Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Musical Diplomacy

The people of North Korea, have experienced many changes under communism and the control and oppression of dictator Kim jung il. They have begun to start their own businesses, watch a foreign TV, to listen to foreign pop song and to play this music with their own instruments. A spanish song called ‘La paloma’ has become very popular even though it is an illegal to listen to or play. These actions are an open secret, and represent a new era of liberalism. In response to a ‘Conflict’ brief, I tried to address one of the North-South problems of Korea, by focusing on this new vogue for playing western style music on the guitar.

Guitar lessons are given secretly , so I designed  my own guitar sheet music for “La Paloma’ to help them learn easily and quickly  using a particular colour scheme which is also a secret code . Moreover, I made this musical notation as a stamp, so that this music could be produced in large quantities,  but could also be hidden  behind a portrait of Kim jung il. 

By law the People of North Korea must have a portrait of him in their home, so it is an untouchable article, even for the police, so this provides a perfect place to hide it.

I designed my music sheets to be made with edible paper and food colouring so that they can be eaten in case of an emergency which will leave no trace. If anyone is suspected by the police of having music sheet, there will be no clear evidence.. It is also a small gesture towards the problems of food shortage and hunger in North Korea.

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