Recently, a seven-member boy band from Korea called BTS has captivated the globe, forming the most massive and powerful fandom in history. The BTS phenomenon reaches far beyond the typical achievements of pop stars: as Jiyoung Lee illustrates, the changes that have been shown by BTS and their fandom ARMY are not confined to the music industry, but symptomatically shows significant sociocultural changes and revolutionary mutations in art, as well as a Zeitgeist or the political unconscious of the present age.
Lee argues that BTS has made fissures in the oppressive hierarchical structure of existing society and analyzes the socio-critical implications of BTS’ lyrics as a kind of patricide on a social level. Their tendency toward horizontality is not limited to their message, but further inspires fans’ grassroots movements to bring about diverse sociocultural changes. Examining the relation between BTS and their fandom as well as BTS’ online-network-based art form through the concept of Gilles Deleuze, “Rhizome,” she further proposes novel concepts, “network-image” and “sharing value,” which are crucial to understanding the contemporary era’s art form based on the mobile network platform.