One Escape at a Time 하루하루 탈출한다
8 Sept—21 Nov 2021

About About


One Escape at a Time

Escapism often carries with it a negative connotation, as if those who partake in it are dreamers, lost and afloat. But what if we were to embrace it, turn it around, and reimagine our relationship with escapism?

One Escape at a Time is inspired by ideas of escapism, especially in the context of the current popular media landscape.

The US sitcom One Day at a Time (2017–20), first produced and made available for streaming worldwide by Netflix, is a contemporary update of the 1970s sitcom of the same name. It charts the life of a three-generation Cuban American family sharing the same roof in Los Angeles. Despite its seemingly conventional format, the sitcom flips the norms of media representation and disguises its central concerns with laughter while tackling some of the most urgent and human questions today: racism, gender, class, sexuality, identity, migration, gentrification, and violence, among others.

Programs and other media like One Day at a Time that utilize escapism as a conduit for engaging or confronting sociopolitical subject matter are a key starting point for the Biennale. Their tactics make it possible for us to reconsider our perceptions of escapism, which in turn may enable us to better reflect on and navigate our fractured and troubling world.

In light of the current global Covid-19 pandemic and widespread lockdown measures, escapism has become all the more symbolic and relevant. It is still too soon for any of us to fully understand the pandemic’s lasting impact, but we all feel its immediate effects. Even as the isolation of millions in their own homes has brought about a mass appetite for forms of micro-escape, many people have mobilized on the streets to take a stand against racial and social injustices over the past year. In this new and confusing reality, perhaps we need to go beyond the proposition of simply embracing escapism. Rather, we can utilize it as a critical mechanism for confronting and connecting with the world we live in.


Artistic Director

Yung Ma

Yung Ma most recently served as Curator of the Contemporary Art and Prospective Creation Department at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. He has recently organized or co-organized the solo exhibition HX by Cao Fei (2019), the group exhibition China Africa (2020), and the special collection display Global Resistance (2020) at the museum. He was previously Associate Curator of Moving Image at M+, Hong Kong (2011–16), where he developed the institution’s moving image collection. While at M+, he also conceived the ongoing M+ Screenings series (2016–) as well as exhibitions such as Mobile M+: Moving Images (2015). Ma was twice Co-Curator of the Hong Kong Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2009 and 2013).


Established in 2000 as an initiative of the Seoul Metropolitan Government, Seoul Mediacity Biennale is organized by the Seoul Museum of Art. The Biennale is internationally recognized for forging new links between art, media, and the urban fabric. A recurring, significant, and critically lauded presence in Seoul over the past twenty years, the Biennale is a hallmark of the city’s commitment to art and culture, and an acute reflection of the museum’s mission to expand its reach to an ever wider and more diverse audience.

2018 Eu Zên

2016 Neriri Kiruru Harara

2014 Ghosts, Spies, and Grandmothers

2012 Spell On You

2010 Trust

2008 Turn and Widen

2006 Dual Realities

2004 Digital Homo Ludens

2002 Luna's Flow

2000 City: Between 0 and 1

Exhibition view of the 10th Seoul Mediacity Biennale, 2018.


The Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA) is Seoul’s Network Museum with seven branches spread across the city that intersect with, complement, and reinforce each other by responding to changes in art and society.
Located in the center of Jeong-dong, a district that retains traces of Seoul’s modern and contemporary history, the main museum integrates the façade of the former Supreme Court with modern architecture. In addition to various programs—encompassing exhibitions, learning and outreach initiatives, screenings, workshops, performances, and talks—communal spaces including SeMA Café+, the art bookstore, the open space lobby, and the outdoor sculpture park provide a wide range of ways for visitors to experience art.

View of Seoul Museum of Art.

SeMA-Hana Media Art Award

Founded in 2014 and sponsored by the Hana Financial Group, the SeMA-Hana Media Art Award is a major showcase of the group’s commitment to raising the profile and public awareness of modern and contemporary art in Korea. Co-organized by Seoul Museum of Art in conjunction with the Seoul Mediacity Biennale, the award is dedicated to supporting and fostering a sustained ecology of art production and knowledge sharing between practitioners and the public. Selected by an international jury, the award is presented to a participant or participants in recognition of their vision and artistic contribution to the Biennale.

SeMA-Hana Media Art Award co-recipient Christine Sun Kim’s Game of Skill 2.0 (2015). Installation view at the 9th Seoul Mediacity Biennale, 2016. Photo: Gim Ik Hyun and Hong Cheolki.