A visitor looks at the "byeongpung", or traditional folding screen that shows Korean-style roofs on its digital screen at a Hallyu promotion booth set up inside the COEX center in Samseong-dong, Seoul, where the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit is being held for two days. (Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul)
The 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit is not just a summit for discussing nuclear security issues; it is also a great opportunity for Korea to promote its culture.
Seoul put all-out efforts into promoting the city and the nation as a whole at COEX, the venue of the summit, by setting up promotional booths in and outside of the International Media Center (IMC).
The Presidential Council on Nation Building had a booth outside the IMC where it set up traditional folding screens called "byeongpung" installed with digital screens inside them. Intended to show viewers the origins of "hallyu" (Korean wave), the digital screen was decorated with a traditional look. The digital screen, which oddly mixed with the traditional background, showed videos of such hallyu stars as Song Hye-kyo, Lee Byung-hun and Bae Yong-jun and clips of Korean TV dramas.
The motif of the exhibition, which was to convey the past and the present of Korean culture, could easily be understood.
At a booth promoting Korean culture and tourism, a few feet away, visitors could watch 20 of Korea's relics on a video screen set up by the National Museum of Korea. Viewers could experience the cultural properties in 3D as if they were inside a museum.
Next to the relic booth was a "hanbok" station where visitors could try on the traditional Korean clothes. Foreign journalists, curious about the costumes, took photos wearing them.
Plenty of brochures about Korean culture and tourist sites were displayed at the booth.
Inside the IMC, a special booth was set up to promote the city in particular.
Set up by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, the "Seoul" booth displayed digital images of the past, present and future of Seoul. Each section provided video clips of Seoul City, its transportation system, its tap water called "Arisu" and many more. The best places to visit in Seoul such as Bukchon Hanok Village and some of Korea's traditional dishes such as sinseollo were also introduced.
Next to it was a booth dedicated just to Gangnam, a southern district in Seoul.
"Since COEX is located in Gangnam, we thought it was a great opportunity to promote the district. We especially focused on the district's advanced medical service. It is the first district in Seoul to have adopted the U-Health Park Management System which digitalizes residents' health conditions and allows them to check their health status regularly at a kiosk set up all over the area", said No Young-hee who was representing the booth.
What seemed to attract the foreign visitors the most was the calligraphy stand.
Korea Post set up a booth at the entrance of the IMC offering to write foreign visitors' names in Korean calligraphy. A group of journalists from Spain were waiting in a line, Monday, to get their names printed in Korean writing on traditional Korean paper, "Hanji".
"I really like the calligraphy booth. I took a look around all the booths and took pictures of interesting ones, but this one's really good. We're looking for interesting things to send back to our country", said Nuria Vega Aguado, a Spanish journalist from Point Radio station.
By Yun Suh-young
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2015 51st PaekSang Arts Awards