ART.ZIP: It seems quite a mysterious and rare opportunity to do a photo shooting in North Korea. What motivates you to come up with such a creation plan there?

WG: Since 2005, I have been concerned and continuing to photograph buildings of global socialist ideology under the influence of the former Soviet Union’s political form in the mid 20th century, where North Korea is an important part of the shooting plan. North Korea is generally known as a closed socialist country, where it is very difficult for a foreigner to be allowed to take photographs there. I have spent more than three years in applying for the permission and communicating with the relevant North Korean government departments, but without any success. Eventually, through a rather special means, my request was approved by the North Korean central government to achieve this particular shooting plan. There- fore, this is an exceptional opportunity. According to the accompanying North Korea Foreign Cultural Relations Committee staff, it is the first time that a foreign artist is permitted to use such professional equipment and conduct so much content for a photo shooting.

ART.ZIP:此次去朝鮮創作和拍攝在很多人眼中是非常神秘而且難 得的機會,能不能給我們介紹一下促成此次朝鮮之行的前因後果?

WG:從2005年以來,我一直在關注並持續拍攝上個世紀中葉受到 前蘇聯的政治模式影響的全球社會主義國家的意識形態建築,其中 朝鮮是我拍攝計劃的一個重要部分,我們都知道朝鮮是一個沒有開 放的社會主義國家,如果一個外國人想到那裡拍照是非常困難的事 情,所以在之前我與朝鮮政府的有關部門進行過三年多的申請和溝 通,一直沒有得到允許,最後通過了一個比較特殊的渠道,得到了朝 鮮中央政府的特別批准才得以實現這個拍攝計劃。所以,這個機會非 常難得。據陪同我工作的朝鮮對外文化聯絡委員會的工作人員講, 他們建國以來,第一次批准一個外國藝術家,使用這樣專業的設備 和進行這麼多內容拍攝。

ART.ZIP: For Westerners, North Korea is a very mysterious place, which is little known by the public. Have you come across any interesting or unique experience when working there? Would you share one or two stories with our readers?

WG: Due to very complex reasons, North Korea has been remaining in a state of seclusion, where foreigners are very restrictedly limited to gain access into the country, and the local people are also restricted to leave the country. When working in North Korea, I was accompanied by five different departments personnel to assist my work. Every subject matter I intended to take photographs of has to get the prior approval of the North Korean government, while those with no approval are absolutely not allowed to photograph. There impresses me most that North Korean people are all very passionate about their leader. My first arrival in North Korea is at noon on March 12, 2011. Immediately after I got off the plane, the staff drove me to the Mansudae Grand Monument in the city centre of Pyongyang as to send flowers to the bronze statue of former North Korean president Kim II Sung. There al- ways come a lot of people (including school children and kindergarten children) in front of the statue for presenting flowers and mourning. Their love for their leader is genuinely sincere from their heart. The other thing also quite impresses me is that all the North Korean people possess a very high level of happiness. When I talked to the accompanying staff, every one of them felt very fortunate and proud to live in such a country, and they reckoned themselves as the happiest people in the world. That is a place you will find the people’s senses of values are astonishingly alike.

ART.ZIP:對於西方人來,朝鮮是一個極為神秘莫測的地方,大眾 對於朝鮮的了解也是極少的,您這次在朝鮮的工作當中有沒有什麼 有趣或者獨特的經歷,可不可以講一兩個小故事和讀者們分享?

WG:由於非常複雜的原因,朝鮮一直以來還處於一種閉關鎖國的狀態,外國人不能隨便進入,本國的百姓更不能隨便走出國門,我在朝 鮮工作時,他們有來自五個不同部門的工作人員陪同和協助我的工 作。我所拍攝的內容也是事先經過朝鮮政府審批過的,沒有審批過 的內容絕對不允許拍攝。在那裡給我印象最深就是每一個朝鮮人都 非常熱愛他們的領袖,我第一次到朝鮮是2011年3月12日的中午, 一下飛機,他們的工作人員就開車把我帶到了位於平壤市中心的萬 壽台給金日成主席的銅像獻花,在那里永遠會看到有很多人(包括 小學生和幼兒園的小朋友)來到銅像前獻花、默哀。他們對領袖的熱 愛是發自內心的。另外一點讓我感受很深的就是所有的朝鮮人內心 的幸福指數非常高,我與陪同我的工作人員聊天,他們每一個人都 表示生活在這樣的一個國度裡感覺非常的幸運和自豪,他們認為自 己是全世界最幸福的人, 在那裡你會感受到人們的價值觀是驚人 的一致。

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