North Korean protesters try to look spontaneous

In response to the recent UN human rights vote, North Korean citizens have risen up to declare their opposition to receiving any sort of rights at all.

North Korea protestWhat’s fascinating here are the signs, which are totally new. Not the red banners, which are old as the hills, but the placards. Look how they’re distributed ‘randomly’ throughout the crowd, in a genuinely sponaneous manner. You’d never normally see this.

So let’s take a closer look:

North Korea Protest Signs

Check out those jazzy fonts. It might not seem like much, but to dedicated DPRK-watchers there’s something deeply shocking about seeing people at a mass rally carrying signs that have clearly been inspired by ad breaks on illegally imported South Korean tv shows (which, themselves, copy Japanese aesthetics – hence the uber-busy format and explosion graphics).

I’ve written about how the North Korean authorities seem to be updating their self-presentation with a new aesthetic vocabulary borrowed from capitalist pop culture, so it’s interesting to see that this trend has apparently expanded to include the famous mass demonstrations of support for the regime.

The DPRK recently announced that the mass games will no longer feature the famous human pixel shows. Given recent developments, I can only guess at what will replace them…

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