wittes” is like "wit" meaning one’s intuitive intelligence. “Learning” and “stud(ie/y)” are self-explanatory.

The architectural and textual works in tandem explore the potential of applied utopia.