Installation view: Jeju Biennale

Whenever in Difficulty, Climb the Mountain

Multi-media installation. Audio juxtaposed with painting of Mt. Baekdu by North Korean artist (unknown). 

Duration: 06:39 min. 

The active volcano Mount Baekdu (in Korean) / Changbaishan (in Chinese) is divided between what is today North Korea and China. A source of awe, pilgrimage, and territorial disputes, the tales that surround the mountain are plentiful and cultural representations speak to the magnitude of its imaginary proportions. Whenever in Difficulty, Climb the Mountain is an audio recorded travel account by Ma Sun Hee, who climbed the mountain twice on the North Korean side before the fled to South Korea. Her interview is juxtaposed with a painting by a North Korean artist who depicted the mountain from the North Korean side. Ma Sun HeeĀ“s travel account testifies to the sacred status of the mountain in North Korea. There title is derived from a North Korean poem that reads: 'Whenever in difficulty, one should climb Mt. Baekdu'. 


Voiceover narrative: Ma Sun Hee

Research Assistance: Hae Seo Kim

Translation: Hayeon Heather Kim