Tuesday, March 08, 2016

a look at Ewha

I was at Ewha University a short while back, on February 27, meeting Ligament to see "The Danish Girl" (reviewed here). We elected to meet early so that Ligament could give me a tour of Ewha's campus, for this is where she attends grad school, focusing on English/Korean interpretation and translation. We ended up walking along a fairly narrow axis; I don't think we got to see even a third of what's there. Part of our walk took us up to Ewha's grand library, a trip Ligament hadn't wanted to take because of all the steps. She's thin and willowy; I'm a big fatty, and I said we needed to forge ahead, so up we went, my laboring heart be damned. Halfway up the stairs, I invited Ligament to feel the pulse pounding in my fingertips. That was amusing (and a bit sad, given what it said about my physical state).

Campus architecture is normally fairly male, fairly phallic in nature: there are plenty of statues-on-plinths, for example, and many towers and other up-thrusting structures. Ewha has some of those features, but being a women's university, it also displays what I'd call more feminine architecture: crevices, chasms, and cave-like areas, reflecting a distinctly vaginal aesthetic. Here's our first view down into a chasm right now:

The most vaginal feature on Ewha's campus, by far, is this descending-and-ascending arcade reminiscent of Moses' parting of the Red Sea. It's by architect Dominique Perrault:

A shot of some students posing for graduation pics. The end of February and the beginning of March signal the end of winter vacation and the beginning of the new semester, so it only makes sense that this time of year is also devoted to things like graduation.

Below, a statue of one of the early presidents of the university:

This closeup gives you more information on the statue:

Next, we look slightly uphill to the modest student center:

And here's the entrance (which says "Student Cultural Center"):

The imposing statue of Lulu Frey (no relative of Walder Frey, I assure you), another of the university's presidents from long ago:

Frey's information was etched into stone, but it was hard to make out:

Off to the side, some modern sculpture:

More art:

And more art. It all looks somewhat angry:

And now, a shot of the imposing steps that lead up to the main campus library. We walked up most of them to reach the library's main entrance, but we could have gone a few flights higher. Enjoy the view:

We went back down to "Moses' arcade," going down to the B4 level to see the movie. A huge crowd of students was there; Lig asked someone what that was about, and we discovered that these kids were all hopefuls who were auditioning to be on some kind of TV show. I took the following shot, then Lig and I went up a level and shot the students from above.

And here's the shot from above:

A ribbed sculpture close to the art-house theater that Lig and I went to:

And finally, a pic of the movie poster for our movie.

It had been a while since the last time I'd visited Ewha's campus; some things have obviously changed, but other things have not. Lig complains that many of the on-campus restaurants are expensive, which doesn't make them student-friendly. That's too bad; a campus neighborhood should normally be a hub of cheap eateries. I generally liked the strange combination of old and new, and the slight hills gave me a tiny bit of a workout. Lig feels bad about having me come all the way out to Ewha, given that Ewha is north of the river and across town from where I live. But I had fun, so the trip wasn't a burden to me at all.



Charles said...

Yup, Ewha has changed a lot. I remember what it looked like two decades ago.

brier said...

Yonic architecture indeed.

(I just wanted to use that word for once.)

Kevin Kim said...


So I guess the other architectural style is "lingamic"?

I'm now reminded of author Tom Robbins and his fictional perfume, Yoni Yum.


Seeing how many Asian cities have the "gyeong" character as part of their names (e.g., Dong-gyeong/Tokyo, Buk-gyeong/Beijing), maybe Seoul should rename itself "Byeon-gyeong," the place of constant change ("Yeong [weon] Byeon-gyeong"?). I know: not the same "gyeong" character, but still, in hangeul it matters not.

Charles said...


Yeah, but then you'll get some wiseacre writing it as 便京.

Kevin Kim said...

Ah... the Capital of Excretion. Glooooorious.

John (I'm not a robot) said...

Enjoyed the tour...