Within the choice of where and how to live, the fact remains that currently over half of the world’s population (54%) reside in urban areas largely attributed to employment opportunities. Visual Anthropologist and filmmaker Yoonha Kim (Korea) sheds light on how digital technology suggests that this specific vocational benefit of city life is actually available worldwide in different formats with simply a stable Wi-Fi connection. Nine to five office jobs shift towards goal oriented remote jobs, Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) open access to high quality education, and social media offer the rapid exchange of ideas and information.
Yoonha Kim’s film takes place within the context of 3.4 million abandoned, empty houses in Spain, primarily in rural and often picturesque areas. A group of individuals, able to reap the economic benefits of urban life from a remote area, seized the opportunity to build a new model of ‘counterunbanization’ in these abandoned villages. She has coined these modern-day pioneers, “Buillagers” – the village builders.
Kim’s short documentary switches from online to offline, following different Buillagers connected by online communities. She begins with a London based team, Finding Aldea, who aim to repopulate an abandoned village using social media. Their lofty ambition which has garnered the support of the rural village mayor is utopian, yet remains significant in its suggestion of a new opportunity for living.