a glimpse into seoul’s pulsating rave scene

"No one knows what will happen tomorrow, after the loud music has stopped."

by Juule Kay
12 December 2018, 11:08am

Imagine if you could beam yourself to South Korea right now. To Seoul, to be more precise. Directly into a sweaty nightclub with bursting bass and only the finest techno music. Your body starts vibrating and every single worry seems to vanish. There’s only you and the music. No yesterday, no tomorrow -- just the here and now. This is exactly the feeling photographer Yoong Jang tried to capture in her series Strange Seoul Rave, which shows a different, lesser-known side of the Korean metropole.

The winner of the first Dior Photo Award likes to compare life to a rave. "In my head, in addition to all the worries that I make myself, loud club music plays," said the native South Korean. Two years before graduating Fine Art Photography, Jang decided to move to Berlin. The perfect opportunity to learn more about Seoul's rave scene first-hand.

Yoong Jang  Seoul Rave

Strange Seoul Rave is a reflection of your own generation. How would you describe your peers?
My generation has a variety of potentials that is difficult to limit to one single word. We are beginning to merge rapidly -- through globalisation we are more connected than ever and can communicate with almost total freedom. Before the internet, it was really hard to communicate with the other side of the world, but now we can easily find what we are interested in. I would call my generation the most undefinable one so far, even though the word zeitgeist still feels like a perfect match for it.

What’s the best about being young nowadays?
We can create whatever we want to and share it with everybody, that’s how we inspire each other.

Yoong Jang Interview

You grew up in Seoul. How does it differ from life in Berlin?
It’s completely different. Seoul feels more like a 24/7 rush hour in every way, Berlin is more relaxed and grungy. In Seoul everything changes so fast, you can’t even imagine. I like to compare myself to a racehorse which never looks back.

How do you perceive the rave scene in Seoul?
It’s really massive right now, but we know how to deal with it. We have created our own culture, which makes it so attractive to people. If you really want to rave, you should definitely go to Itaewon. Almost only foreigners live there, who brought their own culture and mixed it with ours. It feels a bit like in Neukölln, Berlin.

Yoong Jang Strange Seoul Rave

What do you mean when you compare life to a rave?
A rave is always noisy and easy to enjoy, and I realised how similar this is to life. We live in this messy world and in my head there’s this loud music playing alongside all my worries. Sometimes I want to give up because I haven't decided who I really want to be yet. But you shouldn’t forget to enjoy all the moments in between this confusion as they won’t come back. Life is like a rave, no one knows what happens tomorrow after the loud music is gone.

Yoong Jang Strange Seoul Rave
Yoong Jang Strange Seoul Rave
Yoong Jang Strange Seoul Rave
Yoong Jang Strange Seoul Rave
Yoong Jang Strange Seoul Rave


Photos: Yoong Jang

Photography Assistance: Jieun Lee, Jaehak and Hyein Choi
Styling: Yohan Kim
Hair and Makeup: Ryungkyung Hwang
Models: Myeonggwan Lee / Esteem Model. Takh / etcmgmt and Paul G / etcmgmt

This article originally appeared on i-D DE.

South Korea
Yoong Jang
Strange Seoul Rave