Seoul, South Korea

The REAL DMZ PROJECT is a contemporary art project that explores the (in)visible boundaries of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and the border region between North and South Korea. Launched in 2011 with its first exhibition held in 2012, the Real DMZ Project has broadened the scope of its research over the past decade to include examinations of the different forms of boundaries present within South Korean society, collaborating with scholars and researchers in areas such as research, study, architecture, and ecology. That academic and scientific research into the DMZ has undergone further transformation into an artistic perspective.
As a symbol of national division, the DMZ has been erased from memory, existing as a “forgotten place” that appears only in the media and politics. Yet it is also a setting that demands awareness from the people living today. It is a place that exerts an enormous influence on North and South Korean lives not only in a political and economic sense, but also in a psychological and emotional one. The DMZ is a Cold War creation that remains in existence today, a region measuring 4km in width and 248km in length that divides the Korean Peninsula into north and south. Conflict between those two sides has persisted since the Korean War ended – not with a peace treaty, but with an armistice agreement – and the “demilitarized” region has perversely become the world’s most heavily fortified place. The situation is an international issue not only for North and South Korea, but also for the US, China, Japan, and others.
The REAL DMZ PROJECT imagines the future as it explores the ways in which the DMZ’s unseen border has affected our lives and thinking in the past and present. Bringing attention to a boundary that has gone forgotten in our lives over the past seven decades, it attempts a multilayered examination of regional, historical, social, and psychological “borders” as it raises meaningful questions about borders within contemporary society and joins artists in experimenting with different forms and themes. Intended as a long-term project from its planning stages, the Real DMZ Project considers the future of the DMZ – and of North and South Korea – as it works with artists on anticipating the future ahead.

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REAL DMZ PROJECT74-18, Yulgok-ro 3-gil, Jongno-gu
South Korea
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