|A Transboundary Peace Park for the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)|
This series of digital mapworks explores the changing cartographic identity of the Cold-War's last prominent relic: the Korean DMZ, an ideological boundary established by the Korean War's 1953 Armistice Agreement whose uninhabited no-man's-landscapes have unexpectedly reverted to a de facto nature sanctuary in the past 50 years -- harboring rare flora and fauna, including some of Northeast Asia's most endangered migratory species, despite the prevalence of antipersonnel land mines, razorwire and tank bunkers.
While the DMZ continues to be a centerpiece of US security preoccupations -- framed by one million anti-personnel land mines and two million battle-ready troops -- inaccessibility has allowed the 4-km wide, 243-km-long corridor's damaged ecosystems to rehabilitate and flourish.
Recent proposals by international biodiversity specialists are competing with the DMZ's rhetoric of violence, calling for the transformation the fortified corridor into a system of protected transboundary bioreserves. With eventual reconciliation between North and South Korea anticipated, scientists and artists are proposing that commercial and industrial development of the DMZ be forestalled, and instead, measures be taken to preserve the corridor as a regional environmental and civic amenity to be jointly managed by the two Koreas.
As a public memorial, the park would acknowledge its unique geopolitical history, and look to the future by welcoming both innovators and conservators from the life sciences, arts and culture. Peace parks promoting conflict resolution and reconciliation through cooperative environmental programs, tourism, education and recreation are already in development along once-contested military borders of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, as well as Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
New mappings of the DMZ offer unique insights into the production of contemporary narratives about nature and culture. Parallel Atlas surveys transboundary conditions underpinning the DMZ's disputed cartographic status -- hybrid sites whose evolving biogeographic identities are threaded with the narrative text of competing map legends: the interwoven discourses of geopolitics, entomology, culture, memory.
Version 10 May 2002
Maps presented below are excerpted from the digital movie Parallel Atlas: 38°N