The Map of The Soul era has brought a whole new universe with it and the psychology aspects running deep in the MVs got all ARMY theorists thinking… even harder! Jessica will help us understand the different archetypes and we will deep dive into Persona, Shadow and Ego MVs. Selene will give us her ideas and theories on how Jungkook and Taehyung can be key in the main BU story. We will wrap up this session with an open discussion on theories for what’s coming next in BU.
- Jessica (@ksjalpacaparka)
- Selene (@moonlight_BTS_)
- Lyna (@Lyna91Fr)
Now that we have gone through the stories of BU, let’s try to understand what all of this means. Callista will explain to us the idea behind The Hero’s Journey and how it connects to BU Jin character. Sarah will give us a deep dive into her interpretation of Black Swan’s storytelling through the MVs. Together we will also have an open discussion on the Wings era, with Hermann Hesse’s Demian and the Short Films related to BU.
From the ARMY Theorist society (@army_society)
- Callista (@BANGTANDIOR)
- Sarah (@__Samira7__)
Let’s take a look at the different pieces of this huge puzzle that BTS Universe is. Together with Courtney, we will walk through the contents in the MVs, the Notes, the Smeraldo Blog and the Save Me webtoon. We will also check other parts of BTS Universe that are different in terms of storytelling and Angela will share with us her particularly moving view of Spring Day among other ideas. We will finish this session with an open discussion about how the different BU stories are weaved into the MVs.
- Courtney (@writer_court)
- Angela (@ItalianARMY_BTS)
“The impact of supergroup BTS is presently being felt around the globe. Smashing records left and right, BTS has claimed an irrevocable and indelible space in the public consciousness as the face of K-pop and Korean soft power. Just as powerful is their legion of fans, known as ARMY. Unlike most common perceptions of fandoms, ARMY outstrips expectations of participatory culture by actively organizing itself across the globe according to the core message of BTS: love yourself.
It is this extramural, united sense of purpose that makes BTS and ARMY unique. Music groups and the publicity that surrounds them are often steered by the entertainment companies that initiate and drive their popularity. BTS is unique in that the reach of ARMY is unequivocally farther, faster, and fiercer than what BigHit Labels can wield on its own. As a result, ARMY has had just as much of a hand in crafting the image of BTS as the members themselves, if not more, through social media and activism.
This dissertation would explore how fandom and group intertwine to craft the coherent, unified mythos that is BTS and ARMY. The two are inextricable, co-dependent on one another to survive and thrive in a way that few other musical groups — K-pop or otherwise — have ever emulated. The Mikrokosmos (so-titled after a BTS song written directly to ARMY) coalesces as a result of both meticulous effort and ardent devotion to the concept, execution, and interrogation of what it means to be BTS and to be ARMY.”
I am currently in the process of formulating this proposal, selecting my objects of analysis, and deciding on methodology of research. I would appreciate any suggestions regarding source material (particularly as it relates to the smeraldo flower and its various appearances), as well as recommendations as to major contributors to fan theory regarding the BU.
All feedback is helpful! Diving into mythological thinking will be a first for me and I want to position BTS/ARMY appropriately. My academic background is not one founded on interviews or quantitative research, so any help in laying out a methodology for that would also be wonderful.
About the Author
Dominique Brigham earned her MA in Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam, researching the translation and adaptation of “Pokémon: The First Movie” from Japan to the United States in the 1990s, and has previously presented on the cultural impact of video games. Currently she works as a product marketer for the medtech company Siilo, where she writes on how healthcare professionals utilize communication technology in clinical settings. She is also preparing a PhD proposal on BTS, the ARMY fandom, their (a)political natures, and their joint and disparate impacts on global culture and social media activism.
Intangible Cultural Heritage, the impact BTS has on its audience at home and abroad. What is cultural heritage to you, how to define it and how is global success defined in Cultural Capital.
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About the Author
Based part time at INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH CENTRE FOR INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING IRIS@LEEDS TRINITY UNIVERSITY, UK
Although many attempt to explain BTS’ surge in global popularity by pointing to their social media use, grassroots fandom, and performance skill, there is a clear lack of focus on the importance of the storytelling found in BTS’ work, as well as the underlying influences from literature and psychology. If we are to truly understand BTS and their significance within pop culture and the global music scene, it is necessary to examine BTS’ narrative and its effects more deeply.
Throughout BTS’ conceptual journey from 2013 to the present, trials and anxieties are brought to the surface, contemplated, and resolved. Within their lyrics, music videos, and fictional Bangtan Universe, universal themes of wandering youth, school, temptation, love, and self-development are amplified by related themes seen in works of literature and psychology. These influences help BTS tap into a form of bibliotherapy, a creative art therapy that uses literature to promote healing. A close examination of BTS’ work reveals how BTS engages its fanbase with a cohesive cross-platform narrative that effectively helps fans explore their own anxieties and learn to heal.
This presentation, originally given at the BTS Global Interdisciplinary Conference at Kingston University in January 2020, interprets BTS’ conceptual narratives and themes within the context of works by Hermann Hesse, Carl Jung, and Erich Fromm. I also apply the theory of bibliotherapy to explain how BTS’ narrative succeeds in helping fans cope with anxieties and pain. To illustrate impacts on the fandom, I include data from a global fandom survey I conducted for this project.
The research survey used for this presentation has been opened for a second round. If you’d like to participate, please go here: https://rebrand.ly/btsandhealing
The survey is completely anonymous, and you can participate even if you participated in the first round! The data are being kept separately.
Additionally, if you’re interested in a more in-depth fandom survey that covers a wide range of topics, please visit: https://rebrand.ly/btsgeneralsurvey
Both surveys will be used to inform my future projects. Thank you for your participation!
About the Author
Courtney Lazore is a writer/editor with special interests in BTS, Korean culture and history, language, gaming, and fan studies. She received her BA in History with a focus on East Asia and her MA in English before completing a four-year Korean language program. She currently serves as an editor for Revolutionaries Press and is a team member of @BangtanScholars. You can find her on her website, TheBTSEffect.com, where she posts writings and projects related to BTS and guides to the Bangtan Universe and HYYH Notes, as well as on Twitter @writer_court.
At a time when collective intelligence is on the rise, the viewer has as powerful and decisive media power almost as large as companies, being able to take control of different media platforms. The transmedia language appears as a way of telling a story through these different media, with contents designed for each of them in order to complement each other for the best performance of the whole. The analysis performed here regarding the Bangtan Universe seeks to explore a transmedia narrative that has expanded from the video clip to other platforms, such as short films, books and comic books, highlighting the influence of fans in this narrative as well as tracing the method used by the band in expanding this universe to its different media.
Being popular, mainly through films, books and series, the transmedia storytelling proposes a new way of relating to the products created by large communication companies, directors and writers. By dividing diverse content into different media, where they all bring new information about a universe, the knowledge is complementary and converges. The research sought to unite the concepts of transmedia storytelling with the analysis of the language expansion of the fictional universe created by the South Korean pop group BTS, which after the launch of the quadrilogy of music videos “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life” in 2015, continues today to launch products from this universe on different platforms. Doing something completely innovative for the music scene in the world of K-pop, BTS uses the tools of transmedia to his advantage by expanding a fictional universe from his music videos to several other platforms and media, such as short films, texts, books and comics.
The case study of this transmedia portrays a media that has expanded from BTS music videos (Bangtan Universe) to other platforms. Henry Jenkins and his study in “Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide” were used and approached as the main author for dialogue, with Jenkins being one of the most important scholars in the area of culture of convergence and transmedia storytelling. An analysis of the concepts of the transmedia storytelling established by Jenkins was carried out, to later trace the positive points and those that were addressed and used in the construction of some other transmedia narratives, to finally arrive at the analysis of the Bangtan Universe.
Initially known as The Most Beautiful Moment if Life series, Bangtan Universe is a fictional multimedia South Korean universe, centered on a series of video clips released for the The Most Beautiful Moment in Life album trilogy between 2015 and 2016. With its events taking place in the year 2022, the Bangtan Universe officially got its name in 2017 and had its expansion into short films, books, webtoon and small booklets.
The clip for the song I Need U moved a large number of fans who, surprised by the events they saw in this new approach by the audiovisual product group, started to join on the internet to discuss the lives of the characters featured in the short film and to look for hidden messages in the two released versions. The music video for Run, the next single, drew more lines and wrote a little more history within the same narrative and the universe built in I Need U, in addition to making fans curious about the new theories presented.
The Bangtan Universe begins with short films, aimed at YouTube platform and being analyzed from the perspective of video clips for promoting group music. In sequence, a series of short shorts is released that translate the concept of the WINGS album, which came just after The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, where fans managed to fit the whole concept and context of these very short into the logic of the BU universe.
The Bangtan Universe success story is not due to an isolated event, but to a series of factors that contributed to its solidification as a narrative. The company’s commitment to a more complex and profound history, the growing increase in the group’s popularity in the country of origin, and later abroad, and the use of social media, whether by the group or by the fans, can also be seen as strategies that will yield motivation and long-term engagement. Finally, it will be important to reflect on the real need of the layers of your universe and how to use them in order to get the most out of this platform. The fact that Bangtan Universe achieves good performance on different platforms, such as the case of the webtoon that attracted comic book fans not previously connected to the universe, does not negate the public’s participatory intellectual demand for a complete understanding of the story.
It is possible to analyze that the construction of this universe, which began in 2015, was thought and elaborated to be developed over the years. The Bangtan Universe already has more than five media platforms, with plans to expand to two more, and the performance on each of them has proved a success, with each platform being able to establish itself in a way
independent. The perception of a new way of making transmedia storytelling, which continues to be explored in Bangtan Universe attracts not only fans of the group, who today is establish as one of the biggest fandoms on the internet and who manage to generate engagement and topics for prolonged discussions on social networks. But it also attracts those who have an interest in the media explored individually, making it not necessary to have an interest in the musical content of the group to understand the BU. The connection between all of the media is profound, with clues and subliminal messages spread throughout all of the records already published about this universe. The non-chronological order of events in the universe requires time and dedication from fans for a deeper understanding of the facts. This makes the experience richer and more interactive, differentiating itself from other ways and strategies of producing and consuming a transmedia narrative.
Based on observations and personal considerations, a method used by the group was observed, consisting of:
- connections and narrative chain between platforms;
- emotional connection with the artists;
- encouragement to interactivity.
*This is a short version of the thesis.
*This thesis was presented and defended at the Faculty of Cinema and Digital Media at IESB, in Brasilia/Brazil in 2020.
To contact the author: email@example.com
About the Author
Amanda Porto, graduated in Cinema and Digital Media from IESB, I am 23 years old and have been working since 2017 in the area of cultural production and art direction, with recognized works in the area of storytelling and editing. My final thesis at college was a case study of the Bangtan Universe from the perspective of transmedia storytelling.
This interactive discussion will include conversations between Mish (ARMY since 2015), Lauren (ARMY since 2017), and Jessica (ARMY since 2020) about their experiences that led them to become ARMY, how BTS has helped them through their lives and most recently through the global pandemic, and their thoughts on the future, with BTS and ARMY. With three different fans entering the fandom during three different eras, we will get a unique look at how both BTS and ARMY have changed over time!
- Mish @PercievdOrder (ARMY since 2015)
- Lauren @LaurenJP68 (ARMY since 2017)
- Jessica @_jessicode (ARMY since 2020)