Gold 2015 / Fine Art / Collage

North Korea, a Life between Propaganda and Reality

  • Prizes
    Gold in Fine Art/Collage, 1st place winner in Fine Art
  • Photographer
    Alice Wielinga

While the Western media follows Kim Jong-Un’s steps during his missile test launches, I travel 2,500 kilometres through the North Korean interior. Once arrived in North Korea, the images I know from my advance research correspond with the scenes my guides proudly show me during their propaganda tour. But seeing these scenes with my own eyes, I gradually discover that behind everything they present to me, a different reality is hidden. Every time I visit a factory or a farm, it turns out to be a national holiday, an excuse for why the site is inactive and workers are absent. In almost every hotel where I stay, electricity is shut down that day due to an upcoming typhoon. While I listen to my guides talking about what invaluable contributions the greatly admired leaders made to their country, I drive through a landscape that looks haggard and desolate. During my journey I collect propaganda material and take photographs of the reality I encounter. This material is the basis for my multimedia project North Korea, a Life between Propaganda and Reality. With the found propaganda images and my own photographs I compose a story that deconstructs the North Korean propaganda. The hidden side of the most isolated country in the world shimmers through the ideal the North Korean regime likes to portray.