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Zones of seeing: Artistic, touristic and digital images of the DMZ

Kennedy, B (2016) Zones of seeing: Artistic, touristic and digital images of the DMZ. East Asian Journal of Popular Culture, 2 (2). pp. 287-303. ISSN 2051-7084

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Abstract

The article examines visual elements of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) by considering its spatial and political uniqueness and its attraction for artists and tourists. The case study is contextualized in relation to a research project – ‘Imaging the DMZ’ – which included a visit to the ‘Real DMZ’ art project by Samuso Art Space (2012), which took place within the DMZ itself. The investigation into the ways that the DMZ has been imaged also includes observations of key artworks and conversations with contemporary artists from South Korea who visualize the DMZ, as well as analysis of online images of the area. The article argues that the DMZ’s ambiguous, yet politically divisive ontology is what makes it distinctive and appealing to the imagination of tourists, the media and artists, but that the latter may be best placed to highlight and challenge some of the more static, binary representations of the DMZ and of the two Koreas that circulate within the (post) digital world.

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