The Stadium Performances of North Korea

The stadium performances of North Korea demonstrate the unity, discipline and staggering scale of mass performance art as a symbol of loyalty to the state and perceived, unrivalled power of the country.  Propaganda on such a scale leaves the viewer with an incredibly intimidating sense of insignificance and powerlessness in the face of such incredibly co-ordinated masses.  To western eyes the impression is similar to a robotic man-o-war, a collective consciousness – massive and deadly, composed of countless insignificant organisms.  Bizarre and total loss of individuality seems alien but incredibly impressive.  The images created by dancing acrobatic displays and seas of people holding pixel-like coloured card to create a whole image are those of the Workers Party of Korea, its workers, armed forces and leaders all depicted in strong idealogical poses surrounded by unbelievable, sometimes psychedelic surroundings.  Participants can be as young as 5 years old and are arranged in order of skill level, destined to fulfill this role for the rest of their natural lives.  The iconography is clear-red represents the people, the working class while purple flowers represent Kim Il Sung.  Various idealised almost cartoonish scenes of mountain ranges and cabins are said to be where the man himself spent much of his childhood.  Any pessimism or scepticism about the effectiveness of such symbolism or iconography is overridden by the reality that such ideals, loyalty and inevitably fear are necessary in order to create such spectacles and the end result is quite frightening.

North Korea Mass Games Highlights:

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