This is a rare glimpse into North Korean propaganda - in parades, posters, murals, theater, and films. No nation stages massive parades and collective performances better than North Korea. Amid a series of intense political/economic crises and international conflicts, North Korea has continued to sponsor unflinching displays of patriotism, glorifying its leaders and revolutionary history through state rituals that can involve hundreds of thousands of performers. ""Illusive Utopia"" explores how state-sponsored propaganda performances - including public spectacles, theater, film, and other visual media including posters - shape everyday practice in a country where the performing arts are not only a means of entertainment but also a forceful institution used to regulate, educate, and mobilize people. ""Illusive Utopia"" examines sixty years of propaganda performances and how they have intersected with everyday practices such as education, the mobilization of labor, the gendering of social interactions, the organization of national space, tourism, and transnational human rights. It is the first English-language study of visual culture and performing arts as they relate to the formation of North Korean national identity.
Suk-Young Kim is Assistant Professor in the Department of Dramatic Art at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the coauthor (with Kim Yong) of Long Road Home: Testimony of a North Korean Camp Survivor.