Post - Border Line by Jinhyun Cha

Issue 113

A human history is a cycle of creation, development, and extinction of physical and philosophical products accompanied by wars. Accordingly, wars begin from human’s survival instincts to fight for the fundamentals of life and develop into invasion set off by individual and group interests; after the rise of capitalism, it expanded to the issues of distribution of wealth, governmental power, and the battles of hegemony which resulted in massacre and carnage.

Of course, we must not overlook idolatry wars as well as culture wars. At this point, I’m trying to reinterpret the true identity of Korea, the world’s only divided nation, and the boundaries of ideologies through my work. I hope to reveal how the legacy deviated form the war became mystified and how the war products turned into cultural or political capitals. I want my work to show how so many different groups have coexisted under the absurd system that demands self-sacrifice for the greater good, such as those who lost the loved ones during the war, dispersed families due to the truce, as well as North Korean refugees.

The excessive expansion of capitalism spoiled the purity of the land. The border areas and the DMZ already degraded to tourist destinations, and the promotional slogans for peace, liberty, or reunification turned into well-displayed products in a showcase. Furthermore, a mass of scrap metal once used in wars became part of theme parks. Just like this, capitalism changes the bitter memories of the war into mere market products all at once. The recent incidents in Korea, like the Cheonan Navy Ship sinking, the Yeonpyeong attack or North Korea’s nuclear problem, suggest that the wars are not over yet. Despite such insecurity and distress, the logic of capitalism constantly encourages consumption, and even the government participates in this phenomenon.

Korea is a nation that most quickly overcame the aftermath of the civil war, and guarantees liberty and equality based on democracy; however, I’d like to speak about the other side of this country as revealing immanent ongoing wars and how they have been consumed and propagandized. We are living in the world where innocent war victims are treated like extras in a movie. As standing on the 155 miles long boarder of this only divided nation, I hope to show the calamity caused by ideology conflicts and boundaries between remembrance and forgetfulness.

Jinhyun Cha lives and works in South Korea.
To view more of Jinhyun's work, please visit his website.

 The Korean War Armistice Agreement,  2015

The Korean War Armistice Agreement,  2015

 
 Two soldiers standing inside and outside, 2016

Two soldiers standing inside and outside, 2016

 
 People looking at Bridge of no return, 2015

People looking at Bridge of no return, 2015

 
 Car entering restricted area for civilians, 2014

Car entering restricted area for civilians, 2014

 
 People looking at the two lines, 2014

People looking at the two lines, 2014

 
 Japanese cranes flying over the Labor Party Building, 2014

Japanese cranes flying over the Labor Party Building, 2014

 
 Permanent Flame

Permanent Flame

 
 Monk beating a moktak, 2014

Monk beating a moktak, 2014

 
 Woljeongri Station, 2013

Woljeongri Station, 2013

 
 Scenery picture and the landscape outside the window, 2013

Scenery picture and the landscape outside the window, 2013

 
 Two targets, 2017

Two targets, 2017

 
 Woman looking at Freedom Bridge

Woman looking at Freedom Bridge

 
 Woman looking at North Korea

Woman looking at North Korea