Group project proposal

Today we had a really interesting discussion as a group as to what we should propose as a project brief for the next 3 weeks. An idea that was brought up was the exploration of ideas of surveillance and control in the city of North Korea, further discussion prompted us to consider the contrast (or similarity!) between this country and our own.

Here are some of the initial ideas that were thrown about in the discussion

  • Researching the laws and restrictions in place in North Korea – comparing this to restrictions in this country – For example, the restrictive nature of documentation in North Korea, not allowed to film, photograph etc. Compare this to the ‘freedom of expression’ in cities such as Cardiff – however, is this strictly the case? Restrictions are in place on photography in certain places, for example in train stations, shops. It is illegal for us to take pictures of people without their permission – but is that not what happens everyday in our CCTV culture??
  • Communism v. capitalism – are these systems that different? The element of control is in them both. Zuzanna put forward the idea of ‘one universal political system that is just presented in different ways’. Systems of control in place in both capitalism and communism. Communism, use of physical and mental control – brain washing their citizens with ideologies that serve a dictator. Can capitalism claim to be any better? With its use of media and advertisements to brainwash us into serving a system that turns goods into Gods.
  • Propaganda and ideologies – North Korea is highly selective with the amount of information it feeds out to the rest of the world, controlling how we understand it as a country. Is this true to some extent with our own cities, how are they portrayed by tourist boards, and how does this compare to the realities of a place like Cardiff? Might be interesting to explore the sides of Cardiff that are kept hidden from prospective visitors – homelessness/poverty/those areas that are marginalised/unkept areas/rubbish and debris/grottier parts.
  • Control in the city – Mind control through advertisements – the psychology behind advertisements and media/surveillance/security and police/controlling our bodies through signs and restrictions (eg. no entry) – places exclusively for certain members of society (the senedd??)
  • Films and books that came up in our discussion – Animal farm and 1984 by George Orwell, The Interview, The Dictator

So, our general proposal is to investigate the nature of a country such as North Korea, and investigate how ideas such as restriction, control and propaganda that are at play in a strict communist society may actually be present (perhaps more covertly than in North Korea) in our own city of Cardiff.


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