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N. Korea’s Mass Games or 100,000 Human Pixels

Photographer Sam Gellman recently returned from a 4-day trip to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea where he was lucky enough to witness and photograph the Mass Games in Pyongyang – a propaganda-filled synchronized performance done by 100,000 people.

“Photos from a four day trip in North Korea – September 9-12, 2011. Our guides were great but also quite conscious of every step we took. So some of these images are more documentary than anything else.”

“It was an amazing four days though and a unique opportunity to see how a country separated from the rest of the world functions. While the propaganda was more than I expected, there were some moments, like bumper cars at a theme park with soldiers and their kids, that were good reminders that people are people, whether in North Korea, the US, Hong Kong or anywhere.”

Photos: Sam Gellman

North Korean kids hold up papers which create an image of the North Korean flag. There are 30,000 of them, switching the cards every second in some cases, and others holding an image for 30 seconds to a minute.

The image in the background of the mountain is made up of 30,000 “pixels” which are constantly being changed into new images, each pixel by a different Korean kid. Each time they turn the page to create a new giant picture, they cry out, mixing the shout with the noise of thousands of pages turned at the same moment.

Here are some video highlights from Mass Games 2011 in North Korea:

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  • Doudoune


  • Owl

    Watch “The Vice Guide to North Korea.” Hugely informative video of what’s actually going on in N. Korea.

  • Anonymous

    wow, that is amazing

  • Bailey Yelle

    This was featured on an episode of Departures, its a travel documentary/reality series here in Canada. Anyone who wants to know more about the people’s way of life in North Korea should definitely watch the episode online. The show itself is beautiful, and the NK episode really puts a different light onto the country we know so little about, except for how it is portrayed in the media.