A Night in Pyongyang (mass games picture book)

From the book’s web page (translated from German): Werner Kranwetvogel has travelled to the DPRK and had the opportunity to visit the Arirang Mass Games on two evenings. At these occasions he produced a spectacular series of pictures, which shows exactly this dualism: on the one hand there are tremendous and most impressing wide shots with thousands of synchronized performers. But on the other hand he firstly shows close ups of the dancers, isolates them, jumps close to several groups, shows their passion and the total devotion of the performers to that very moment. This outstanding series of pictures shows the ambivalent fascination of the mass aesthetics in a unique way and comments itself without words.

The book’s web page has an impressive number of pictures, as well as many video clips of the games (with the original music). 

(hat tip to Klaus-Martin Meyer)


3 Responses to “A Night in Pyongyang (mass games picture book)”

  1. sherrie says:

    There is an informative and interesting British documentary about NK Mass Games called “A State of Mind” that is worth watching.


  2. I’m not sure I understand what you mean by dualism. Do you mean to say that an individual performer cannot somehow express himself with an artistic freedom which the mass performance itself tends to deny? If that’s what you mean, I beg to differ. I’ve befriended several performers whose heyday occurred during the 1960s and 1980s in China. In our conversation, I have asked them whether or not they felt pressured to express what they did not believe in. On the contrary, while they felt pressured to parrot the party line and political sessions after work, and understood the nonsense they were spouting during the performance, they believed that they managed to present an individual performance of artistic value, separate and apart from what the authorities intended.

    Rich Kuslan, Editor

  3. NKeconWatch says:

    Dear Mr. Kuslan,

    Thanks for the interesting comment. I believe your observation is no doubt true for many mass games athletes who have performed across the globe, including the DPRK.

    I simply quoted the text from the book’s web page, so those are not my own words. I abelieve the author (who is not a native english speaker) is referring to the “duality” of both the individual and collective perforances. The use of this word does not entail the two objects of observation (individual and group performances) are mutually exclusive.