Seungjoon Song

SeungJoon Song reexamines
cultural and historical contexts
through the concept of nature,
revealing how prejudices and
misconceptions surrounding the
notion manipulate our reality. 

Song attempts to redefine the
concept of nature from an inter
-relational ecosystem perspective
through design field in order to
deconstruct the binary thinking
between humans and nature.



Green Zone News Extra on Oct. 21th, 2123 (2023)

“…. As humanity's shortsighted ecological destruction accelerates, green zones have emerged across the Earth, occupied by various viruses, toxic substances, and unknown mutated lives, engulfing human territories….Newspaper fragments lie on the floor. It contains an urgent extra distributed by the Green Zone News mentioning an artillery skirmish that occurred on October 20, 2123 under the jurisdiction of the CGZ government along the north coast of the Pacific Ocean. This tragedy, which resulted in the deaths of 8 civilians, has been confirmed to be initiated by Pacific pirates with radical WGZ ideologies. Today, governments around the world have divided into two factions: 'WGZ,' advocating war with the Green Zone, and 'CGZ,' advocating coexistence. The speculation that their ideological conflict may serve as the spark for the third global war made the situation of humanity isolated in the Green Zones even more threatening. However, due to the recent artillery skirmish, this has become a tangible fear, more than just a hypothesis….”

This project shares the ‘Hyper Green Zone’ universe. 


Genetically Modified Bullet Ant's Nest Bomb (2023)

“…It has been over a decade since humanity found itself surrounded by green uninhabited zones. Green warning signs continue to rotate in the air, cautioning the dangers of the violent green landscape. Surprisingly, organisms capable of adapting to these previously inhospitable areas have begun to emerge. After the Anthropocene, a significant resurgence of biodiversity has taken place, restoring the imbalance in the Earth's ecosystem. In response, extremist environmental activists claim that an era of paradoxical salvation for humanity has arrived. They advocate for the deliberate militarization of territories for the sake of the global environment and have developed terrorist weapons utilizing genetically modified insects. The bullet ant is classified with a Schmidt Pain Index rating of 4+, making it the most excruciatingly painful insect. Through genetic modification, they have been engineered to pursue only human scent and have been reborn as living anti-human weapons. These bombs were simultaneously dropped from the high skies worldwide on the late night of March 2, 2123, with an estimated count of around 10,000. The identities of the environmental activists responsible for these acts of terrorism remain undisclosed…”

In reality, the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), once a war-torn wasteland due to the Korean War, has remained off-limits to human access for 70 years due to political violence between North and South, transforming into a core ecological axis on the Korean Peninsula where 5,929 species of wildlife thrive. The ironic threat to human entry has paradoxically given birth to an optimistic outcome – the safety net of biodiversity restoration for all life on Earth. Through the setting of 'extremist environmental activists' and their 'terror weapons,' Song dramatically narrates this paradoxical situation in his imaginative world. He questions the uncontrollability and impotence of humanity in the face of ecosystem destruction, portraying a tragic and abnormal humanity making self-destructive choices to protect the planet.

This project shares the ‘Hyper Green Zone’ universe. 


Green Sign Fallen from Tree (2023)

"…Green sign fragments in the style of Art Nouveau dangle from the trees, resembling chrysalises of a monarch butterfly. Green signs spin languidly and hollowly in the breeze, warning of the flourishing presence of nature. These green zones in this world symbolize the land of human alienation, where mankind finds it difficult to adapt. Adrift without a sense of direction, these green signs seem to narrate humanity's isolated position surrounded by a menacing green landscape. One sign has fallen from a tree and is just left there. Unlike humans who can't reach that spot, nameless weeds and vines have stealthily climbed up onto the sign…"

<Green Sign Fallen from Tree> tells the story of the subversion of symbolism within the green landscape, as the artist explores the no-man's land encompassing the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ), and Fukushima Exclusion Zone (FEZ). The no-man's land, shaped by radiation, contamination, and weapons of war, is akin to a 'space within Earth' that can only exist as a virtual realm in reality. In order to enter this realm, humans must wear specific garments and adhere to specific regulations to engage in any activities. However, in this eerie realm dominated by uncontrollable violence, nature has left its green traces, making indifferent appearances repeatedly. While we perceive untouched nature as an ideal prototype of nature, can we truly view a nature devoid of humans as ideal? If the short-sighted destruction of ecosystems continues to accelerate, the lush green landscapes adorned with thriving vegetation may transform into ominous signs of an enigmatic presence that threatens humankind. <Green Sign Fallen from Tree> is an expression of the artist's desire for the symbolism of green to be preserved not as a source of fear and threat, but as a representation of healing and tranquility.

(The juxtaposition of green panels and red text, forming complementary colors, accompanied by pixelation in digital images, implies the inherent violence of the green landscape that exists beyond the complete domination of technology-mediated humanity.)

This project shares the ‘Hyper Green Zone’ universe. 


Suspicious Museum of Natural History (2022)

Suspicious Museum of Natural History aims to expose the gruesome underlying structure of the rhetoric of "untouched nature" hidden under the misconception of it through the ecosystem of the Korean Demilitarized Zone, which has been restricted from human access for about 70 years.

Contrary to its name, the DMZ has become a weaponized border due to frequent military provocations under the division. Unidentified landmines, armed posts, and barbed wire that occupy the DMZ resist human access, all of which act as critical ecological components of the current DMZ. Nevertheless, in South Korean society, the DMZ is promoted as an unexpected natural paradise and symbolized as a heartening example of overcoming the wounds of the Korean War. Romanticizing the new ecology formed by the violent divisive history into peaceful natural landscapes suggests that the idea of untouched nature may still be achieved by violence and that the misconception “untouched nature” justifies the violence enacted to ensure itself.

In response, Song proposes imaginary biodiversity archives that coexist with the infrastructure of violence in the DMZ, such as longhorn beetles that use anti-tank mines as alternative spawning sites and sparrows that apply gunpowder of damaged unexploded bombs to the outer walls of their nest. By engaging with a speculative eye the nature of the DMZ, using cultural tropes of the Museum of Natural History - illustrations, dioramas, and audio guides - allows viewers to question their human perspectives in a place marked by their absence.

This is a project carried out as the 2022 MA Contextual Design Graduation Project, Design Academy Eindhoven(NL). It consists of two separate projects: 'Diorama of Korean DMZ Ecology', and 'Missing Species of DMZ'.


Diorama of DMZ Ecology (2022)

Without landmines, barbed wire, and fire operations, the species in the DMZ would have different characteristics and exist differently: in other words, the arrow of violence does not destroy the current species of DMZ but plays a role in saving their existence. The biological species of the DMZ, which South Korean society symbolizes as beings who overcame the pain of division, are actually beings settled thanks to that pain of division: they need those threats to keep sustaining their present life stably.

The diorama installation consists of a number of terrariums, and the glass vases of the terrariums are intertwined with frames made of barbed wire. Glass materials adapt to violence, create space, and embody the entanglement with violence. If you try to separate the barbed wire from the terrarium, it will break and the ecosystem in it will collapse. The interdependent relationship between barbed wire and glass represents Korean DMZ ecosystem that requires and relies on violence to keep the current state stable.

The glass was blown by Marc Barreda at the Leerdam glass factory.