▲ Kim, Tae-hwang(left) and Mr.Ssink(right) who created e-book with students in Holt-Ilsan Center.
There is a man who is usually called 'Kim-Tang' or 'Mr.Kim-Tang' in the cyberspace. People ask Kim, Tae-Hwang what he does. His answer is that he is a 'Culture Planner'. As a matter of fact, he doesn't like the expression either.
In 2008, he got a message from the Holt-Ilsan Center and he was asked to handle the rehab. program for the disabled residing in that center. "At that time, I was also selected for the education support program run by the Gyeonggi Provincial government. As a beginning, I started a photographic class with twelve people in the Holt-Ilsan Center. During a year, we studied together and took pictures. Furthermore, we made a short film. All the participants were fully satisfied and the program was pretty well received by people outside."
The photography class by Mr.Kim ranked on the top out of all the programs in the province in 2010. He was thinking to extend the program for another year, advised by the Gyeonggi provincial government, but he changed his mind. "Extending the same class for another year is meaningless to me as well as to my students. So, I decided to try creating e-books this time. I applied for financial support with the new idea and I got the chance again. I think I'm very lucky. I'm going to do the work even if I failed.”
At first, he started a drawing class and bought each one of them small sketchbooks. He did not concern about the money. He thought that the better the quality of the paper is, the more interest the students would have in the drawing class. Maybe thanks to the idea, there were positive responses far more than expected. Once a week, the two-hour class was too short to make them feel they couldn’t even afford to have a short break. Six months passed In that way.
"At that time, I had an iPad and sometimes I brought them to the class. The people who were not good at using a mouse were very good at using the touch-based tablet. So I installed a drawing application on it, and they drew great pictures. It was a wonderful experience for me."
There was no reason to have a complicated process. He divided the twelve people into two teams, and bought an iPad for each team. They were easily able to add layers, create characters and color them on the tablet. The process speed up.
“Sweet bath” and “Happy umbrella village” went out into the world like that. The disabled students from 20's to 50's drew stories and added their voices little by little. The process of creating a story was the most interesting part.
"The mentally disabled generally doesn't accept a fantasy. They learn how to distinguish whether a something actually exists or not during their lifetime. It is very important for them to make a clear distinction between true and false. Therefore, it is natural that they don't think any story with metaphor or fantasy makes sense at all. So, I focused on creating a story reflecting the real life of them."
“Sweet bath” is a children's story created despite these difficulties. It is a delightful and original story. "The village has a drought. The three children take a shower with the lime soda instead of the water. And then, they feel sticky." From this point, the students reflected their personal experiences in the Holt-Ilsan Center to the story. "A child who keeps ten dogs thought 'The lime soda is sweet, so the dogs will lick it.' The other child wipe the body with tissues, but it became worse and the child looked like a mummy because the tissues stick to the body on the contrary. However, the sun drank the cool soda, and it rained and stopped the long drought.
"Happy umbrella village" is as delightful and original as "Sweet bath" with warm-hearted sensibility. The name of the main character is 'Boksiri'. It is a real name of the dog that stays in the children's story class. Boksiri in the Umbrella village is delivering umbrellas to the village people. The people in the village can't live without umbrellas. Haengju in the wheelchair can stand up with an umbrella. Boknam who lives on the top of the hill can come down the hill with an umbrella.
One day, Boksiri was ill and he couldn't deliver umbrellas. The village people were at a loss. So, they went to the Donghyun's house where the umbrellas were piled up. By the way, they were hungry, because it was late at night. They cook and ate together. By doing that, there was a party everyday and all the people in the village became happy without umbrellas.
Mr.Kim Tae Hwang and the twelve students in the Holt-Ilsan Center showchased their own e-books at Junglebook Art Gallery last October. While doing that, they published an application in Apple AppStore, too. The two books have been released under Creative Commons License BY condition, so everyone can use and share them freely. If a person doesn't have an iPad, there is no problem to read them. On the PC, he or she can find 'Sweet bath' and 'Happy Umbrella Village' by accessing 'ISSUE' which is a digital publishing platform.
Mr.Ssink who collaborated with Mr. Kim for the class says the essential part of the class is not the results - the e-books they created - but the process itself. It seemed that the students enjoyed the class itself as they participated in. Through the three years’ experience, the students have naturally learned to decide who does what. Even there is a person who plays the role to watch and scold the people who was late for the class. The official class runs once a week for fifteen weeks, but when you consider the time for preparation and actual exhibition period, it is probably much longer.
For 2012, Mr.Kim is planning for a new class. This time, he's going to try 'Podcasting'. "There are a great many stories in the Holt-Ilsan Center. There’s a variety of lives in different ages. I will record their stories with their own voices. In other words, we're sort of potcasting the daily lives of the Holt-Ilsan Center. Potcasting can be a flexible communication tool and you can keep podcasts for a long time. What if my idea is not selected? Probably we're just going to do it ourselves anyway!
*These e-books are available in English
▲ Students are sketching for e-books by the 'Brush' application in ipad2
▲ a students' dog, Boksiri, is on the table. She appear on e-book, "Happy umbrella village".
▲ A production report conference of the e-books at Jungle book art gallery in Ilsan, October.
▲ A student is watching a wall which is displayed photos.
▲ A sample page in "Sweet bath"
▲ A sample page in "Happy umbrella village"
Original article is written by Lee Heewook(@asadal) from Bloter.net.
This article is translated by Kim Taekyoung(@hugearth)and reviewed by Pae Soohyun(@dreamdrawing)