It is first time in history a North Korean instructor has more than 200 uniformed NATO soldiers under command. The soldiers performed exemplary on the snow-stage built for the Barents Spektakel festival in Kirkenes, near Norway’s northern border to Russia.
“This is an A-ha experience,” says Morten Traavik, the artist that created the cultural connection between multi-cultural Kirkenes and the most closed nation in the world. He underlines that this is not a cooperation between North Korea and NATO, but a cultural collaboration between artists, the border guards and the festival.
The performance called ME/WE is a part of Traavik’s art project named “The Promised Land.”
Following signal-flags and command shouts from a North Korean is likely as far away from daily duty as these soldiers can get. Normally they are out in the ice-cold bush guarding Norway’s 196 kilometer long land border with Russia on ski or snowmobile.
Norwegian border guard soldiers awaiting instructions from North Koreans. Photo: Thomas Nilsen
Each soldier turns over pages of a colorful flip-book, becoming one of the 256 pixels forming a large photo. When turned, another picture appears and so on. The photos are typical motives from the Norwegian, Russian border land and the Arctic. Several of the photos were taken by BarentsObserver’s photographers.
The mass games performance was accompanied by young musicians from Kum Song music school in Pyongyang that played an accordion version of “Take on Me” megahit by A-ha. A YouTube version of the North Korean teenagers playing the melody got more than one million viewers during this week.
256 pixel-people sitting on a snow-stage forming a typical Barents Region image. Photo: Thomas Nilsen
Barents Spektakel art-festival in Kirkenes is a cultural-political cocktail with contemporary art, performances, literature, theatre, film, seminars and concerts as ingredients, spiced with the current issues related to the Barents Region and the High North in general.
The North Koreans visited Barents Spektakel first time last year.
Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Northern Fleet’s “Admiral Kuznetsov”, has finished repairs and is ready to leave the port of Murmansk. According to a Russian news agency, the vessel will sail to Syria.
A century and a half ago, Norway was home to roughly three thousand brown bears, the majority of bears in all of Scandinavia. By 1930, the bears were virtually extinct. Decades of aggressive management tactics and bounties had wiped out one of the area’s most iconic species.
Microplastics, the tiny plastic particles that are accumulating in marine waters and big lakes around the world, are now showing up in the Arctic waters south and southwest of Svalbard, Norway, a new study says.
REYKJAVIK: The climatic changes taking place in the Arctic are a call to action for the world. We must answer with more international cooperation and more research, says Tore Hattrem, State Secretary of Norway’s Foreign Ministry.
“Partnership should and shall shape the development of the Arctic, therefore cooperation is the starting point for our Arctic policy,” Vladimir Barbin, Senior Arctic Official and representative to the Arctic Council, said at the Arctic Circle 2015 assembly.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.
Norway’s Foreign Minister Børge Brende has asked Russia for an explanation to the high number of asylum seekers coming to Norway via Russia. Syrian refugees that have lived in Russia for a long time, will be stopped on the border and sent back.