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In Session: Re-Capturing Gestures from the Debris of the Past: De-Cold Warring Tactics in Visual Archives and Documentaries
2: Archiving Paper Bombs: Place, Media, and Everydayness of the Korea War Psychological Leaflets
Thursday, March 25, 2021
12:00pm – 1:30pm EDT
Hyun Seon Park
Yonsei University, Republic of Korea
As an uncanny return of the 20th history, the cold war crisis has been recently revived between two Koreas when propaganda balloons sent by anti-North Korean activists and defectors in South Korea infuriated North Korea to cut off all communication lines with South Korea and blow up a joint liaison office. Leaflets have been “the favorite weapon of Cold War” used by both Koreas since the Korean War. Examining a number of boxes of propaganda leaflets archived at the Hoover Archive, this paper aims to understand how the leaflets made of a piece of paper became not only the favorite weapon at the forefront of the Korean War but also an affective media archive in the encounter of Cold War topography and war technology. The leaflets from the sky, which appear to be randomly distributed, appear to arrive precisely in people's minds through numerous accidental routes. This paper underscores a psychological warfare leaflet as the initial archive of the cultural cold war and examines the three aspects of the Korean War psychological warfare leaflet: the significance of place and cartography, the media juxtaposition of language and image, and the affective formation of collective everydayness. In this vein, the psychological warfare leaflets of various forms, images, and texts are not only “paper bombs” responsible for the total war and psychological warfare of the US during the Korean War, but also to form the archival prototype of a Cold War culture afterwards.