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THE PROMISED LAND

Barents Region / North Korea, 2012

Part 1: ME/WE
brought 2 North Korean mass games instructors, 220 Norwegian Army border guards from the South Varanger Garrison, stationed on the border wirh Russia, and 36 local and visiting volounteers together as human pixels in Norway’s biggest-ever living picture sequence. Following the signals of the North Korean instructors, every participant turned over pages of a specially manufactred flip-book, forming a huge, shifting mosaic pictures of well-known motives from the Barents region.

Part 2: GOLDSTARS
In Western media-influenced society almost everyone can be a star with relatively little effort, skills or preparation. Generic and popular shows such as X-factor and Idol bring the dream of instant and fleeting stardom within reach for generations of youth. North Korean culture, however, strongly emphasizes practice, technical perfection and subordination to the collective, with stylists and marketing being a somewhat lower priority. North Korean young musicians keep a high international level, and among the national instruments we find the accordeon. From Kum Song (Gold Star) School of Music in Pyongyang, Traavik brought a quintet of the school’s most talented accordeon students to perform a concert program of Korean and international hits during the festival, as well as accompanying the ME/WE performance live. The now-famous YouTube clip of the Gold Stars’ catapulted the young performers to international fame. See media gallery below for more!

Part 3: NORWAY ON NORWAY
Inspired by the geopolitical situation on the Korean peninsula, Traavik collaborated with North Korean software engineers to develop the simple and fun strategic computer game Norway On Norway. Just like on the chess board of global politics, the player(s) has to rely on skills and luck in equal measure to achieve successful reunification, while handling not only outside interference from bigger foreign powers like EU, USA and Russia but even conflicts of interest with indigenous minorities like the Saami.

WATCH AND LISTEN:

Photos:
Marius E. Hauge
Mikhail Slavin
Christopher Olssøn
Bernt Nilsen
Kjetil Magne Sørenes