Real DMZ Project 2013 From the North

2013-8-20

For the Real DMZ Project, a group of artists from around the world were invited to focus their attentions on the so-called Iron Triangle of Korea), an region which is now largely in the "Demilitarized" Zone that bisects Korea into its Northern and Southern halves. A selection of the works developed as part of the project are on display at the Artsonje Center in Seoul, the rest are in Cheorwon close to the dividing line.

There are many things that can be said about North Korea, but there is little doubt that it is one of the most unique places on earth. While looking at two books of photographs by Armin Linke, I was accosted by a middle-aged Korean man who was also viewing the photographs. He inquired as to whether or not I knew the difference between the two books - apparently he wanted to know if I realized that one book contained pictures of North Korea, whereas the other showed pictures of the South (or at least, the South side of the DMZ). I assured him that I did, and he seemed satisfied. Later, as I sat watching a film (Madame & Little Boy) two younger Koreans sat next to me and gasped in shock at the footage of North Korea's famous mass gymnastics demonstrations. Whatever the exhibition may be about for outsiders, for South Korean's it seems to be about realizing just how narrowly they avoided the same fate. When, at the end of Escape from North Korea, the protagonist asks "Dont you feel sorry for all the others like me who haven't escaped?" How could we not?

The Real DMZ Project: From the North is at the Artsonje Center in Seoul until the 22nd of September, 2013


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