Cold War, Hot Peace

Cold War, Hot Peace


Tomás Saraceno, DOF (Degrees of Freedom), 2014. Cheorwon Peace Observatory, DMZ, Korea.

February 22, 2015

Cold War, Hot Peace
February 26–April 12, 2015

Opening: February 26, 6:30–8:30pm

4017 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3513

T +1 215 701 4627
F +1 215 764 5783

Slought, the Department of English and the Program in Cinema Studies at the University of Pennsylvania are pleased to announce Cold War, Hot Peace, an exhibition about the REAL DMZ PROJECT curated by Sunjung Kim and Nikolaus Hirsch. The exhibition features works by artists—including Mark Lewis, Yang Ah Ham, Dongsei Kim, Florian Hecker, Ingo Niermann, Tomás Saraceno, John Skoog, Koo Jeong A, and others—that explore inner-Korean border areas near Cheorwon-gun in South Korea. 

Korea, with its antagonistic division north and south of the Military Demarcation Line around the 38th parallel, remains frozen in time, yet in permanent threat of the overheated political paranoia along the world’s most heavily armed border. The 60-year-long ceasefire has created its own spatial paradoxes and cultural ironies, a time caught somewhere between cold war and hot peace. 

After the Korean War came to a halt with the ceasefire agreement on July 27, 1953, the DMZ was immediately installed: four kilometers wide and 248 kilometers across, giving the entire peninsula an ideologically insecure security belt of sorts. South of it, the Civilian Control Line was set up some five to 15 kilometers from the Southern Limit Line, and the area in-between came to be called the Civilian Control Zone. Since then, the hot war has turned into what could be seen as the last relic of the now-very-real Cold War. Indeed, the impact of ideology remains omnipresent: an oppressive presence of military infrastructures such as checkpoints, fences, and guard posts; and the sites of the so-called “Security Tour” such as the DMZ Peace Plaza and the Cheorwon Peace Observatory that reflects Sunshine politics. The other, often neglected reality is the DMZ’s wild natural landscape with its rare species and agricultural territory cultivated by farmers in the Civilian Control Zone, an area in which civilian access is strictly regulated.

The REAL DMZ PROJECT is a contemporary art project based on research conducted on the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Having begun with a critical perspective on the ironies that surround the Demilitarized Zone, the project has expanded by experimenting not only with artworks in situ but also within the field of the humanities and social sciences. Hence the project investigates the paradoxical conditions of conflict while imagining a new, alternative reality for the Demilitarized Zone. The REAL DMZ PROJECT strives to give voice to the historical, political, and social strife that has resulted from the political division. The project approaches the issue from the perspective of the participating artists, shedding light on the ruptured and distorted perceptions, the forgotten or erased stories, and the untimely speculations about the future.

Participants: Mark Lewis, Koo Jeong A, Tomás Saraceno, Yang Ah Ham, Dongsei Kim, Florian Hecker, Ingo Niermann, Okkyung Lee, John Skoog, Thomas Keenan

Curated by Sunjung Kim and Nikolaus Hirsch

Roundtable on February 26 with Nikolaus Hirsch and Thomas Keenan
Performance by Okkyung Lee

In cooperation with Artsonje Center, Samuso – Space for contemporary art Supported by Arts Council Korea, Cheorwon County, Goethe-Institut Korea

For further information: / 

Slought (‘Sl-aw-t’) is a non-profit organization on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania that engages publics in dialogue about cultural and socio-political change in Philadelphia, the world, and the cloud. For over a decade, we have worked with artists, communities, and institutions worldwide to develop projects that encourage inclusiveness, advocacy, and the sharing of knowledge.  



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February 22, 2015

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