Couple

Sketch of the meeting at Panmunjon, the border of North and South Korea.


Couple
Double video installation / 2 video's of 24", clothes and documents / variable size / 2012

Simon Kentgens and I decided to meet each other at the border of North and South Korea. For Couple we arranged a simultaneous meeting at the UN main conference room inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Kentgens entered from North Korea and I from South Korea. Since it is  not allowed to access this room from the North and the South at the same time, we left small notes for each other to communicate.

Our meeting at the border can be considered as an attempt to create a physical connection between the two countries. To emphasize this gesture we commissioned a tailor to produce two pieces of unique clothes, a dress and a shirt, in the same blue color as the UN main conference room. We wore these clothes for only one day, the day of our meeting.

It is not possible to travel freely around North Korea, nor is it possible to visit the DMZ from the South without UN escort. Therefore we had to depend on tours and tour operators to stage our encounter. Because of strict regulations in both countries we had no opportunity to communicate before or during the meeting.

We documented the approaches ourselves through videos that show us entering Panmunjom and the UN main conference room. Two videos from both sides that show a mirrored image of the meeting. En passant we register the different versions of history and the current situation, presented by the two countries. These videos were shown simultaneously in a video installation at the GCC exhibition hall.

Despite of its name, the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), between North and South Korea is the most heavily militarized border in the world. Panmunjom is a patch of land located inside the DMZ and is controlled by the two countries in cooperation with the United Nations. The UN main conference room is a blue building that lies right on the border, half on the North and half on the South Korean side. It is built for negotiations between the two nations and it's the only place in Korea where North and South can meet.

link to art residence: Gyeonggi Creation Center, South Korea
link to publications: magazines and books

Couple is a collaboration with Simon Kentgens and arose during a recidence in the summer of 2012 at Gyeonggi Creation Center in South Korea.