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Pizza As Global Cultural Currency

Pizza As Global Cultural Currency
culture

Hwang Kim's "Star Pizza" series offers North Koreans an interaction with Western pop culture.

Lisa Baldini
  • 26 july 2010

The politics of fast food often center around the classist health problems of many Westernized countries — why fatty foods (as opposed to nutritious foods) are made more readily available to the poor. However, in the age of globalization, the lack of presence of pervasive Western commodities has a very different political currency in the case of totalitarian states. In effect, it has a way distinguishing participation from global relations through trade — cyphening off its cultural production away from the global stage.

Hwang Kim’s Star Pizza film series seeks to illustrate this point in addressing the current cultural climate in North Korea. Taking his cue from the recent news of the first pizzeria appearing in North Korea, Kim films depict a North Korean couple (played by South Koreans with North Korean accents) experience their first interactions with Western culture:

The lovely couple is exposed to Western cuisine with the chapter on How to Make a Pizza; the possibility of going on holiday with the episode about How to Pack a Suitcase to Go Abroad; Western entertainment with How to Become a Trend Leader at Pop Dancing and finally learn How to Celebrate Christmas Day.

Keen to make sure that the films did not just circulate in a Western context, Kim created 500 DVDs that were then distributed on the black market of North Korea, the only way for many North Koreans to experience non-government approved media.

Hwang Kim

[Via: We Make Money Not Art]

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