During my residency group exhibition at the National Art Studio of Korea in Changdong, the public was invited to plant using the mountain soil. They chose the soil that they wanted and planted with it. Afterwards, people were invited to go on individual or group “missions” to plant the soil back to the mountains of their choice. During my residency, I also held two children’s workshops where participants planted using the soil, and together we went to a nearby mountain to do the mission.

Before participants were sent off to plant, they were given an orientation on what the project was about, either through a workshop, a one-on-one explanation, the bilingual English/Korean video shown during the exhibition, or this website that they could browse from an iPad.

The mission is designed to use small tasks that will promote positive hiking habits in the participants.

1. Greet and bow to the elderly.*
2. Give candy to fellow hikers.
3. Pick up trash.
4. Arrange fallen leaves or flowers into a sculpture.
5. Recite poetry.
6. Balance rocks.**
7. Use an exercise machine.***
8. Write on a postcard.
9. Read official signs.
10. Plant!

* In South Korea, it is considered polite to bow to one’s elders.
** Many Korean mountains have Buddhist temples, and rock balancing is a common sight in and around them.
*** Majority of Seoul’s mountains have been equipped with exercise machines by the city.

In addition, some people who previously learned about this project from my participation in the International Sculpture Festa in the Hangaram Art Museum at Seoul Arts Center this May signed up to participate. During the exhibition in the National Art Studio of Korea, they came to pick up a plant. They told me the mountain they wished to hike, and I gave them their task list. Later, they will email me with documentation of what they did. Features of participants on this website are done with their permission.

This page will be regularly updated, but here are some photos. If you are interested in doing a mission even after this project is finished to join a community of city hikers here in Seoul, please email Catherine Young at csgyoung[@]gmail[dot]com.

Hiking in Choansan:

After greeting an elderly lady:

Giving candy to fellow hikers:

Rock balancing:



This lovely couple came to pick up a plant, after seeing my piece at the International Sculpture Festa. They are also the first ones to do so. Kudos!

This lovely lady, Bae Soul-Ki, mixed soil from nine different mountains to plant. Awesome!

These young ladies, So Ah Yeon and Im Nara, are only in high school but are off to Suraksan (with their parents’ permission). Hats off to you—I nearly died on that mountain.

I love this mother and son team who visited the studio already in hiking shoes, because they wanted to climb a mountain right afterwards. Thank you, Mrs. Sim Mi Kyoung and Kim Seong Hwan.

Many thanks to Micah Park, who came to the studio before some other participants and became my translator that afternoon. And good luck climbing Suraksan and Buramsan!

Some of the staff and resident artists of the National Art Studio also volunteered:









2 thoughts on “Missions

  1. Pingback: Seoul43 – The Mountain Tracks | Seoul43

  2. Pingback: Seoul43 – The Mountain Tracks, or the Shapes I Made with My Feet | Seoul43

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