Korean National University of Art – 2009
The capitalist crisis in relation to the success of sport competition. One can wonder, how Korea succeeds to produce champions in sport, at the Olympics and other world competitions, in such great numbers. I remember the red that covered City Hall Plaza when I came here for the first time. I asked if the communist had invaded Seoul, but I was told that everyone was cheering for the RED DEVILS, million were soccer crazed for a day.
By studying the North Korean Mass dance performances , one can link the extraordinary sport achievements with political propaganda and nationalism, a feeling to belonging to something bigger, in unison, together, we, through the athlete’s legs and sweat, we feel great, united, we forget about today.
The group culture and the dictator.
What interest me are the elements in Korea which favor the group culture that produces dictators and acceptance of dictatorship.
They are: dogmatic and competitive culture, uniformity of the individuals to better blend into groups, patriarchal structures, pyramidal religious belief, business based on a cast system, military culture, conservative thinking, and blood nationalism.
Another aspect of research is the way to divert the attention of the masses away from capitalism collapse, corruption and political conservatism. I will focus on the manipulation of the group by means of propaganda (school competition, military citizenship, membership training, sport competition, dramatic prime TV, monotheist religion and politics)
The juxtaposition of North Korean Mass dance and South Korean style of propaganda
After understanding the intended provocation, the irony, and satire, my intention isn’t actually so surrealist. As one look a North Korea propaganda (where the leader is a God), one can question the smile on the propaganda poster, wondering: are they really happy? And shouldn’t one ask the same question facing in South Korea the Unit of unemployed, The Unit of girls on promotion at TechnoMart, the army of good citizen?
The juxtaposition of North and South Korea tableaux will create a duality provoking some laughter and questioning: what do we have in common? My goal is to make a beautiful and extraordinary spectacle with quality music and choreography and witness the live reunification of the two Koreas.
Notes from Marion Schoevaert
Red devils is a new theatrical creation in the style of mass dance, to study the group culture in societies of control. Despite the propaganda style, this performance has no intention to promote communist ideals or to create anti-government feelings.
With my distant foreign point of view, I can point out what is the obvious, taken for granted and habitual for Korean people. My intention is not to judge but to make an impartial interpretation of what I see. This performance is an experimental work, meant to question and study, provoking, and satirical images of group culture in the Korean peninsula.
KNUA, an inter-department collaboration. A community at work at the image of the society of control. The music, writing, art, dance, design, multi-media and theatre department took part of the new adventurous theatrical creation. We had two goals in mind:
First, art cannot live by itself, all art form feed on each other and KNUA greatest strength is its inter-department collaboration, where actors can meet painters, multi-media can meet theater practitioners … this is a rich experience that open the mind of the future artists.
The second goal was to use the university as a micro society. A place where the director can act as a dictator, producers act as politicians, the writers act as the intellectuals making propaganda, choreographer act as military, multi-media as a police, designers as the architects , and the actors act as factory workers.
Theater as the art of resistance, Theatre as a painting- 13 tableaux of mass dance
There are no storyline, no single characters. All social classes (the kids, the unemployed, the military, the prostitutes, the businessmen, the factory workers, the CEOs, the farmer) act as a unit, in a group choreography, or as a chorus.
All choreography and pictures are inspired by North Korean propaganda art, but recreated in the style of pop art. All texts, images, dance and music are based on real text, existing images and musical scores from different sources(North Korea, newspapers, slogan, internet, advertising, TV drama, business reports,,,) these materials are put together as a great collage to make a painting.
The time is here and now. The audience more used to storytelling -type theater might be confused and wondering how to take this performance. As we did in rehearsals, the audience can just ask themselves:
What do I see?
How do I feel?
What does it mean?
Marion Schoevaert and Red Devils’s team interviews
Directed by Marion Schoevaert
Choreographed by Park JunMi
Music by Kim Dong Kun, Kim Ahram (conductor)
(Music from Sea of Blood from North Korea)
Video by Son Jae Lin, Im Sae OnChae Tae Un, Goag HoJung,
Costumes Kim Sul Gi, and many hands
Set design by Un Bora
Painter Sun Mu, North Korean painter
2 orchestras: a Western Orchestra and Korean traditional music orchestra
20 stage hands