7000 Cattle is filmed at Mount Kumgang with an 8mm film camera, and through the use of medium and filming style it mimics a typical amateur vacation film. In one short audio sequence in the film, you can hear a recording of a Seoul yodeling club singing the song "Siebentausend Rinder" (Engl. 7000 Cattle) by Peter Hinnen, a Swiss yodeler and pop singer who performed with western guitar and cowboy costume. The song is about someone leaving homeland to explore the wide world, but to their joy or disappointment, only sees cattle. The interpretation of what it represents remains open. 7000 Cattle also recalls the gift of cattle from the former chairman of the South Korean Hyundai Corporation to North Korea.
Homeland evokes questions about history, memory, and identity, and is particularly closely linked to the concept of origin, authenticity, or genuineness. During my first visit to Korea in 2005, I had the opportunity to meet South Korean yodelers with names like the Korean Alpine Rose Yodel Club or the Korean Edelweiss Yodel Club. Yodeling became popular in Korea after 1953 under the influence of stationed U.S. soldiers and country western music, and nowadays there are dozens of yodeling clubs with hundreds of members. Yodeling is a means of communication that is originally based on imitating sounds from nature, such as the cuckoo; and call-and-response songs can be found in various mountain regions around the world, such as Lapland, Georgia, Morocco, Congo, China, and North and South America. Seeing South Koreans yodeling in alpine costumes and lederhosen seemed initially strange to me because I associated yodeling and traditional attire mainly with regional patriotism in my own cultural context. However, yodeling as a vocal bridging of distances in a country that is 70 percent mountains is maybe not so far-fetched, and inspired by my visit to the North Korean Kumgang Mountains in the same year, this cultural technique suddenly came to me as a metaphor for the attempt at inner-Korean rapprochement. The so-called mythically coveted Diamond Mountains, located on the eastern coast of North Korea and bordering South Korea, were opened up for tourism by Hyundai Asan during the Sunshine Policy and were accessible to South Koreans since 1998. However, due to a completely controlled setting, genuine contact did not occur between tourists and North Koreans working in the resort (restaurants, hot springs, circus), along the hiking trails, or people in the surrounding villages on the other side of the fence seen afar from the bus on a newly built road through the DMZ. Nonetheless, the Kumgangsan project brought foreign exchange for the North, was intended as an investment for long-term development, and was considered a model of rapprochement. The mountain was open to South Koreans for 10 years since 1998, and over a million visitors came until a tragic and still unresolved incident occurred in which a South Korean tourist was shot by a North Korean soldier.