If you follow K-pop news or participate in online K-pop fan communities, you may have noticed a bit of chatter lately about an up-and-coming American K-pop boy group called EXP.  You may have also figured out that this six member idol-style group is actually a visual arts project called I Am Making a Boy Band (#immabb) run by Columbia University student Bora Kim. Kim describes herself as an “interdisciplinary artist and sociologist from Seoul, Korea” and the whole #immabb shebang is the thesis* or her Master of Fine Arts degree.

The global K-pop fandom is meeting news of this project with heavy criticism and FEELS are ranging from skepticism and confusion, to indignation and unfortunately, outright vitriol. (K-pop fans are nothing, if not passionate!)

Meanwhile a couple of international fashion webzines, Mutzine (Korea) and Milk (Cambodia), and perhaps most notably, NYC’s own music magazine The Fader are running pieces on EXP.

This American K-pop band has even caught the attention of Korean publics on both sides of the Pacific: Korean American magazine KoreAm has presented a cliff-notes run-down of Kim’s intentions and the academic theories behind the #immabb project, and South Korean netizens seem to be scratching their heads over the whole thing.

EXP’s Kickstarter campaign just reached it’s $30,000 goal in early June – so we can look forward to seeing and hearing more of this “1st+only NYC born K-Pop band” in the near future! And hopefully we can trade the vitriol for more of these in depth and open-minded conversations that examine gender,  culture, and what it means to be “K-pop.”

And if you want to keep a close eye on this fledgling hybrid music project, tap into their SNSes:

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/exptheband

Instagram: https://instagram.com/exp_theband/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EXP_theBand

*follow this link, if no others and read the whole interview! It provides essential context for the EXP project.