New beginnings 2020-01-27

It’s the Lunar New Year holiday season and I’ve spent the past few days enjoying the company of my friends and extended family. As the holiday season draws to a close, I decided to start working on my DPRK360.com website again. I wasn’t satisfied with my old hosting provider as there were plenty of technical issues. I also used 3rd party virtual tour hosting services, which caused even more problems and downtime as they often failed to load my 360° virtual tours. Finally, I experienced an unfortunate failure of a crucial SSD hard-drive that rendered all my old website materials irrecoverable. So as you can see, this is now my first post on an empty dprk360.com.

To be honest, I haven’t been updating the website for more than a year. I stopped adding website content around the middle of 2018. However, I still updated the DPRK 360 Facebook and Instagram from time to time. I know there were some rumors floating around that I gave up on the project or that I lost interest. Someone even told me they heard that I got into trouble with the North Koreans. This is all pure conjecture. The fact is that I needed to realign my priorities and focus on my work and family.

As for my “lost years”, I spent a good part of 2018 to 2019 in Phnom Penh working as the Media Director of a Cambodian conglomerate. There, I had an incredible boss and enjoyed a nice quiet existence that kept me too busy to make any trips back to North Korea. I finally had more time during the 2nd half of 2019 and spent whatever free time I had traveling to other countries, mainly because I wanted to take my wife and kids on the holidays they missed out while I was working the DPRK 360 project. Doing this project has not been easy and my number one supporter has always been my wife. It would be impossible without her holding the fort back home while I’m off on some crazy adventure in the heart of North Korea.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that North Korea officially supports the DPRK 360 project. Without their official support, I get no funding from them and no discounts when I visit the DPRK. To date, I’ve made 19 trips to North Korea and every one of those trips costs a pretty penny. The DPRK 360 project would not have been possible without the support of international travel companies offsetting some of these costs. So lastly, I would like to thank the following companies which have helped make this project possible thus far:

  1. Juche Travel Services (U.K.)
  2. Young Pioneer Tours (Beijing)
  3. Universal Travel Corporation (Singapore)
  4. Eastern Vision (Hong Kong)

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Design Peace Treaty Exhibition

Talk @ Hongik University graduating class exhibition 강의@홍익대학교 졸업전시회

I’m thankful to have been invited to speak at Hongik University’s (홍익대학교) design class graduation exhibition and share my opinions and experiences regarding North Korea.

Aram Pan Solo Exhibition in Seoul

Aram Pan’s (DPRK 360) Solo Exhibition in Seoul 서울에서 열린 아람 판(DPRK 360)의 개인 전시회

I’m very thankful to my host Emu Artspace and the good people of South Korea for warmly welcoming me to exhibit my works and share my experiences in Seoul.