Reading Meaning

REAL DMZ PROJECT (Samuso), Korea, 2012

What do we see when we look at the landscape along the DMZ? At first glance, the scene seems idyllic. There are signs of nature thriving and only a few cars are passing on the streets. However, you then notice the signs containing historical information, military instructions, and warnings that interrupt this illusion of tranquility.These signs look stable and are physically fixed into the ground. They are physical manifestations of authority. But who actually authored these texts? Whose language is that? Who are we regarding when we read these signs? When I look at the DMZ I see more than what is actually visible. The information from the signs creates a grid in my mind that is woven into the landscape. It loads the DMZ with interpretations. With my project I am interested in directing awareness to the relation between information and imagination and how that ultimately translates into meaning. I collected the texts from the signs along the DMZ and transposed them onto the windows of the monorail car. The window drawing is an appropriation of the texts on the official DMZ signs. The vague authorship of the signs, which we usually associate with an abstract idea of government, is made concrete through the touch of the artist. The artist becomes visible in his drawings, while the text loses its official appearance through being handwritten. The writing is done with a marker. The words can easily be washed away. The artwork is meant to be ephemeral. The artist places the texts with the fragile visual, artistic language in front of the original official signs making a direct juxtaposition. Though the content of the text remains identical, a reading that defies the authority of the original signs emerges from this act of subversion.
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