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Jihoi Lee

Advisor: Felicity Scott

MS.CCCP 2013

Mapping Urgency: Escape Routes of North Korean Refugees

Abstract:
This project aims to experiment with, provoke, and assess the power of visualizing spatial information within a geographic framework, especially as that power operates within the terrain of porous boundaries between nations and conflicted political entities. The main ambition of this research is to trace the paths of those who choose to flee their own countries, focusing particularly on a case of subjects for whom that flee occurs within the harshest conditions of all: the defectors of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), aka. North Korea. Acknowledging the political complexity at stake, this research will consist of two main bodies of work: 1) a critical reading and analysis of the idea of mapping the flow of such a particular crowd and 2) its realization as a digital cartography. To do so a map of the refugees’ escape route will be produced with the assistance of GIS (Geographic Information System) and data collected by remote sensing technologies from various international watchdogs and nationally conducted research agencies from both U.S. and South Korea. The research is to be further developed in a form of digital platform that helps construct strategic tools for humanitarian organizations and endangered political refugees.