“Enter Pyongyang” is an observational film of the capital of North Korea created by JT Singh and Rob Whitworth. It’s an interesting watch and does show the capital in a less common light. Though, I can’t help but be distracted by what lays beyond the capital and what isn’t pictured.
Despite not living there anymore, Chicago and the people in it are still close to my heart. In honor of that, check out Zane Davis’s new Tumblr dedicated to a Chicago bridge.
For anyone who is curious, I’m based in San Francisco now.
An image I took this summer looking across to North Korea from Paju
North Korea is mentioned on occasion in this space. Below is yet another collection of links about the country.
An essay by Kim Jong Il’s former cook. He traveled all over the world to satisfy Kim Jong Il’s decadent cravings. In the end, he used one of those trips to escape.
If you’re on the Korean peninsula next September you should check out the DMZ Korean International Documentary Film Festival. September 17-24, 2014 in Paju and Goyang.
North Korea and Choco pies, one of our favorite convenience store desserts when we’re in South Korea.
Apex Art’s exhibition from 2012, A Postcard from Afar: North Korea From a Distance curated by Mark Feary.
By North Korean artist, Kouk Kun Son, as part of the DMZ International Installation Art Exhibition (2013)
PARA SITE in Hong Kong just opened Great Crescent: Art and Agitation in the 1960s: Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Part of the statement about the exhibition reads: “A small essay of comparative art history, this exhibition highlights “anti-art” performative tendencies in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan in the 1960s—a decade of turbulence and transformation worldwide, which was also a critical period in the social and political, as well as cultural and artistic histories of the three neighboring countries.”
The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea is now open! According to e-flux, “MMCA Seoul will approach citizens as a familiar and inviting museum by leading public-friendly programs, and aspires to be a “comprehensive museum integrating the past and future in the present,” a “central museum for Korean art in enhancing global diversity,” and an “open museum inducing cultural development.” The MMCA website is here. For other contemporary art space in the area click here.
This week thinkers in Korea will be thinking about the Busan Biennale upcoming in 2014: “The Busan Biennale, which is set to celebrate its eighth biennial event in 2014, seeks to explore differentiation strategies in an increasingly competitive global biennale ecosystem and reflect on the characteristics of the ecosystem which can benefit the Busan Biennale and the methods of establishing the system.” via e-flux
A few months ago I wrote a post about art around the DMZ. Projects are continually popping up. Most recently, I ran across DMZ International Installation Art Exhibition (see image above). I found the project via the artist Jung S. Kim who I found through this investment advice.
As a compliment to my article, “Supplementary Skins”, my most recent post for Art Radar Asia, “Giant cyborgs and miniature humanoids: male nudes in South Korean art” reviews work by Lee Yongbaek, Choi Xooang, Dongwook Lee, Hyungkoo Lee, and Kim Joon. See an excerpt below.
Korea is the male make-up capital of the world and cosmetic surgery for men is becoming increasingly prevalent. For business or for pleasure, Korean men are willing to augment their bodies through means beyond pumping iron and following a stringent diet. This sea change in attitude towards acceptable masculinity has not escaped national or international critical comment: Sun Jung’s book Korean Masculinities and Transcultural Consumption: Yosama, Rain, Oldboy, K-Pop Idols digs deeper into changing Korean masculinity, as does Stephen J. Epstein and Rachael M. Yoo’s article “Multiple Exposures: Korean Bodies and the Transnational Imagination.”
From Jean H. Lee’s Instagram Feed
There are a couple of photographers I follow on Instagram that feature images of North Korea. One of the photographers, Jean H. Lee, was interviewed back in May. Her Instagram handle is newsjean (David Guttenfelder’s handle dguttenfelder is the other; I recommend following both). When asked about what would surprise the outside world about North Korea she says, “When I show my photos and videos of daily life in North Korea, or share anecdotes about what it’s like to live and work with North Koreans, people are most surprised by how “human” North Koreans seem because the picture we usually get is so orchestrated. But like the rest of us, they laugh, they cry, they joke, they fight. They love to tell jokes, they love to dance, they love to sing.”
On another note, The Real DMZ Project opened July 27, the sixtieth anniversary of the cease-fire. According to the project’s website, “The Real DMZ Project is a contemporary art project based on researches of the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) and the border district. It began in 2012 and will be proceeded as a long term project with interdisciplinary researches and practices. This year, it aims to elaborate on geopolitical meanings of the border region of DMZ in Cheorwon through the frames of art, humanity, sociology, and science with ‘borderline’ as the keyword. Moreover, the project will seek to provide a sustainable platform where the studies of the DMZ conducted in diverse fields can be shared.” For more information visit the review on e-flux where I became aware of the project and The Real DMX Project website.
The conference I attended in Macau had film screening along with the panels. They featured two films about North Korea, each representing a different approach to the situation there: Unfortunate Brothers: Korea’s Reunification Dilemma and Memory of Forgotten War. I only viewed the second but after talking to the director of the screenings I would recommend both of the films.
If you’d like to dig deeper into the visual politics of North Korea I recommend looking into Visual Politics and North Korea: Seeing is Believing by David Shim. It will be published by Routledge later this the fall.
After this post goes live I’ll have just enjoyed a scone and coffee sitting next to Lake Michigan at sunrise with my parents and husband. A much needed pause from this (wonderful) and crazy summer. If you’d like to follow along you can find me on Instagram. Enjoy the last few days of summer.
Article on Art Radar: nudity to challenge state corruption in China, an interview with Kimsooja (who represents South Korea in the Venice Biennale this year), an interview with Afghanistan’s first female street artist, and finally, I was thrilled to see an article on Young Sun Han! Hang grew up outside of Chicago (and has since lived all over the world). I had the pleasure of meeting him last year. Some of his work addresses his North Korean heritage.
Last spring I had the privilege of seeing Young Jean Lee’s Untitled Feminist Show at the MCA in Chicago. The experience was shocking, liberating, energizing, and hands down the most intelligent and provoking work I’ve seen on a stage. I also saw a talk with Lee before the performance and met her briefly afterwards, she was humble, intelligent, and gracious. This week I was thrilled to see a piece about her “We’re Gonna Die” on the New York Times. Here’s a clip about it on NYT (I love that the next clip is about Avenue Q) and Lee’s Viemo stream.
I always enjoy immersive art via DesignBoom.
Top highlights of 2012: receiving my MA in Visual and Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) which involved both a symposium and an art exhibition, starting my teaching job at SAIC, presenting at the (In)Appropriated Bodies conference at Cornell University, starting to write for Sixty Inches From Center, and being invited to present at the International Conference of Asia Scholars in Macau (June 2013).
Below are the top read blog posts from 2012:
Thanks for reading! I hope that your 2013 is getting off to a grand start!
Exhibitions of North Korean art are generally few and far between but may be becoming less so. One of the most well-known North Korean defector, artist Song Byeok, flips his North Korean artistic training which emphasized state propaganda into satirical images of Kim Jong Il. Unlike Byeok’s artwork, the work exhibited at Galerie Son is generally idealistic landcapes created by artists who live in North Korea. Read more about the exhibition in a review on the gallery website. This exhibition was brought to my attention via Art Daily.
I was recently reminded of the wonderful Surrealist object above. The MOMA‘s gallery text about the object gives a nice overview. Just sit for ten seconds and think about using it, you can probably guess most of the gallery text from there.
In “North Korea in Contrast” the New York Times blog Lens posted an article last week about David Guttenfelder, accordingly to the article he is the only person from the West who has been allowed to photograph North Korea. The images focus on the capital of North Korea, Pyongyang.
For those of you working on a thesis or dissertation, I wanted to share what I use to relax after a long day of writing and researching–Lisa Eldrigde online make-up tutorials. I realized last night this might be my version of watching Bob Ross.