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Star Wars Science & Art Exhibit In Pusan, Korea

Posted By Dustin on July 4, 2006

The following report was submitted by fan of TheForce.net, Chris Marsh.



On Saturday, July 1st, The Star Wars Science & Art exhibit opened in Pusan, South Korea. The exhibition is being held at the Bexco convention center on the outskirts of town. I had the enormous pleasure of attending the opening day of this event.



Star Wars has not quite shared its world popularity with South Korea. The movies were treated here as fun summer blockbusters but nothing more, so I had no idea what kind of turnout to expect. Getting there an hour early through the continuous monsoon rains, I rushed inside the Bexco complex fearing long lines and a dreaded wait. This was not to be as I realized the convention center was practically deserted except for some young people in black Star Wars t-shirts getting things ready.

In front of the doors to the exhibit was a small reception area for the opening ceremony. I sat down and began the rather long wait for it all to begin. As things go here, the ceremony didn't begin until fifteen minutes past the actually starting time. Although there were not many seats, only a third of them were eventually taken. Behind the seating area, a group of young students waited looking more eager to enter the exhibit than to actually stand and watch the reception. A man from the convention center explained why we were all here and then continued to introduce an endless group of important Korean men dressed very formally. As much as I could understand, some were heads of different scientific organizations, businesses, the convention center, and so on. A couple of them gave somewhat subdued and undeniably nervous speeches to the crowd.



I was getting kind of impatient when without warning the Imperial March blasted loudly forth from the convention hall speakers. Suddenly, Darth Vader and a few oddly-proportioned Stormtroopers came up the center aisle looking like they owned the place. They stood arrogantly in front of the crowd proud of their power and influence. But this was not to last for long. From behind us all, a lone and mysterious Jedi appeared to challenge Lord Vader. (This lone and mysterious Jedi looked oddly like a young Korean college student dressed in a Halloween costume.) Darth Vader and this nameless champion of virtue began to battle before all of our stunned eyes. Lightsabers streaked through the air. Blow was exchanged with blow. Tension rose to insurmountable heights. And then, to all our collective surprise, Vader fell. With one swift stroke the mysterious Jedi's blade slashed through Vader's hand, which, incidentally, came flying through the air and landed at my unworthy feet.



Then, as quickly as they came, the Jedi, the now one-handed Vader, and the oddly-proportioned Stormtroopers departed. After this dramatic interlude, things returned to normal. Three people from Lucasfilm and/or the exhibition itself were introduced, although their names were not mentioned. Together with an extraordinarily long line of Korean men in suits, they formally cut the ribbon opening the exhibition.



The exhibition itself was quite a delight to see. Upon entering, you were confronted with Anakin's Jedi Starfighter from Revenge of the Sith. Next to it stood C-3PO and R2-D2. You then passed through a strange galactic portal, and after that, in room after room were displayed props and artwork from all six Star Wars films sequentially. There was some fantastic stuff to see: Anakin's pod racer, Anakin's speeder from Attack of the Clones, the well-worn Chewbacca costume from the original Star Wars, and so on. There was also a short film presentation detailing the special effects of the films. Next to this there was a bluescreen room where you could grab a lightsaber, and then on a screen behind you, you could see yourself on Mustafar battling through plumes of lava. Finally, there was a photo room, which just consisted of a bunch of costumes lying on a table. By the time I arrive there, hours after the event opened, the costumes were a mess all scattered together in a pile, and a boy of about ten was wearing a clone troopers costume meant for a full grown man of six feet. The helmet rolled back and forth around his head. The empty legs lay crumpled and stretched along the ground as if the clone trooper had suffered some horrendous accident, severing his legs below the knees.

Taking everything in, even though I'm in my thirties, I was like a kid again. The crowd of maybe, just maybe, fifty others was not as excited as me sadly. The only other person even remotely close to my excitement was a boy of about nine years old as he stood next to the table Darth Vader was strapped to at the end of Revenge of the Sith. But I'd like to emphasize the words "remotely close"; no one seemed to be as enthused as me. It was a somewhat disappointing yet not entirely unexpected opening day for Star Wars Science & Art. The exhibit runs until October 22, and from there it is moving to Seoul.

Special thanks to Chris Marsh for the write up and the pics!





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