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[Weekender] National Gugak Center goes online

Traditional music institution offers VR content to audiences at home

While the National Gugak Center in southern Seoul remains closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the center continues to put on creative gugak performances and make them available online.

As more people became more reluctant to visit concert halls out of fear of COVID-19, the center recently launched various online programs to offer quality gugak performances. One of the highlights is the virtual reality gugak experience. 

A screenshot of a VR clip created by the Busan National Gugak Center (National Gugak Center)
A screenshot of a VR clip created by the Busan National Gugak Center (National Gugak Center)

On Thursday, the center released 37 clips on its YouTube channel that make use of virtual reality technology, joining hands with the Korea Culture Information Service Agency, the Namwon National Gugak Center, the Jindo National Gugak Center and the Busan National Gugak Center.

The content ranges from an introduction to gugak instruments to three-dimensional dance practice videos to performances.

The center said the viewing angle allows viewers to enjoy gugak just as if they were onstage with the performers. The 8K videos will eventually be distributed to VR service platforms run by local telecom firms SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus.

“This program will allow the National Gugak Center to nurture a new environment of gugak performances in cooperation of traditional art and modern technology,” said Lim Jae-won, the head of the state-funded music institution.

“In the future, we are planning to record the performance clips at traditional palaces or outdoor locations, allowing users to experience Korea’s famed spots and gugak performances at the same time.”

Apart from the VR program, the center also offers an introduction to the traditional Korean performing arts as part of a program titled “Daily Gugak.”
 
A folk music group under the National Gugak Center presents “namdo sinawi,” a form of folk music practiced in the southern regions of Korea. (National Gugak Center)
A folk music group under the National Gugak Center presents “namdo sinawi,” a form of folk music practiced in the southern regions of Korea. (National Gugak Center)

A video clip is released every weekday at 11 a.m. through the national center’s website, as well as video-streaming platforms YouTube and Naver TV.

The clips aim to provide a deeper understanding of gugak, focusing on one instrument or art form at a time. The series, which began Tuesday, continues until April 14.

In addition to streaming gugak performances, the center is to stream gugak lectures and discussions every Saturday at 3 p.m. from March 28 to April 25.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)
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