By Robert Worrall
In collaboration with Winterlude, the Korean Cultural Centre is hosting an exhibition celebrating the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games until March 9. The PyeongChang Games themselves run from Feb. 9-25.
“PyeongChang 2018: Passion. Connected” is a multimedia, virtual reality “real time experience” of the Olympic Games, according to the Elgin Street centre.
The name comes from the official slogan of the games: “Passion. Connected”.
The exhibit is divided into four sections. The first one visitors see is an array of three multimedia screenings. The first two screens provide information about this year’s Olympics as well as Korea’s sporting history over the past 70 years.
Photos of Korean athletes and their medals are seen on the third screen.
Section two has a podium replica and two full-sized Olympic banners to serve as props for visitors to take photos with, along with medal replicas. It also features the Games’ official mascot, a white tiger named Soohorang, which translates to “protection” in Korean.
The third section consists of a virtual reality headset experience.
This “immerses people into the real time experience,” said Moonsun Choi, senior adviser at the cultural centre, which is located at 150 Elgin St. “People can be sliding down the ski hill, or playing hockey on the ice.”
The fourth section is an auditorium where KCC will provide live viewing of events that Korean athletes are competing in. This will include team events as well as performances by individual Korean athletes.
A curling match between Korea and Canada will be the first event to air on Feb. 11.
Depending on how long people choose to watch the live games, Choi said, a full walkthrough of the exhibition could take about an hour.
The exhibition was prompted by the fact that this is South Korea’s first time hosting the Winter Olympics.
Notably, however, a recent agreement between North and South Korea will see athletes from the two countries competing as a single team in certain events.
The Koreas will march in the opening ceremonies using the Korean Unification Flag and use a Korean folk song called Arirang as the anthem. There will also be a joint ice hockey team with members of both countries.
“We just want to share this meaningful experience altogether,” said Choi.
Choi explained that the exhibition was conceived under a “citizen of the world” philosophy, and hopes that it will help bring Koreans, Canadians and everyone else together.
She said the KCC wanted to “share the passion that all Olympic athletes put together.”
Quentin Grotte, poster-maker and executive member of communications for the University of Ottawa Korean Student Association, echoed that optimism about the Olympic Games and the exhibition itself, saying that Korea hosting its first Olympic Games is a “huge feat.”
“People are going to be more interested after this … Now we should show the world again that Korea is not just electronics, K-pop, and Soju (a popular alcoholic drink in South Korea),” he said.
After stating that “we should do more” to represent Korean culture in Ottawa, Grotte said the exhibition will be good for Koreans and Canadians alike.
“For the Koreans, this event is just one more thing that makes us proud of our country,” he said. “And for foreigners, it gives a better view of Korea in the sports world, and makes them willing to visit this country that is still growing and getting known all around the world.”
The exhibition is free to the public and runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday.