In 1953, the cease-fire that halted the Korean War created the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) that forced the division of the Korean peninsula into two: North and South. The DMZ is a 4 km wide buffer zone and ironically heavily militarized on both borders. The central part of the zone is off limits and over the decades has developed into a de facto natural reserve. At the Gimpo border, heavily fortified military fences with coils of gnarled barbed wire loom over you, while the verdant natural habitat of the Han River estuary extends just beyond your feet. The incessant sound of birds and geese permeate the air. To believe your eyes: weapons of war and division. To believe your ears: natural harmony. Clarity falters a bit and perception muddies. Across the river is N. Korea and you imagine someone standing there, gazing at an identical scene. And you envision a kind of invisible dance happening across this border expanse, a forbidden dance at the forbidden river, a Taepyeongmu in a dream of a people, between its two halves, trying to reconnect.
Back to Top