Changes are afoot here in Gwangju. The motivation to redevelop neighborhoods here is picking up steam. When I first stepped foot in Gwangju, there were numerous high-rise apartment projects around the downtown area. In about four years, housing companies are evicting neighbors and/or landowners are starting to cash in the land they’ve been sitting on for years, waiting for the right time sell. So it wasn’t a surprise when my friend and I came across this scene. The church above has been abandoned since 2010. The Seventh Day Adventists predicting the end was near, leaving for salvation. I presume other neglecting building owners sat on their property to profit from wide-eye housing redevelopment firms. We had been walking around this neighborhood since 2014, which at the time provided ample opportunity to explore and offer a fascinating peek into the former resident’s lives. Once we saw the writing on the proverbial wall, we started investing more time in walking through the neighborhood once again. One random Saturday we came across this place. As we were about to enter the house, voices were heard inside. Probably some dudes looking to salvage anything they could resell. We made a hasty retreat and promised to return the next week. I’m glad we did. This place is two blog post worthy. Today will be about the first floor, while the following entry will be about the second level.
The immediate impression we got was that the owner wanted to turn their house into their own personal art gallery. Framed art hung everywhere! There was so much art, excess art was stored in a room above the garage. The person or persons who lived here also had an interest in making art. Brushes, carving knives, and other art utensils were found in cabinets or sprayed across the floor. I was surprised by this find, as I thought the dudes from the weekend before have had a field day recovering it all. The first floor was definitely one of the moldiest places I have explored and am glad I wore a mask. Calendars dated back to 2014, so this level seems to have been abandoned since then as the mold has clearly taken over. The second floor, while incredibly dusty seemed to have been lived in longer, possibly squatted in. The rusty steel walkway was sketchy but was sturdy enough for our weight. Before we headed upstairs, we took a right and came across this cache of artwork. Here is one unfortunate piece of artwork left by a worker or vandal. Finally, here is a view of the surrounding area from atop the detached garage. We couldn’t stay too long here, as we were in an exposed spot. Behind us was an active walkway. Next blog, I’ll show you the exciting artifacts upstairs and explain why we named this Grandma’s House.