Speaker: Boyoung Chang (Postdoctoral Fellow East Asian Art, Department of Art History
“Faraway, so close: North Korea in Contemporary Visual Culture“
Discussant: Saena Ryu Dozier (Recent graduate; PhD in Asian Literatures, Cultures, and Media; University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)
Friday, April 9th, 2021
4:45 – 6:45 pm CST, Zoom meeting (please find the registration link below)
What is the perception of North Korea of the rest of the world and how has it been mediated through visual arts? Are there alternative ways to represent the country without othering it? This research problematizes the stereotyped representations of North Korea and suggests alternative ways to understand North Korea through the visual arts. The national division caused two Koreas to show different paths to development, and the North has been isolated as one of the few communist countries in the world. With the demise of the international Cold War, it has been further stigmatized and ridiculed, mostly in the West. Either they satirize the dictatorial rule of North Korea or supposedly ‘look into’ the hermit kingdom, I argue, what the images of North Korea eventually reveal is the inaccessibility to the country. On the contrary to the assumption of providing a penetrating view of the country, this paper also discusses, some contemporary Korean artists bring the impossibility of fully experiencing the other Korea to the fore and visualize the mediated experience of the country. By incorporating their proxy experience of the North, their works anchor North Korea in history and in relation to South Korea, instead of accentuating its otherness and isolation from the rest of the world.
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Dr. Boyoung Chang is a postdoctoral researcher in the Center of the Art of East Asia in the Department of Art History at The University of Chicago. Her research focuses on contemporary Korean photography. She is interested in how the history of Korean photography intertwines with the nation’s dynamic modern and contemporary history. Her research interests also include several topics in global photography and contemporary Asian art, such as the aftermath of World War II, the ramification of the cold war, globalization, and cultural identity.
Chang has published such articles as “Post-Trauma: How contemporary Korean photography reconstructs political history of Korea” in the Korean Bulletin of Art History and is now working on a book project that addresses the history of Korean photography from the mid-20th century to the present day, with a particular interest in the socio-political landscapes around artistic productions.
Dr. Saena Dozier received her PhD in Asian Literatures, Cultures, and Media from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 2020. She was a Korea Foundation research fellow and a Diversity Predoctoral teaching fellow at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Dr. Dozier’s expertise is in Korean culture and media with an emphasis on Korean cinema.
She published “Coming Home: Finding Our Space of Innocence Through Sagŭk Films” in the International Journal of Korean History. Her upcoming article “Ever-Evolving Nostalgia: A Quest for Innocence in Sagŭk Films” will appear on Écrans de nostalgie, Special Issue of Cinémas.