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Hayoun Kwon

489 years

Galerie Sator, Paris

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Hayoun Kwon
489 years
11 min 18 s
Format & Technical

Video 16/9
Edition of 3/5 + 2AP

The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a strip of land, 248km long and 4km wide, which separates North from South Korea. The Korean peninsula is today the only region that remains divided in such a way. Originally the final battlefield of the Korean War, the DMZ as we know it today was established as a result of the Cold War.
According to data compiled by the South Korean Ministry of National Defence, it would take 489 years to remove all the landmines in the area. As estimated, the mines kill more than a hundred soldiers every year. In near-total isolation for over 60 years, the DMZ has become a nature reserve and a sought-after tourist destination. Despite its name, it is one of the world’s most heavily militarized areas.
This project consists of a transcription of an account of the zone by a former South Korean soldier, Kim. We gain access to the DMZ as he immerses us in his personal memories. Relating an anecdote from a reconnaissance mission, he shares the stunning discovery that he made in an unidentified minefield, where explosives were placed by the South Korean army although it was not recorded on any maps. He speaks of a place where man is forbidden to tread and which has been reclaimed by nature. This piece is an invitation to encounter the memories of a man whose past and present blur with one another, a fundamentally paradoxical vision where the dignity of nature surpasses an omnipresent lethal danger.


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