Space of unity
Digital Diplomatic Island for Japan and South Korea
We are facing a long and ever-changing list of territorial disputes. More than 160 geopolitical conflicts can be counted and most of the countries around the world are involved such disputes. Claims of sovereignty reflect diverse reasons (political, historical, economical, geographical) and generate transnational tension. How can designers respond to this uncertainty with creativity and empathy?
Space of unity examines territorial disputes to discuss the relationship of Japan and South Korea, questioning how designers may give shape to content in times of political unrest. Physically manifest as two main islands and thirty seven smaller rocks covering less than one kilometer square in the East sea between both of the countries, the disputed territory exposes the historical grievance of Japanese colonisation of Korea (1910–1945). Although there is still a political wall between both countries (symbolized by the Dokdo/Takeshima islands’ conflict) it is important to offer means of reconciliation for the two sides to interact.
Space of unity is an opportunity to write a new visual narrative of Dokdo/Takeshima islands for future generations, as a space for mutual understanding. This project consists of three elements: a digital representation of the islands, a territorial bench and a set of calligraphic flags. Each element reflects an optimistic approach, presenting alternative perspectives that connect cultural histories to possible futures of reconciliation.