PAJU, South Korea: A stuffed deer stands in a former US ammunition store just outside the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas, tree branches spreading up from its antlers towards the roof.
The work was installed this year at Camp Greaves, a former US army facility within the buffer zone that runs alongside the DMZ that has been converted into an arts centre and tourist attraction.
South Korean artist Kim Myeongbeom listens to “the whispers of objects and their intimate conversations”, a plaque explains, looking to juxtapose both man-made and natural objects and representations of life and death.
American forces moved out of Camp Greaves in 2004, in one of the first steps of a wide-ranging plan to relocate many of the US units stationed in South Korea to Camp Humphreys, south of the capital Seoul.
The transfers have now largely been completed, leaving a host of former bases in the hands of South Korean local authorities.
The most prominent is the Yongsan base in the centre of Seoul, which is set to become a public park.
At Camp Greaves, north of Seoul, Gyeonggi province is attempting to cash in on the steady stream of DMZ tourism nearby.
The armouries-turned-art spaces are just one of its attractions — the former officers’ mess has been converted into a youth hostel.
The hugely popular 2016 South Korean television drama “Descendants of the Sun” was partly filmed at the site, and it offers fans the chance to take selfies in front of key scenes’ backdrops.
“From just over there you can see a North Korean flag and also the South Korean flag,“ Southern tourist Kim Dong-in told AFP.
“It makes me realise how close North and South Korea are and hope for unification.” — AFP