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BIFAN 2018: A Gallery of Science Fiction and Fantasy Art From North Korea

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While in Bucheon for this year’s Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN), there was a presentation that focused on the science fiction and fantasy art of North Korea, a country that I foolishly thought couldn’t have such stories. While the presentation was completely in Korean and no translators were available, I was still able to snap some photos of the art that was show in the presentation, which I found rather fascinating and wanted to share with all of you.

The first thing I noticed was how the images seemed to be heavily influenced by the sci-fi and fantasy art of the 50’s and 60’s, even though many of them, at least from what I gathered, came out decades after those years. Recalling the covers of the “Tit Bits Science Fiction Library” covers from so many years ago, North Korea’s art is colorful and eye-catching. While it may not be completely realistic (there’s a rocket at the end of a rocket…c’mon now), there is a certain charm to what I saw.

Furthermore, it lends one to wonder what kinds of ideals North Koreans associate with the thought of space travel and mythology. Is it full of hope and wonder? Is it a way to confirm the global superiority they are indoctrinated with? Is it a show of power and strength? These questions run through my mind constantly now that I’ve seen these pieces. Perhaps one day we can know.

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