The project introduces the fans of Hallyu, the Korean Wave and K-pop, a musical genre originating in South Korea. It focuses on how young Hallyu and K-pop fans react towards their idols and their extreme obsession for the South Korean artists. There is also an exploration of GIFs, also known as Graphics Interchange Format images, looking at how this image format has gone viral and become a big part of many people’s online social experiences.
The project started with an awareness of the increase in the popularity of South Korean culture in recent years. Thanks to the incredible success of the phenomenal hit Gangnam Style by Psy in 2012, South Korean pop culture has become even more popular within the international community. K-pop bands such as Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, Big Bang, 2NE1… and actors such as Bi Rain and Lee Byung Hyun have been widely recognized and have successful careers outside of Asia. Hallyu and K-pop are followed by millions of young people around the world. These fans, as a very important part of this pop culture, are exceptional, loyal, extremely passionate and most of the time, airheaded. With the boom of video blogs, shortened to vlogs, people can now easily share their reaction and opinions online without having to describe how they feel through words. By creating a series of GIFs using mainly fans’ reaction videos, the project aims to portray the many portraits of Hallyu and K-pop fans through the ways they express their endless devotion for their idols.
The final outcome is a moving image installation, which consists of 141 GIFs and is about 30 seconds long. The GIFs are created using hundreds of video footages by many K-pop fans around the world and also the South Korean idols themselves. The short clips cut from these footages are then combined and looped to produce a series of GIFs, which express the franticness, excitement, sadness and countless other complicated and somehow humorous feelings that a Hallyu and K-pop fan would feel for their idols. Through their reaction captured in only a few seconds, we can see the extreme commitment and devotion these fans have, how important the South Korean artists are to them, how every single person wants to be the craziest and most special fan in the world. They are willing to do many things to be recognized, even though their idols may never know about their existence.
The intended audience of this project is Hallyu and K-pop fans around the world, between the age of 16 and 25. It is also for the people who have heard of South Korean pop culture and are interested to know more about this huge group of fans and the idolization in Asia.
Conceptually or commercially relevant?
The project is conceptually relevant because its main purpose is to convey a message, and that message is about the relationship between celebrities and their fans within the pop culture, especially in Asia, nowadays.