Agatha Sunyoung Park: Gangnam Makeover

  • ©, Agatha Sunyoung Park

  • ©, Agatha Sunyoung Park
  • ©, Agatha Sunyoung Park
  • ©, Agatha Sunyoung Park



    Gangnam Makeover



Artist Statement:

    Gangnam Makeover is an online participatory augmented reality (AR) intervention at the Sinsa subway station in the Gangnam district in Seoul, South Korea. The project collects ideas about beauty from women in Korea through a central website. The collected messages are then displayed over the numerous cosmetic surgery advertisements in the Sinsa subway station through a mobile AR application. The project is meant to makeover a problematic public space that propagates a restrictive standard of beauty into a space of imagination and solidarity for women. The project explores the potential for AR to augment society by envisioning alternative realities.

    To provide some background, body-shaming is still very common in South Korea, and more so for women. The Apgujeong/Sinsa neighborhood is the South Korean hub for cosmetic surgery. The subway stations there contain mostly cosmetic surgery ads depicting women with large double-lidded eyes, high noses, V-line chins, “water-gloss” skin, and slim hourglass figures. Gangnam Makeover challenges this standard by enabling Korean women to define alternative visions of beauty in Korea.

    Gangnam Makeover builds on the lineage of protest AR interventions by including user-created content. This model of online participation coupled with site-specific augmentation becomes a midpoint between internet activism and physical activism, which allows for spatial intervention free of physical borders. Gangnam Makeover does not limit participation to local Korean women and is open to participation from Korean women abroad who are still affected by the Korean beauty standards. The project will continue until the end of 2020.



Agatha Sunyoung Park – Gangnam Makeover from ACM SIGGRAPH on Vimeo.

Other Information:

    Advertising, Identity, Mobile App, Participatory, and Public Space

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