The Retro DPRK Project

The Retro DPRK Project is a collection of retro images and tourist artifacts from North Korea, illuminating the period from 1945 until the fall of the Soviet Union when the DPRK was almost entirely closed to Westerner visitors.  Artifacts from this period are mostly lost to history.

Our project seeks to understand how North Koreans experienced the passage of time within the context of their unique historical and political narratives.  We believe this imaginative leap into Korea's past helps expand our own imagination about the country and understand how the North Koreans understand themselves.  

Through these archives of scanned retro images from postcards and tourist guides, we hope to add colour and depth to this lost age in North Korea--- and thus, it is further hoped, provide resources to imagine similarity and agreement between the tragic divide.

The collection is composed of souvenirs, tourist publications and bricolage found by project curator Christopher Graper, accumulated during 100 days working as a tour guide in North Korea with Koryo Tours.  Images at Retro DPRK are often exclusive and digitally published here for the first time.  

That time we were on...