Participatory Camp Aesthetics of K-Pop Scene

A direct cause of the global success of the K-Pop scene shall be seen in the first place in a particular visual landscape created by the artists for the sake of crystallization of recipient-attachment. The text, analyzing and comparing the image and aesthetic identity of k-pop groups in the years, localizes many of its determinates in the sphere of camp-influenced expression, extended and stabilized through the semantic chain of media connecting every level of genre’s aura. Perceiving the artists as curated works of art themselves, and their carefully crafted appearance as an exhibition of culturally anchored and recognizable tropes, the paper reconstructs the complex process of image creation of k-pop idols and the gradual appropriation of camp-factors as steadying aspects of their media presence. Reflecting on the now classic essay by Susan Sontag, the article researches the participatory dimension of camp image and aesthetics of k-pop artists, as well as connects it to the gradual development of attachment such characteristic appearance awakes among the audience, causing the vivid differentiation of fandom structures and the discourses the scene is thematized in. Anchored in both sociology of media, performativity studies, as well as broadly understood popular culture studies, the text’s aim lies in delivering of an in-depth glimpse into the aesthetic structures of k-pop, and into the manner in which these camp-oriented motifs establish a link between the visual and audial presence of the artists, turning the music into a multisensory spectacle of attachment.

Camp, K-pop, Media studies, Pop-culture studies

The Arts in Social, Political, and Community Life

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

  • Alicja Sułkowska
    • Student, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany Germany
    • Born in Poland and being active there as music and culture journalist, Alicja Sułkowska now lives in Weimar, Germany as DAAD-scholar studying media & culture at Bauhaus Universitaet. She is the author of Manfred von Richthofen's biography ("Złamane skrzydła. Życie i sława Manfreda von Richthofena", 2016) and the series of both scientific and popular articles in fields of literature, metal studies, history, and anthropology. Her main interests focus on image creation in mass media and discursive re-work of literature and arts in modern culture. In 2019 she had been named one of the Emerging Scholars of 14th international Arts in Society Conference.