[KS] KCTV's hour-long paean to Kim Jong-un yesterday can now be seen in full by all

Frank Hoffmann hoffmann at koreaweb.ws
Mon Jan 9 17:24:59 EST 2012

An afterthought relating to the article by Rüdiger Frank (thanks for the link):

The intro basically describes what we so nicely 
put as "unsere Befindlichkeit" in German 
language, our current constitution, mentally, 
economically, politically, health-wise, and the 
current state of all our senses. What is true for 
the perception of news from North Korea is true 
for everything else--isn't it?

My real point is this: as we have all noticed 
"North Korea" has been converted to some sort of 
-- how to put it best? -- well, some sort of 
Manga theme. The visual representation of North 
Korea and the reception of visual representations 
received from North Korea has completely changed 
in the past few years! Just look at the many 
exhibitions of North Korean art and other images 
everywhere. North Korea is now as much part of 
"communist chic" as is Che Guevara ... while Che 
Guevara is long dead, North Korea has become a 
living zoo animal. The interest in North Korea, 
as Professor Robinson expressed and also Rüdiger 
Frank, is an interest in the countries icons, and 
how those can entertain us in rather cheapish 
ways. It is a truly voyeuristic situation that we 
have there, no more, no less.
What I now wonder is, if that does not also apply 
to North Korea itself, to the situation in North 
Korea? North Koreans are to a very amazing degree 
reduplicating their propaganda art works, 
posters, etc. ... they market all this as good as 
they can, even advertise museum shows overseas 
(that is, offer for example ANYONE to become an 
official représentant of NK interests to e.g 
organize museum shows). Those dry TV 
documentaries maybe one thing, but posters and 
other colorful propaganda items ... it seems to 
me that the 'revolution' that we see happening 
(maybe) in North Korea could be one caused by 
their sell-off, making themselves into some sort 
of living cult paraphernalia that make them look 
like former Soviet officers selling their own war 
decorations and uniforms at flee markets. Aren't 
we all in a way selling all our 20th century 
belongings at flee markets now? VISUAL CULTURE, 
and the changes in the role of visuality could in 
this way be decisive in the change -- influencing 
not just Western or other Asian audiences, but 
changing the players' minds on stage.


>Don and Aidan:
>I just watched the balance of the video, and 
>must say that however much we try to cast the 
>North Koreans as real people, the DPRK state 
> propaganda machine is always producing  such 
>material that works more to undermine a serious 
>discussion of the state, society, and 
>leadership.   Such is the power of the visual, 
>most people don¹t see it necessary to go beyond 
>the quick laugh.  I thought Ruediger Frank¹s 
>recent essay in Japan Focus was a good 
>corrective on the video.
>Or perhaps this has already been mentioned:
>Happy New Year All,
>Mike Robinson

Frank Hoffmann

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