The Arirang the grandiose eye candy

Pyongyang / Nampho / Kaesong

September 2013

Digital Patrik Wallner Pyongyang Reunification Sisters Push LOWQ 2000PNorth Korea has somewhat of a magnetic pull, each year I find another reason to go back. It’s not like I miss the typical museum visits, the cold soups or the hotel curfew for outsiders. There is something magical about the simplicity of the surroundings, the photogenic magnitude of the statues and murals and the feeling of being within the last unchanged socialist regime still standing twenty two years after the Soviet Union collapsed. But it’s funny that skateboarding is still one of the main reasons pulling me back to the Hermit Kingdom. When I heard that Pyongyang was building a skatepark, it was an indication to go back. Eric Lai, Henrik Svan and I took a train over from Dandong for a sneak peak. Above you can see the first Swed to be pushing underneath the Arch of Reunification.

Digital Patrik Wallner Pyongyang Thirsty Kid LOWQ 2000PKilling the thirst on a casual field trip to Mangyondae, Kim Il Sung’s alleged birthplace.

Digital Patrik Wallner Pyongyang Kim Il Sung Square LOWQ 2000PA busy Kim Il-Sung Square, about to get ready for a show for its 65th anniversary of its independence.

Digital Patrik Wallner Kaesong Pony Tail LOWQ 2000PPonytail reflections

Digital Patrik Wallner Nampho Il Sung and Wife LOWQ 2000PThe Dear Leader Kim Il-Sung and his first wife, Kim Jung Suk, an Anti-Japanese heroine who was only thirty years old when she died giving birth to her still-born child, or tuberculosis, or a shot wound, or was just carried into the juche afterlife in 1949. We don’t know the exact truth, but what we do know is that she gave birth to Yuri Irsenovich Kim also known as Kim Jong-Il, in the Russian city of Vyatskoye which is not too far from Khabarovsk.

Digital Patrik Wallner Pyongyang Children Palace Singing LOWQ 2000PNorth Koreans can sing and are nice to people who might not have the chosen vocal cords. When at the hotel’s karaoke, the machine might say ‘Very Good’ and the waitress might clap after you finished singing, but in reality their eardrums have just suffered through vocal gulag which they do such a good job hiding away with a kind smile.

Digital Patrik Wallner Kaesong Too much Food LOWQ 2000PNorth Korean cliché visually depicted by irony.

Digital Patrik Wallner Kaesong DMZ Teacher LOWQ 2000PIf only all the tensions would drop down to the size of this soldiers tie, the 37th Parallel would be a better place.

Digital Patrik Wallner Kaesong Propoganda LOWQ 2000PAccording to a bunch of online articles it became illegal once again since earlier this year for women to ride bicycles in North Korea. All I saw was women on bikes, with only 0.01% of people owning cars, bikes are kind of essential.

Digital Patrik Wallner Pyongyang Hammer Sickle Portrait LOWQ 2000PHammer, sickle and paint brush, all tools which I have not mastered. For me should be a hand holding toilet paper.

Digital Patrik Wallner Pyongyang New Liberation Museum LOWQ 2000P.

Digital Patrik Wallner Pyongyang Skatepark Owner LOWQ 2000P WidthThe owner of the skatepark within the wellness-center in Pyongyang was quite joyful about our visit. The only skateboard they had accessible was a waterlogged semi-broken Walmart type board most definitely obtained from the Chinese black market. We left a couple decks and put on a little show for them. Powerslides were a big hit.

Digital Patrik Wallner Pyongyang The Perfect Children LOWQ 2000P.

Digital Patrik Wallner Pyongyang Arc The Triumph LOWQ 2000PPost-Roman triumphal arches

Digital Patrik Wallner Pyongyang Escalator Ride LOWQ 2000P.

Digital Patrik Wallner Pyongyang High Kick LOWQ 2000PWho would have thought that Taekwondo a Korean originating martial art would spread popularity even to Jamaica.

Digital Patrik Wallner Pyongyang Eric Hotel LOWQ 2000PEverest like breakfasts with the boss, Eric Lai.

Digital Patrik Wallner Pyongyang Only Commercial LOWQ 2000PThis might look like a very unspectacular photo to you which it is and would be almost anywhere in the world. But in a country where capitalistic adverts and commercials are replaced by Propoganda, this billboard advertising a North Korean car besides the Arch of Reunification is one of few which are somehow allowed within the DPRK. It tends to be somewhat of a major uncontinuity to the eye while examining the city from the back seat of the bus.

Digital Patrik Wallner Pyongyang Auto School LOWQ 2000PDriving school without any petrol, not that much fun.

Digital Patrik Wallner Pyongyang Arirang The End LOWQ 2000PMy eyes have witnessed organized discipline and perfection amongst 100,000 human beings.

Digital Patrik Wallner Pyongyang Arirang Pig LOWQ 2000PI am sure someone got hungry watching the chicks hatch.

Digital Patrik Wallner Pyongyang Arirang Games The Kims LOWQ 2000PThe men of the hour! I didn’t really intend to do any video edits of this trip to North Korea since I felt like it was all just too similar to the short web feature I filmed and edited back in 2012 when we came for Kim Il Sung’s 100 year Birthday Party. But instead of letting it rot on a hard drive, I thought I might as well play around with it for a bit and try some experimental music. Ended up tuning it parallel to an ‘The XX’ song Reunion and here is the result.