DMZ Wire Transformed in ‘Piano of Unification’

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

South Korea’s Unification Ministry and Jeil Worldwide Inc. have collaborated to create the “Piano of Unification,” a grand piano constructed with barbed wire from the military border that divides the two Koreas, reports the Korea Herald.

Marking the 70th anniversary of Korean independence from Japanese colonial rule, the Piano of Unification is currently being displayed in the lobby of the Seoul Museum of Art as part of the “N.K. Project” exhibition, which runs until Sept. 29.

The unique piano was created by GongMyoung, a Korean performing arts group renowned for producing creative instruments. Established in 1997, the group has built several customized traditional Korean instruments, such as an electric “janngu,” or a two-sided Korean drum.

For the Piano of Unification, GongMyoung teamed up with frontline military units over the past three months to collect rusty barbed wire from the DMZ. According to Park Seung-won, the head of GongMyoung, using barbed wires as strings was physically challenging, since the tension of the wires is very strong and rough on the hands. He added that the wire piano also does not sound like a conventional piano due to its uneven strings and has more of a percussion-like tone.

“Though it was a challenging undertaking for us to create a piano with the barbed wire, it was a rewarding and very meaningful process given that we could create a musical harmony for unification through the barbed wire of the truce line, a symbol of the tragic war and longstanding cross-border standoff,” Park told the Korea Herald.

On August 15, Korea’s Independence Day (Gwangbokjeol), the piano will be played for a joint performance with the National Chorus of Korea at the Seoul Arts Center’s concert hall.

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Featured image via Korea Herald and GongMyoung

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