Posted on Jan 13, 2016

Vimeo Staff Pick: Unveiling Korea’s Linguistic Heritage in ‘Bikini Words

Exciting news! BIKINI WORDS, a mesmerizing documentary by Seoul based cinematographer Nils Clauss, has earned the prestigious title of VIMEO STAFF PICK. This totals 5 Staff Picks in 5 years! Join me on an immersive journey as we uncover the linguistic legacy of Korea’s industrial expansion in the 1970s and 80s.

Exploring Industrial Heritage

In collaboration with Geumcheon District Office, I embarked on a visual journey that unraveled the architectural history of Seoul. Initiated by Hongsung Kim and Jinbok Wee, the minds behind Design Studio Kerb and Urban Intensity Architects, respectively, the documentary sheds light on the socio-economic impact of South Korea’s rapid growth. Dive into the narrative as we navigate the transformation of Geumcheon District from the 1960s to the mid-1990s.

G-Index: A Linguistic Time Capsule

At the heart of this documentary lies the G-index, a linguistic treasure trove from the 1970s and 1980s. This index showcases 99 words coined by the factory workers of G-Valley. These words, a mix of Korean and Konglish, provide insight into the lives of the “factory boys” and “factory girls.” Explore the linguistic landscape of Bikini Words, a term coined specifically for this film. It emphasizes its linguistic focus and references a key expression within—“Bikini Closet.”

Behind the Scenes: Crafting the Narrative

Producer Kuiock Park and I meticulously curated eight words from the G-index to construct a compelling narrative. Witness the collaborative efforts to recreate the factory workers’ living spaces at Guro Industrial Complex Labor House, where authenticity met creativity. The challenge of finding real factory workers from that era added a layer of complexity, but their participation infused the project with authenticity and a touch of humor.

Capturing Time: Cinematic Technique

Immerse yourself in the visual journey through Seoul’s changing landscapes. Contrasting the unreal setting of GUCLH with real, vanishing spaces, we utilized a Sony FS7 on a Ronin gimbal. The stylistic choice to float through the original spaces creates a nostalgic, almost dreamlike experience. Join us as we explore the remnants of a bygone era, allowing the audience to fill in the blanks.

Conclusion: A Personal Exploration

As a cinematographer deeply invested in architecture and space-related topics since 2003, Bikini Words is a continuation of my passion. Special thanks to everyone involved for their unwavering support and contributions to this meaningful project.