Mark I : 193 x 471 x 343 cm
Mark II : 161 x 337 x 211 cm


Gwangju, Korea

Do Ho Suh’s ‘In-Between Hotel’ for Travelers Journeying in between the History and Space of Gwangju

We often look for famous sites when we travel. We’re busy constantly moving from one famous site to another. That’s true not only when we travel through a physical space, but in our journeys of time into history and memory. With our perception of history, we move from one major incident to another. In reality, however, vast time and space exists in between connecting those dots of historical incidents and famous sites.

Travelers to Gwangju will also look for historical landmarks when they first visit the city, but the city simply would not have existed without the space and time in between those historical events and landmarks. Indeed, some travelers find joy in just exploring those in-between spaces and time. For those travelers in particular, the artist Do Ho Suh is offering “In-Between Hotel” with his collaborators.

Among the collaborators, Suh Architects have designed the interior and exterior of the hotel, and worked on the graphic and logo design. Kia Design Center has selected the material and color of the space, while Studio Wy + Urbanindex.Lab have researched and studied sites in Gwangju where the hotel will sit. Imagebakery has made video and multimedia designs related to the hotel, and made contacts to secure locations. Kia Motors sponsors the construction of the hotel. Ramada Plaza Gwangju provides the guest service for visitors to check in and out, while Simmons Beds provides the hotel’s mattress.

In-Between Hotel, as the first of the 2nd Gwangju Folly Project, will quietly appear in between houses and shops here and there on ordinary streets throughout Gwangju city, beginning with the start of 2012 Gwangju Biennale. A citizen of Gwangju could find the hotel on a small empty lot next to their house. It will be located in two layers of in-between spaces; it will squeeze in between two buildings, which are in nameless spaces in between famous sites. The In-Between Hotel will be able to move from one spot to another, because the hotel room is inside a truck.

The interior of the space, however, is not that different from ordinary hotel rooms — it’s got a bed, a TV and a toilet. The only difference from other hotels is that In-Between Hotel doesn’t pretend to be a glamorous landmark in order to attract guests. In-Between Hotel will instead be camouflaged with patterns of bricks and slates, and quietly merge into your neighborhood. Houses and shops nearby will become temporary neighbors of In-Between Hotel and its guest. They will also provide various services such as dining for the guest.

In-Between Hotel is not just a tiny hotel room on a truck. Your house or a shop may become part of the hotel and connect you with the guest. This hotel is also different in that your friendship with the guest will be part of their traveling experiences. The hospitality you offer will be part of the hotel environment. This is why you as an individual will become an important collaborator as well as the artwork itself. The hotel room will travel to a different location in between houses or shops before a new guest checks in. This will naturally expand the territory of In-Between Hotel throughout the city of Gwangju. Indeed the guest will walk into the artwork and become part of the work as well.

In-Between Hotel will revive itself when a guest makes a reservation through its website. When the guest goes to the place designated by the website, a member of In-Between Hotel staff will appear there and take the guest to the space where In-Between Hotel sits. The guest who enters the hotel room can then look up his or her neighbors and owners of nearby shops – people like you — through a kiosk. The visitor can then read your greeting messages at the kiosk. You can introduce your shop’s best-selling item or your best breakfast menu. The guest can also learn about stories of previous guests who have stayed in the hotel room from other locations. The story might be about a street cat that lives in between spaces somewhere – or something more dramatic.

The guest of In-Between Hotel will accumulate his or her own experiences of the hotel room to add to stories of other guests from other in-between spaces and times where the hotel stayed. Those in-between spaces from various times and spaces will connect into a network, and create a new face of Gwangju — a face different from the one most of us already know from sites commemorating the grand epics associated with the city’s history.

In-Between hotel will present a new face of Gwangju for those already living in the city, such as yourself. From when you were informed that a hotel will come into an empty lot next to your house that you have paid little attention to, you must have begun to see the lot in a new light. When the hotel room in the truck actually comes into the lot, the site will be transformed into a completely new space with the hotel, both physically and psychologically. That space will no longer be the same even after the hotel truck moves to another location, as it will contain new memories. Each in-between space that the hotel stays in will become different and unique, with the interaction and memories between you and the guest. Sometimes you and the guest might have different impressions of the same space and remember it differently.

In-Between Hotel strictly locates within a certain context, and it shifts into various appearances depending on the context of time and space or even the psychological context of its participants. In-Between Hotel resists becoming a monument that will be independent from its surroundings and will be permanent. With its mobility and ability to attract citizens’ participation, In-Between Hotel will be an anti-monument that will actively relocate from one context to the next.