The airline ticketing agents were having a fiasco trying to decide what additional fees should be charged, as our checked bag was outside any of their typical luggage guidelines. And going through customs with a fish shaped miniature coffin tends to raise a few questions as well.
We had six days(Monday to Saturday) to complete the design coffin for the Gwangju Biennale. Eric had decided beforehand that the design coffin for the biennale should be an object that is unique to Korea. The soju bottle was the perfect choice as soju is a popular liquor that is native to Korea and thus symbolic of the Korean culture.
ABOVE: Eric works on smoothing out the neck of the bottle
We (Eric Adjetey Anang, Jean-Michel Rousset, and myself) spent our first morning in Gwangju searching for all the necessary tools and raw materials to construct the coffin. We had the best of the biennale staff as a translator and guide, Christiana Chae; and luckily a store owner volunteered to chauffeur us around town to get our supplies(he really did!). After getting our equipment unpacked and workplace set up, we began roughing-in the cylindrical shape of the bottle until we closed shop at 10pm.
ABOVE: Eric and I work on sanding the wood filler on the bottle to a smooth finish
BELOW: Eric Adjetey Anang and Jean-Michel Rousset, Eric's promoter and Public Relations Manager
For the next couple of days we continued to work on getting the wooden structure of the soju bottle made. We fortunately had the luxury of power tools to help expedite the making process. Unfortunately I was sick for part of the time, so Eric worked on the coffin with Jean-Michel assisting while I was under the weather. On friday, all the woodworking was complete and we started to "dress" the coffin by planing it into shape and filling any holes with wood filler. It took 3 coats of primer, with filling and sanding in between coats to get the coffin ready for the final coat of paint.
ABOVE: Eric touches up the coffin with filler right before the final coat of paint is applied
BELOW: I spray the final coat of paint on the Soju Bottle
We sprayed the final coat of (soju) green paint on the coffin and then lined the inside of the coffin with white satin cloth. By noon we had begun to work on sketching out the details on the soju label. We worked as hard and as fast as we could, painting the details of the maple leaves and the typeface of the soju label; but we were unable to complete the final touches to the label before the Biennale Hall closed at 6pm. We woke up early on sunday morning and completed all the final details on the soju bottle before we had to begin our journey back to Ghana.