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Suntag Noh | Really Good, Murder

PRIVATE 52, p. 20-21

PRIVATE 52, p. 20-21


“The trouble is not that they are coldblooded enough to ‘think the unthinkable’, but that they do not think.” (Hannah Arendt, On Violence, Harvest Books, 1970.)

This series of works looks through the surface of so called weapon show, questioning what is hidden behind the technology we enjoy and admire today. In the present day, almost every enterprise who claims to possess high technology produces weapons. The market grows sharply every year. Due to the strained relations between South and North Korea, South Korea was listed as one of the top importers in the international arms market. And yet it developed into a ‘dark horse’ drastically increasing exportation of arms to the third world and countries in conflict. In one way or another, the current state of divided Korea is indelibly associated with the weapon industry.

South Korea is promoting various kinds of ‘weapon shows’ quantitatively as well as qualitatively. Such grand scale festivals go off as different objects and interests are entangled in the name of not just marketing of weapons but also of distributing a positive image of military culture, recruiting special army force, reinforcing Korea-US alliance, revitalizing the defence industry, providing performance and exhibition opportunities for local artists, fostering local sales, educating children with learning experiences, etc. What is allowed here is the ‘admiration of weapons’ and prohibited is the ‘reflection’ that the ultimate nature of weapons is ‘murder’ and no one is an exception. Suntag Noh explores the way in which Korean War is alive and kicking in today’s Korean society. He examines the gap in the ‘power of division’ that often time interprets to its own advantage as it includes war and division in the fixed chapter of history. The power of division is a monster of present operating and malfunctioning in both South and North Korea. Taking all those oozing from that monster – spit and thick blood, madness and silence, benefit and damage, bursts of laughter and cynical smiles, and stop and flow – in the form of image and words, he lets them slide by. With such disruption holding up that monster he tries to reveal today’s politics.

(Suntag Noh | Really Good, Murder, PRIVATE 52, pages 20-25)

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