Faintly over my headphones, I heard:
“What are you doing?”
I looked over to find a stranger sitting on the steps of an apartment building, smoking a cigarette and drinking a lemonade.
Fair enough. It was a decent question. I had been wandering the streets of Seoul’s university district photographing the public graffiti.
“Ah, yes…I’m…just…taking pictures of the art…it’s really beautiful if you look at it…”
“Oh yeah? Why?”
Why? Well…because. Fuck. How to explain why this art…here…was so astounding to me.
“It’s just that, I don’t know…I’ve seen such a lack of inspiration, of breaking the norm, of breaking out of convention here. Where is the passion? And…well, here…I can see rebellion, I can see creativity…expression…and it’s in a public display…just in your face, screaming to break out.”
“well…” he paused and exhaled his cigarette.
And there we went. For hours. Sharing, debating and discussing. The system. The set-up. The culture. The expectations. The boundaries. The rising generation.
“I don’t know…I guess I just see something beautiful in their simple rebellion.”
“You know, not everything has to have meaning.”
Maybe not. Yeah, definitely not.
But perhaps there is a unified symbol of progress behind these street walls.
It was now 4:30am. Goodbye. “It was strange enough to meet once…who knows, maybe we will meet again.”