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.
K-pop meets sartorial menswear in Malan Breton HOMME, S/S 2015. #EXPxMALANBRETON #malanbreton #malanbretonhomme #immabb #exptheband #exp #nosleeptillKorea Photography by @photonutz Makeup by @bellaondemand Styled and directed by @malanbreton #sartorial #menswear #mensfashion #nyc #kpop #idolgroup
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!)
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:
*follow this link, if no others and read the whole interview! It provides essential context for the EXP project.