: Nomadic Report 2012 Mongolia


I revisited the southern Gobi and Ulan Bator in the summer of 2011. People in a nearby village of Dalan Jadgad in the southern Gobi were suffering from the lack of clean water. A river in the region had been contaminated by the mine development in an adjoining area, and the region had gradually turned into a desert in the recent years. Young people left the village to find work in the cities, or moved to mining areas away from their families. As a result, the small village community was being dismembered. Mongolia turned into a battlefield of powerful countries fighting over Mongolia’s rich underground resources and its cities were rapidly changing. Young Mongolians were also rapidly adapting themselves to this massive leap toward an industrial society.

My work is based on people and places located in an area called ‘Mongolian belt’, which includes Altay, Mongolia, Siberia, and the America continent. These places have lots in common, in aspects of their history, race and culture. The Silk Road used to connect the East and the West, and many of the paths that connected a few continents still exist. I tried to record the current life of Mongolians who were currently living on the Silk Road. I visited Dalanzadgad, a city in the Southern Mongolian, and its adjacent villages, in order to record the locals’ appearances and their living, and gathered their thoughts on current Mongolia. I wanted to find out what the most Mongolian was.

I thought the current Mongolia was very similar to what Korea had been like when it had gone through modernization process. In the downtown of Ulaanbaatar, a number of high-rising buildings were being constructed and Mongolia’s young generation was adapting themselves into the speedy changes caused by the Western influences. I wanted to observe the current Mongolia where modern and post-modern lives co-existed, and also wanted to record a nomad life of a Mongolian country side. Furthermore, I investigated competitions over natural resources and consequential conflicts among Ease Asian countries, in connection to Korea’s situations.

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