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in Greece 2011

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Red Utopia

Red Utopia


Photographs from North Korea

photographer: Yannis Kontos
author: Thanassis Moutsopoulos
translator: Michael Eleftheriou
editor: Thanassis Moutsopoulos, Penelope Petsini

Kastaniotis, 2007
256 p.
ISBN 978-960-03-4350-2, [In Print]
Price € 47,70

This book presents a photographic study which materialised under conditions of prohibition, in a country where the authorities control not only whether something is to documented but also the manner in which it is to be documented. North Korea is perhaps the most isolated country in the world. Its historic moniker, the “Hermit Kingdom”, seems more appropriate now than ever before. Yannis Kontos’ photographs portray another world, light years away from our own reality. And it is this which gives them such exceptional value: they provide a window on a world to which, under normal circumstances, we would have no access at all. Images vividly peculiar and inexplicable, in terms of our (familiar, western) logic. Girls holding Kalashnikovs; crowds milling in front of giant posters inciting the destruction of American imperialism rather than the acquisition of consumer products; a metropolis of sky-scrapers completely bare of advertisements plunged into darkness every night at ten; the baroque feel of the Pyongyang Metro and other public spaces; the Great Leader’s portrait looming over every possible location, whether public or private; the sense of militaristic ritual even in the most mundane moments of everyday life...

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