I’m obsessed with movement. Movement, being one of the most vivid manifestations of a life force, possesses inexplicable beauty and has been fascinating me ever since I went to study traditional animation at college. Due to the natural development of events, I ended up focusing on dance as a representation of movement and I have been exploring my feelings and perception of both dance in general and specific styles, dancers, and performances.
Recently, I’ve been heavily focusing on Jimin as one of the dancers I wanted to portray but I was growing nervous about one problem – I no longer portray just “a dancer” that caught my eye. I do portray Jimin the dancer but due to my becoming his fan, my perception includes my experience with his public persona and all the feelings related to that. And maybe it’d be wasteful not to utilise this situation in a better way than just including him in a long list of performers I wanted to react to. Even before reaching this phase, I would often ask myself: “Is what I see in him as a dancer the same as what others see? How is it different? Why?”
I grew up very curious about the topic of perception and how subjective it is. What is the real truth? What is reality? Maybe the portrayal that is the closest to the true “JM the dancer” is not about one person grasping the movement accurately. Maybe it’s the summary of all our experiences and feelings. And this has become the starting point for my project.
An art project to explore the difference in perception of Jimin as a dancer by one artist creating regularly an artwork to which participants could consequently react freely, in any way they choose.
Philosophy – A Mikrokosmos of Hearts
Lately, I’ve been challenging more and more the concept of universal truth and its presumed trait of objectivity, especially in relation to artwork where subjective perception plays the main role. Instead of focusing on the layers of our perception we share, I’m interested in where we differ. Each of us is a world on its own and that’s something incredible and miraculous. My own approach to artistic creation has been heavily influenced by British author Neil Gaiman, who made me realise that it should be about a dialogue and that the one thing you have that no one else does is yourself. My reacting to Jimin as a dancer is something only I can contribute — and equally, others have their own truth there and it’s also only theirs, something unique to them.
Consequently, I’m even more invested in the emotional part of the whole artistic process and I’m aiming at putting my heart there to a point where the technical part is secondary to me. What lies in my heart is the point of my artwork while the technical part is the language I use. I do not omit the technical part but I seek how to make the best compromise between the craft and my “truth”. Another work that influenced me a lot was a book by Chinese painter Shi Tao called Sayings on Paintings from Monk Bitter Gourd. While the book draws on Zen Buddhism as Shi Tao allegedly tried to use his art to translate the philosophy to people, for me it was more about the way it made me think about visual representation of truth in relation to a mind.
To explain, my hand – my technical skill – should be in tune with my spirit and my spirit should be awoken to the universe in order to grasp on the truth and express in my artwork. For me, my brush should be an extension of my heart and hence my heart should make the moves, not my hand.
That however means that if the brush is led by a different heart, the truth will be the one that belongs to this other heart. And, going back to what I said previously, the truth is in the dialogue these hearts share together.
Since this project is related to BTS, I decided to feature the term Mikrokosmos in the name, since I think the song Mikrokosmos beautifully corresponds with the idea.
Jimin has been a long time present in my art project on dance as a dancer simply due to inspiring me. Some people may search for deeper meaning behind him inspiring me, but that’d actually be false: he’s inspiring me as a dancer because his artistic expression speaks to me very strongly in regards to the topic of my artwork. In fact, no other dancer currently inspires me as much as he does.
I can’t really include all the members of BTS in the project because while I like them and they’re also brilliant in their own artistic expression, it would make the topic too complicated for me. Also, the level of inspiration I could draw from them in relation to my own artistic projects (dance being the topic, does not balance the downhills of such approach.
Perhaps a better explanation to the question “Why Jimin?”, however, is “Why ARMY?” When I realised I was no longer able to keep detached from Jimin as a subject of my artwork, I kept thinking how to work with this situation and I thought about it as a problem, a handicap for a long time. But as they say about many issues that may be the source of our insecurities, why not make it the main point instead? There is probably no other dancer that inspires me whom I could try to use as a subject to explore the topic of perception and the reason is simple – no other dancer on my list has such a dedicated and well organised following. Originally, I was a bit unhappy about portraying someone who’s being portrayed by numerous people but then it came to me that the fact so many people are focusing on him is the unique opportunity that deserves it’s own attention.
And if we have such an opportunity, we should use it.
When people react to my artwork, it comes from two places – a person reacting to my artwork with the knowledge of the subject or a person reacting without the knowledge. When ARMY react to my artwork on twt, it’s because they know the subject and so instead of evaluating the technical part of the picture, it seems to me they’re more focused on whether it’s Jimin for them or isn’t. When my family and friends, who generally don’t know Jimin, react to my artwork, they evaluate what does it make them feel, yes, but as a picture with no other meaning than “a dancer”. A friend of mine even thought I was drawing it out of my head. That was making me more and more frustrated as I wasn’t really interested to know whether the picture in question pleased their eyes and soul, I wanted to know whether I grasped the essence of Jimin the dancer. But they could not say, they did not have their own perception of Jimin to compare it to. ARMY does. Each of us have our own perception, our experience there. And that’s incredibly valuable.
I’d like to confront my perception with others, meaning to explore how perception of a person, in this instance me, fits to the perception of others. I don’t plan to draw any concrete conclusions, it’s not a scientific work but an art project. Instead of numbers and stats and analyses, I’d like to present practical experience and instead of making it divisive, as perception may seem, I’d try to focus on the inclusiveness of diversity. Would you change a line? Would you search different colours? Is this what you feel? Everyone would be invited to make their own experience and perhaps challenge their own ideas about perception and objective truth.
Methodology: How would I go about this?
In the duration of one year, I’d periodically share artwork based on JM’s dancing and I’d invite fans to freely react to this artwork: reaction could take the form of both verbal commentary and interference with the artwork itself. Those interested, would be free to demonstrate visually what they’d change using my artwork as the basis. In other words, they could delete a line and draw a different one, change colours – whatever they’d felt didn’t sit right with them. There would be no restrictions about the nature of the artwork I’d deliver, except for the fact, it would be a form of fine art. On my account, I still keep realistic to an extent but I’d like to leap into more abstract expression too.
After the year, I’d conclude the project by reflecting on it – possibly by creating one more artwork where I’d try to somehow address the opinions of others. All artwork and commentary, including the input of others, would be consequently published on a website in form of a gallery and everyone would have the opportunity to visit and think for themselves about the topic of perception, commenting on their experience would be very welcomed too.
There are some issues which I am still not too sure how to go about.
Firstly, people joining in may be from the same background and hence their perception may be rather similar. I don’t have a solution on this, since it isn’t about science and instead of inviting specific people, I’d like to have people join by themselves on their own free will.
Another problem is that people are often used to accepting ideas instead of questioning them, especially with things that seem to require some specific technical skill and I fear people being scared to express themselves freely. I mean, they might feel they are not in a position to interfere with my artwork if they are not artists. But my artwork doesn’t focus on the technical part, the point is within emotional experience and general perception.
When thinking about this problem, I thought it could be partially solved by hosting actual real life events, where a group of volunteers would react to a particular artwork together and could feel more comfortable to share their own visions. However, in the current global situation, this may not be exactly possible. If everything was safe and a tour could take a place, I’d try to use the opportunity of many fans getting together to organise such events but right now, I’m not sure as it seems too complicated to do it online right now.
Interested in participating?
What/Who I seek: A technical savvy ARMYs who’d be interested in helping me with the whole process, including establishment of the website volunteers, who could eventually help with hosting any organised event (but this part depends on the development of global situation) All ARMYs interested in participating as reactors to my artwork. General feedback on this idea is welcomed too
About the author
For several years, I’ve been working on a long term art project called All the Dance in My World which aims to explore my perception and feelings related to dance as both the audience and the dancer as well (I am not really a dancer, but I do learn contemporary dance and have some little experience with other styles and approaches too). Having a full time job in the media, I currently create artwork in my free time, although it’s still the most important activity for me. I never finished art college where I studied traditional animation and due to mental issues I got behind all my other artist friends. However, art makes me the most happy and so, I’ve returned to it after a few years and instead of thinking about the issues around career and livelihood in relation to art, I’m not focusing on the art itself. Due to complicated reasons, the only artwork of mine which is publicly available is featured on my Twitter account @ResidesIn. Since the account is dedicated to Jimin, BTS and issues related to mental health, it doesn’t really feature any other artwork.