We were asked to DJ for the launch of this timely new exhibition about the Korean border at New Art Exchange in Nottingham on Friday 26th January. As an added extra our own Ex-Friendly created a soundscape for the event and was invited on stage to talk about why he created the piece and what was its inspiration (see further down the page). Joff also performed an intriguing collision of Korean music, drones and electronic beats over 4 decks.
The Real DMZ: Artistic encounters through Korea's demilitarized zone has been curated by Sunjung KIM and The Real DMZ Project, a contemporary art project based on research conducted on the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea. The exhibition features eight South Korean artists who address the reality of the division of the Korean peninsula – the persisting violence, tension and various perceptions of North Korea.
Given North Korea's hermetic status as a nation, artists in the exhibition including Kyungah HAM, Onejoon CHE, and Seung Woo BACK, question the representations of North Korea that permeate the mainstream media, and provide new, inventive possibilities of imagining the North. Envisioning the DMZ itself, Hayoun KWON has produced a video based virtual walk-through of the DMZ based on accounts from a soldier stationed there, and Soyoung CHUNG, who participated in an artist-in-residency program at Yangji-ri, a village in the border area, presents an installation inspired by the lights she saw in the dark imagining they were signals from the North. Photographs by Heinkuhn OH and PARK Chan-kyong feature young soldiers from the South and North respectively. Heinkuhn OH's portraits show conflicting moments of violence, anxiety and absurdity, and PARK Chan-kyong's new video piece reveals the vulnerable, humanistic sides of North Korea through ordinary and tender moments of childhood. The exhibition also features new work by Yeondoo JUNG.
The Real DMZ is part of the Midlands Korea Season (led by NAE and Eastside Projects) and Korea/UK 2017-18, a national celebration of British and Korean art and culture. The show has been financially supported by Arts Council England and Arts Council Korea (ARKO).
Ex-Friendly - "A piece I created for the launch event of 'The Real DMZ' exhibition at New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK - Exploring the weaponizing of sound systems that the South Korean military use to sonically bombard the North with pop music and propaganda. Using only samples from North and South Korean music and news as well as field recordings of the eerie synthesizer music that is played at Pyongyang train station, I've tried to capture the war-like tension and humour inherent in this purposefully spiteful attempt at annoyance at the one of the most volatile borders on Earth."
Visit the exhibition here: THE REAL DMZ