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 Friday, 20 December, 2002, 18:10 GMT
Pigs fly on Seoul subway
Pigs
Foot-and-mouth disease hit the pork industry hard
The Korean pig farming industry is getting a welcome promotional boost among a captive audience: the millions of passengers who use the Seoul subway system.

For three months from Friday, commuters will have the chance to travel on the "piggy train", a subway train devoted to porcine art.

In the past few years, the pork industry has been damaged by outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease and pork-related cholera.

We are not promoting and advertising, just making the daily long commute a more enjoyable experience

Chang Dong-jo Project manager
Also, according to the organisers of the subway project, Koreans tend to consider pork an inferior meat, and enjoy only certain fatty cuts, called "samgyeopsal".

Those prejudices, as the pork industry likes to see them, will be addressed by the new project, Happy Flying Pig Metro, commissioned by the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation.

Greet and eat

The external length of the train will be painted with clouds and flying pigs. When the doors slide shut, pigs will come together to shake hands.

"The inside of each car will be like a walk-through art gallery," said Chang Dong-jo, project manager.

"The first car, for example, will be covered in clouds on the ceiling, and the artists have made [pig] sculptures with aluminium and cloth and other materials."

Seoul subway map
The train will travel along the purple no.5 line
Another car will display the winning pictures entered in a pig art contest for children, while another will explore the possibilities of pork cuisine. Over 30 artists are participating.

Pig-themed performances, videos, animation, and artwork will keep children occupied during long journeys on the extensive network - and adults too, according to Mr Chang, who says the project is art, not advertising.

"We are trying to make people aware of what's going on in the pig industry.

"We are not promoting and advertising, just making the daily long commute a more enjoyable experience.

"And later, passengers will think, 'What's going on, why did they make this?' And then they will realise, 'oh, there's a problem'."

The train will not run during rush hour, to avoid damage to the installations.

Underground art

Organisers had to postpone the project until after the Korean general elections when it was realised that it might be seen as endorsing one of the candidates, who was using a piggy bank as an election mascot.

Seoul's large, efficient subway trains have been used as exhibition space before.

A "movie train" that serviced one subway line in 2001 featured carriages decked out in the style of various film genres.

The organisers were given considerable freedom - the "romance" genre carriage was clad with frilly curtains, a deep red carpet and artificial roses, and each carriage was equipped with several TV screens showing film clips.

See also:

06 Apr 01 | Asia-Pacific
19 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
02 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
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