Jan. 29, 2019
Academic Minute: DMZ Border and Architecture
Dongsei Kim's research on borders and the Demilitarized Zone was featured on "Academic Minute" on WAMC Radio/NPR. Jan 29, 2019.
"Many people perceive the Korean Demilitarized Zone as an impenetrable border. While nearly impossible to cross, it is also a blurred zone that rivers cross, migrating birds fly over, and propaganda balloons and broadcasts permeate. The DMZ is a changing political space, but often not considered architectural. Yet, how the border was drawn, agreed to, and built has architectural qualities. Architecture can impact nation-state borders by illustrating how lines drawn at different scales can be more about inclusion, rather than exclusion. Architecture envisions spaces through visual and experiential means. It is also fundamentally public, which allows it to actively engage the collective, providing opportunities to expand the role of design thinking on world issues, such as politics, inequality, sustainability. In this expanded context, I believe that architecture can become a productive platform to facilitate public discussion. My research examines the nature of spatial borders that define us versus them, so that architects can visualize spatial conditions of borders like the DMZ and remap them to envision alternative futures. Architects can envision the DMZ to make something different; namely, spatial design can help to improve inter-Korea relations. These include designing exhibitions, buildings, and urban spaces that highlight absurd conditions between the two Koreas or by emphasizing the productive potentials of these border spaces. By deconstructing the DMZ through architectural methods, we can challenge preconceived ideas to construct a new understanding about the other side of the border."
Link to NPR Podcast
Link to WAMC Academic Minute