Hooking some fish, something of far greater value


At the end of spring, I went for a picnic to a beautiful small village called Hongchun with my co-workers, evacuating from Seoul which is one of the most complex and dynamic cities in the world. A brook flows softly along the mountains.

In Hongchun, we had chances to experience ‘Gyunji’(fishing with a roll) fishing, which is Korea’s traditional way of fishing similar to trolling. As we arrived there, our CEO, immediately took a small, weird shaped fishing rod and went into water; and a moment after, he had a big fish on his hand. Watching him, the rest of us ran into water, but no one had a clue with the weird fishing rod. He eventually went through everyone teaching how to fish.

Unlike typical fishing methods, Gyunji fishing is done in flowing water. You must go into fast stream and move the fishing rod continuously. At first, you let your decoy to flow along the water, and at certain point you quickly pull your fishing rod backwards to catch fishes. You need to fully activate your five senses inside the flowing water; hence Gyunji fishing is a nice, refreshing leisure.

This is very similar to design. The flowing water of Hongchun can be compared to our modern lives and/or design trends that flow very quickly and rapidly around us. If you stay there for a while, you will never be able to catch up with the flow – our world is flowing that fast, and it never waits for you. We must fully activate our full senses all the time. It is not easy for us to explore and create a value from our ocean, just as catching fishes from flowing stream.

As touchscreen technologies evolve and IT machines get smaller and more compact, we are capable of gathering endless information through internet connections. Obviously, that information also contains much information that you are not interested in. For an example, information about Paris Hilton enjoying her holiday at beach wearing her two-piece would not make any issue for me.

Then, what is the fish that we are looking for out of this endless stream – or, a tsunami now – of technologies and information?

I personally think that we all are seeking for a pure, breathing human being and a pure, beautiful nature where we live. Emerging technologies and overflowing information could be both nutrients and poisons, depending on who the reader is. No matter what information we get into, both incidentally and intentionally, should we not focus on more humanistic factors inside it?

For an example, nowadays, especially in Korea, we encounter with news about horrific and inhumane crimes including sexual assault almost every day. If we focus a little on criminals’ characteristics, it is pretty easy to find out that their common behaviour; they all tend to be trapped in cyber world such as internet because they lack in human relations in real world. But this obviously does not mean that internet is the factor that increases the crime.

Also, these days, I cannot even give a look at girls passing by on streets. Their eyes are full of fear and doubt towards adults now. Perhaps they are more used to staring at digital monitors rather than talking with other people looking eye to eyes. But again, it does not mean that we have to escape from this reality and go back to analogue generation.

The mental factor of our humanity is always dependent on environments. Have our surrounding environments got better as much as technologies and information? Can we really say that we are living in a better environment compared to a century before?

While we are enjoying our techy and infoy life today, no one back in 19th century or before cared about issues on global warming, nor did they care about whether your lunch today is organic or not. The eco-friendliness of consuming goods is now an issue which people care about more than the brands; or, the eco-friendliness itself could be a brand identity now. Do you still think that we are absolutely in a better environment than before?

There is no doubt that technologies and information help our environment to be better. But it really depends on what kind of them and who encounter with them. It is easy, and is getting easier, to wrap everything with those technologies and information these days. Thus, the key point is the ability to unpack the most useful pieces inside that package.

Interested in Gyunji fishing? Good luck.

by Yong Kyou Lee

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