BLUE NEUTRALISED ZONE
Straddling the Joint Security Area between North and South Korea is a tiny neutral area that both sides currently share. The blue Panmunjom pavilions standing here are an iconic symbol of the fragile truce that was signed in 1853. So far, however, both Koreas have put significant energy in maintaining the nonsensical conflict and maintaining prejudices about one another. With Blue Neutralised Zone, Soyoun Kim envisages extending the shared, neutral area with a total of 25 such pavilions dotted along the entire 250 km border, and turning them into information centers to bridge the current hostilities. In his dream of a future reconciliation the pavilions might help to redefine the relationship between the two Korea’s into one of harmonious co-existence.
This entails that both sides of the country will have to deal with the stereotypes and prejudices about each other (such as the illusion that the South is more, and the North is less, characterized by individualism, whereas zooming in reveals consumerist uniformity in the South and individual initiative in the North, where people have learned how to cleverly cope with harsh circumstances). The pavilions would transform the symbols of conflict, such as infiltration tunnels and propaganda loudspeakers, into new symbols of a peaceful future. Here, visitors from both sides would be able to encounter each other’s histories, conventions and culture. Kim’s hope for the future is not based on ignoring ideological and social differences, nor is it based on ignoring the past, but instead it is based on the notion of starting to know each other, understand the similarities and embrace the differences.
Graduation project, 2017