Young children perform complex routines for tourists and achieve disturbing levels of perfection. Although, it is an honour to be selected for the popular performance, children are regularly coerced and mistreated. Food, water and visits to the toilet are withheld in order to instill an early sense of discipline.
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Photographer Nathalie Daoust’s newest project, Korean Dreams, is a complex series that probes the unsettling vacuity of North Korea. Piercing its veil with her lens, these images reveal a country that seems to exist outside of time, as a carefully choreographed mirage. Daoust has spent much of her career exploring the chimeric world of fantasy: the hidden desires and urges that compel people to dream, to dress up, to move beyond the bounds of convention and to escape from reality. With Korean Dreams she is exploring this escapist impulse not as an individual choice, but as a way of life forced upon an entire nation.
Daoust deliberately obscures her photographs during the development stage, as the layers of film are peeled off, the images are stifled until the facts become ‘lost’ in the process and a sense of detachment from reality is revealed. This darkroom method mimics the way information is transferred in North Korea – the photographs, like the North Korean people, are both manipulated until the underlying truth is all but a blur. The resultant pictures speak to North Korean society, of missing information and concealed truth.
– Samantha Small –
CCAC @ Short Vine (Corryville)
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