North Korean Mosaic: In 2005, German photographer Werner Kranwetvogel attended North Korea’s traditional “mass games” — basically large-scale dance routines with thousands of synchronized participants and singers. Now available in his book, “A Night in the Pongyang,” Kranwetvogel reveals the intricacy of these traditional tableaus which, at the time of his visit, required 30,000 schoolchildren holding as many mosaic tiles to pull off…
Article: Visiting North Korea with a Polaroid
I have to admit the novelty of seeing photos snapped by Western photographers visiting North Korea, one of the world’s most isolated locales, has worn off. I would argue that some photographers now almost fetishize the society’s strict, barren and guarded nature. All those visits are tightly controlled by the state and its minders who restrict not only where the photographers can go, see, and who they talk to, but also the specific angle at which they take a photo. If taking a photo of Kim Jong Il, for example, you must do so standing directly in front of him.
But Reuters photographer Carlos Barria traveled to North Korea and broke this mold…
Article: Kim Jong Il looking at things
Kim Jong Il Looking At Things is a single serve Tumblr site devoted to The Dear Leader…looking at things. As my high school friend Jason commented, “It’s kinda beautiful in a way. Too bad he’s a tyrant. And he lives on Mars.” I really do wish China would step in and put him and his…
Image from THE RED CHAPEL.
One of the oddest non-fiction stunts in recent memory, THE RED CHAPEL combines two inherently dubious genres — the culture-clash comedy and the ambush documentary — and pushes them to surreal extremes. The film’s director, Mads Brügger, a Danish journalist, recruited two Danish-Korean performers, Simon Jul and Jacob Nossell (who is handicapped but prefers the term “spastic”) to pose as a comedy act, and convinced the North Korean authorities to allow them to perform in the country’s capital, Pyongyang, in the spirit of cultural exchange.
Article: The "T" is for totalitarian
Webnewser’s Hunter Walker made an interesting find: North Korea’s repressive regime is apparently selling T-shirts and other kitschy propaganda through Cafepress, the online custom gift store. Promoted on the official website of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the store features stylish offerings like this one: More at Webnewser. [via Gawker.]