This project holds a story about Opo Sedae (Five giving-up generation), a social issue caused by South Korea’s unstable economical structure and high unemployment rates. Opo Sedae is a neologism in South Korea referring to a generation that gives up five crucial prospective plans: courtship, marriage, childbirth, employment, and home ownership. The younger generation, mostly in their 20s and 30s, give up these five future elements after coming to a conclusion that they simply do not have the financial capacity to start a family and shift their concentration to living a single lifestyle. Locations and services that offer single activities such as dining alone and drinking alone are becoming socially acceptable and receiving the spotlight. This social phenomenon may become the future norm. People of this Opo Sedae often times drop by a dessert cafe on their way home after a long day at work, just to purchase an expensive (eight to ten euros worth of) piece of cake for themselves. This piece of sweetness proves to them that despite giving up a lot in life, they can allow themselves to indulge in something small but tasty, a short moment of luxury. Due to this social phenomenon and popularity, dessert shops are on the rise in South Korea.
The idiom ‘it is a piece of cake’ came to my mind. This idiom and the social phenomenon of indulging in an expensive piece of cake to make up for the given up life choices are an incredible paradox because the act of purchasing an expensive piece of cake is, to these people, the opposite of ‘a piece of cake’. This paradoxical and ironic social phenomenon had to be spoken about. Through this project, I wanted to give people an opportunity to become aware of this particularly lonesome generation that gave up everything due to the unstable economic downfall. Furthermore, although it is out of my hands to solve this social problem, I wished to grow empathy and give comfort.
Playing with the idea that a small piece of cake could identify with and represent a difficult reality, I took out essential keywords that are in common with the five given up life choices. With these keywords, I made a form language, and then applied these form languages to five special cakes with directions on how to eat them. Through the designed action of cutting and eating the cakes, I wanted to remind the Opo Sedae of what they have decided for themselves, at the same time deliver a short moment of deliciousness and bliss.