Arts Interventions Development


Pyongyang, North Korea, 2008

The icebreaker project that set the ball rolling (pun intended)
for Morten Traavik's artistic interventions in North Korea
for years to come, DISCOCRACY was literally conceived on the fly.
As an innocuous and playful "testing the waters", Traavik recycled his signature (and well-travelled) disco ball from the same year's Miss Landmine Angola finals, bringing it with him as hand luggage on the long journey to "the world's most closed country". He then proceeded to carry it around with him throughout his stay, visiting sacred landmarks and rituals of the North Korean state ideology such as the Kim Il Sung Mausoleum, the Tower of the Juche Idea and the 60 year Anniversary Parade to the Founding of North Korea.

On top of the act of posing with a glitzy symbol of Western decadence, all the more so in a country where the very concept of "disco" is totally unheard of, DISCOCRACY cultivates a persona of the Western foreigner dressed up as, and with the attitude of, some kind of hybrid businessman/diplomat/popstar.

Thus, it becomes both a real-life artistic intervention in a state inherently suspicious of foreign culture, and a playful comment on real and alleged cultural imperialism.

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