What a year that 2019. I have traveled to beautiful mountains, snow-capped peaks with blankets of blue lakes at their laps, views that soothed my mind, soul and fed my bottomless hunger for nature and exploring. I experienced a BTS concert firsthand and developed a friendship with so many different women, who daily remind me to laugh, sometimes make me cry, remind me to love and respect myself and others and share with me a passion for justice, equality, respect, freedom and BTS. I lost the last of my grandparents, and whatever chance there was to ask those questions I should’ve asked and never did, said goodbye to that part of my ancestry and closed the door on a chapter full of unanswered questions, unspoken words and undone deeds. I lost the job I held for more than a decade and with it, the comfort and familiarity of routine, coworkers that became friends and a salary that allowed me a lot of luxuries (and BTS merch). I also held in my hand the fruits of the heart-wrenching labor that writing can be, in the form of a book that holds stories of women like me who left their home and country to emigrate, I was humbled and proud to have my story printed alongside theirs. What a year 2019 was indeed.
As I sat writing the first post on the first day of the new year, sipping coffee and nursing a prosecco hangover I wondered about the lessons 2019 imparted. Today, fourteen days into 2020, I’ve learned mostly that even something as simple as posting a new entry on my blog for the new year seems like a herculean task when you don’t have drive. The first half of this post has been sitting in my computer for two weeks. Even while speaking about a topic I am passionate about, it takes an effort to sit down, put thoughts into mildly coherent sentences that make a tiny bit of justice to the subject matter.
It makes one wonder, how does BTS do it? Do they have a DeLorean secretly stashed in an underground garage in the bowels of Seoul? Are they in possession of a Tardis? Have they discovered the way to bend the space time continuum daily in order to achieve all they achieve?
2020 brought a new BTS album announcement, rocking the world and dashing theories all over the Twitter ether, and today brought the news that BTS will be funding art installations in five different cities around the world (London, Buenos Aires, Berlin, New York and Seoul) in an initiative called “Connect BTS”
HOW?! I mean, honestly. I can’t even write a post without getting distracted by books, work, k-dramas, hunger, bad moods, sleepiness, you name it.
Their discipline truly it’s unparalleled. You must be disciplined in order to spearhead such an ambitious project, one that surprises no ARMY since we know full well the extent of BTS’ passion for art. Not only are their performances; from sets, costume design, lighting, choreography, a pleasurable artistic feast for all the senses, but art itself has been incredibly important to its members. From the escapist and healing properties of a quiet museum for Namjoon to art piece collecting, photography, drawing and film-making, of all the other members.
Now we see them reaching out beyond the enjoyment of consuming art, beyond the painful pleasure of making art to the very lofty goal of sharing, spreading, and becoming patrons of the arts.
In collaboration with curators BTS is, as always, not dipping their toes but diving head-first into this new world of patronage. And becase we know they do NOTHING in half measures, I am sure it’s an honor for all involved to be a part of this project. Since they are such art lovers, I can envision all the BTS member bowing respectfully and fanboying over artists and their installations, as if they themselves weren’t worthy or fawning and praising. And being as they are BTS I have no doubt all artists and curators are over the moon at having the opportunity to collaborate with the most successful musical artist (of the planet). Oh, to be a fly in the wall when all this mutual adoration it’s taking place!
Being the humble dears they are, BTS would say it is because of us, because of ARMY, because we inspire them. They will probably also give all props and due credit to their incredibly hardworking staff. Even so, ARMY inspiration aside, dedicated staff notwithstanding, it boggles the mind to think the amount of pots BTS have their fingers in. How much they always search and reach for more. It’s a level of ambition I can’t comprehend because I am so dammed lazy. It is, however, a type ambition I can respect. It is not pursuit for the sake of pursuit. It is not blind, greedy search for money. It’s a hunger that gets fed and feeds not only them but others. Millions of others. It’s a search for more art, more vision, more spaces that encourage both. More inspiration, more connectivity, more doors and windows open, more inclusivity, more chances for creative juices to flow, grow, to spark into existence, to develop and affect change in others.
One feels positively self-righteous when fangirling over BTS. They give me daily joy, in small, sometimes invisible ways that I feel when I smile like a loon by myself, remembering something or listening to their music. But also, in monumental ways, like this project and many others they have participated in, that will leave a mark in the firmament of art as sure as Philoctetes got his constellation at the end of Hercules. Seven stars were born!
For more information on the project please visit the Bangtan As Art twitter page @artansonyendan for, not only, a better explanation of this amazing project but also, incredibly thought-provoking, beautiful threads about BTS as Art by the super smart Meg who is an Art History Major and it’s having the best day of her life today!