David Chessrown

David Chessrown

Brooklyn, NY, US


MDL Islands: An Ephemeral Landscape Between the Two Koreas

MDL Islands seeks to blur the geopolitical boundaries created by the Demarcation Zone between the two Koreas through the revelation of the underlying ecological systems within the Han River Estuary. The site under investigation, like many areas along the border, has been inaccessible for many years. The resulting high level of biodiversity present has been extremely attractive to ecologists, biologists and environmentalists alike, but has only been studied with rare occasion and can only be experienced by the tourist from highly controlled observation points within the Civilian Control Zone. Our proposal purposefully blends the activities of scientific research and ecotourism with a series of interrelated floating gardens throughout the river; utilized by ecologists to trace the changes within controlled landscapes over time and enjoyed by the tourist as a compendium of emblematic Korean landscapes within the estuary.

We see the project being carried out in three phases; Mimicking, Drifting and Learning.

Initial ecological studies of the wetland ecosystems surrounding the Han River will function as the basis for the creation of artificial habitats carried within the floating pod structures.

These pods display the pristine state of the various ecosystems along the tidal transect of the salt marsh wetland.

Pods are allowed to drift throughout the estuary, at the will of the shifting currents and daily tidal fluctuations, collecting data on the dynamic abiotic factors of the site.

These nomadic pods also function to interact with the native environments, exchanging seeds and thereby spreading the idealized landscape to the natural and vice versa.

The pods are returned to the central configuration at various intervals where the pods are studied by researchers from the North and the South for differences, thus tracking the flow of energy through the natural ecology.

The congregated floats become an enjoyable abstracted landscape for tourists from both Koreas as a temporary trans-boundary park.

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Status: School Project
Location: DMZ, Korea
Additional Credits: Partner: Alex Smith