A Reappraisal of Intuition in the Perception of Urban Space with Particular Reference to Cultural Development in South Korea

Hong, Young-In. 2011. A Reappraisal of Intuition in the Perception of Urban Space with Particular Reference to Cultural Development in South Korea. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis is an inquiry into the aesthetic function and practice of intuition in a multi-sensory world. It is also about how theorising intuition can address the perception of urban space. In the course of formulating a theory of intuition, two case studies are looked at: the Gyeongbok Palace restoration and the Gamdong Public Art Project, the latter taking place in the former mining towns of Gohan and Sabuk. These two case studies provide pertinent cases for claiming that a theory of intuition can be explored within the context of space and time.

My concern with reappraising intuition is motivated by analysing the differences between Korean and Western understanding of invisibility in relation to urban space. I explore invisibility through the dynamics between intensive causes and the material aspects of space. In a Korean context, invisibility indicates the ‘temporary absence of a thing’ or ‘potential visibility’ as inherent in the ‘real’. This notion of the real informs the methodology of this thesis, making me consider both internal and external aspects of urban space as parts of one indivisible mechanism. Throughout my research, an intercultural method is applied. I adapt a selective marginal European metaphysical theory of intuition to an East-Asian context, in order to formulate new concepts specific to the Korean situation. Thus, functional gi, spectres, intuitive visibility, intuitive tangibility and place-specificity are the key concepts by which I explore the constantly changing conditions of Korean modernity and the formation of urban space. Obtaining a clearer picture of urban development in South Korea through the use of these concepts reflects back on their role in the formulation of a theory of intuition. This research argues that intuition is not only an individual capacity, but also a phenomenon that is defined by objective, social and collective occurrences that affect the complex dynamics of contemporary urban space and time.

My research attempts to forge a connection between the intuitive and the political. The written part of the thesis explicates how the less visible and undervalued sides of Korean culture interact with political power to give rise to a new visibility from within that culture. My art practice tries to define the moment where a new sensibility takes form, while looking at less visible aspects of society and the spectacle of visibility in urban space as belonging to an inseparable process of becoming.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)


urban development, public art, south korea, place, modernity, public space, politics of intuition, duration, invisibility, intensity, gyeongbok palace restoration, virtuality, pungsu

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



May 2011

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

17 Feb 2012 18:40

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 08:30



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