Feb.20, 2014

Ad agency Cheil Worldwide has teamed up with the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and Seoul Museum of Art to create an exhibition featuring 3D printed figurines that highlight the plight of Korea's 'invisible people'.

By the end of 2013, more than 6,600 people had sought asylum in South Korea from countries such as Pakistan, Syria and Myanmar. Some 370 of them were recognized as refugees by the Korean government.

Despite living within the country, refugees have largely been neglected due to the widespread indifference and become 'invisible people'. In order to address the sad reality and shed light on their lives, Cheil Worldwide organized the exhibition as a part of its corporate social responsibility activities.

Over the last two months, the refugees had their photographs taken and 3D mini figurines were printed based on their images. In-depth interviews with the refugees were also captured on video.

The results – dozens of figurines, each no larger than a handspan – are displayed in hidden places such as stairways, shelves and windowsills of the Seoul Museum of Art. Visitors have to navigate the museum to look for the figurines, and those who find the figurines can listen to the refugees' stories by connecting their mobile phones with the QR/NFC codes inserted in each figurine.

"Although 3D printing itself is a cool technology, the reality is that we have seen too many dark sides of it, such as copyright infringement issues or weapon manufacturing. Through this exhibition, we would like people recognize 3D printing as a good-will technology. By experiencing 3D technology and touching stories, visitors would have better understanding of refugees", said Shin Seok-jin of Cheil Worldwide.

"Instead of telling people about refugees in a straightforward message, we were hoping to help visitors think and understand the difficulties and needs of refugees while finding them and listening to their stories one by one," said Song-ha Lee, a copywriter at Cheil Worldwide and co-director of the exhibition.

"Having met and spoken with refugees in Korea and Niger, I was really struck by the fact that their number one wish is 'to be heard, to be seen and to be recognized'. Not pity, not even financial support. Now I would like to ask everybody – 'how many invisible people did you pass today?'", added Lee.

The exhibition of 3D refugee figurines opened on February 7 and will run through March 2 at the Seoul Museum of Art in central Seoul.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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