NONGRATA: Beauty of the Car Accident

One of the reasons we stopped and gave our attention to the parade down Hongdae Street on Saturday was the car with guys in masks water gunning people in the streets. After we were “gunned down” we went over to sarcastically say thanks. We ended up meeting Al Paldrok from the group Nongrata out of Estonia. He’d just been in the US for some exhibitions and had returned to Korea for this festival after quite a hiatus from the country.

There Al Paldrok is performing on Sunday.

According to their website, Nongrata is a group made up of some 40 members mostly from Estonia, but with members in places as far reaching as Quebec, Finland, Latvia, Germany, USA, France, Germany and Chile. “The main characteristics of the members are ANONYMITY in group work and ignorance of local art and mass media.”

Being quite friendly and seemingly enjoying our sarcastic thanks we got to talking about what their group would be doing and after getting the schedule promised to come back on Sunday for their smashing of a car scene. I’d expected something similar to homecoming at my highschool. They would get a car, take out all of the gasoline, take out all of the windows and then give students goggles and gloves and let you have at it the heap of metal if you were wearing sneakers. That was not at all what we had here.

Steve Vanoni, out of the US, drove the car in circles at the start, honking and starting off the ruckus while there was a clanging and hammering of noises coming from the stage. Clearly there was still gas in this car, which later came spilling out onto the pavement when the group decided to flip the car over. While Steve drove Al was chasing it around spray painting Xs where people should not hammer, aka the gas tank, and other blow uppable areas. Once the car was stopped and parked in the center Michael Steger with Open Space Berlin out of Germany got on top of the car to start a fire and start off the riot by jumping on the roof.

It was surprising to me to see some pretty small Korean girls get in there and have their way with the car. All in all the show was a success with the car being turned upside down in the end and glass shards scattered and people applauding.

They have another show on Tuesday night at the B-boy Theater. I’m assuming it won’t be this show as it’ll be inside, but who knows? Here’s to another show to evoke emotion, any emotion is fine as Steve said, but some feeling suits.

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