Vicarious Media: Serial Affect and KPOP Reaction Videos

Vicarious Media: Serial Affect and KPOP Reaction Videos

BTS at the 31st Golden Disk Awards [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Michelle Cho, Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies and World Cinema at McGill University, will present a talk on the male idol group BTS and discuss the causes and effects of their massive crossover success.

Monday, March 05, 2018
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Presentation Room
Charles E. Young Research Library

This talk focuses on the male idol group BTS, which has recently seized the American pop music press’s attention after winning a Billboard Music Award for “Top Social Artist,” a fan-voted category that recognizes social media impact through Twitter. Michelle Cho argues that BTS and, by extension, Kpop, offers a special case of transpacific worlding, particularly by managing the expectations of its multi-sited audience through an erotics of suspended youth.

Professor Cho will approach BTS’s crossover success by way of a discussion of Kpop reaction videos, a specific subgenre of online video self-documentary (vlog) that records the spectacular visceral impacts of Kpop consumption, either for uninitiated viewers or, increasingly, for fans to broadcast their affective response to their favorite celebrity idols for the vicarious pleasure of their fan communities. In BTS’s case, unofficial promotion by fans occupies a central role in translating the group’s appeal to international audiences. Her talk will consider the form and content of these video reactions—which endeavor to be maximally “spreadable”—and the ways in which such fan production can help us to track emergent norms and media practices engendered by self-nominated “global” popular cultures like Kpop.

Michelle Cho is the Korea Foundation Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies and World Cinemas at McGill University. She has published on Korean cinemas in several venues, and is currently at work on a monograph on gender, media convergence, and post-politics in Korean wave popular cultures.

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