K-Pop and Art

Doom Dada by T.O.P

Who would’ve thought? but in reality, music is a form of art, and so is K-Pop. So Bigbang’s main rapper and now a successful actor, Choi Seunghyun (aka T.O.P)’s new music video is out and I couldn’t help but dig deeper into it because quite honestly, all the symbolism was just killing me… but with no official word from YG or TOP himself (who wrote the lyrics), I’ve decided to trust my intuition and approach it from my point of view:


(Image source: About.com)

Abstract-Surrealism. Dadaism.

An informal international movement that began soon after the World War I, Dadaism is more than art, rather an artistic reflection of the society, the ugliness of it.

“Dada rejected reason and logic, prizing nonsense, irrationality and intuition.”- Dona Budd’s The Language of Art Knowledge

Known as a political movement against the bourgeois nationalist and colonialist groups which were believed to be the reason for the war at the time, Dada can be considered a rebellious behavior of a group of artists against the cultural conformity.

What’s ‘reason’ and ‘logic’ when not everyone agrees with it? Who sets the standard and rules anyway? If there is no way I’m going to be able to fully understand what the others are trying to force me into believing, is that ‘logic’? Such questions seem to be what motivated the Dadaism movement- it was a way for them to express their rejection of the ideology through art. While some say Dada was more “anti-art” than art, as I mentioned in the previous post, then what is art? Well, if a work is only considered art when it’s beautiful to look at, is that art? But that doesn’t mean that everyone, 100% of the world population to be exact, will agree that it’s beautiful, because after all, we all come with a different level of understanding for art, and simply just conflicting preferences. Hence, in essence, art should not be constricted in one criteria aka aesthetics, but various types of art should be embraced and enjoyed (i.e. Pop Art). Art is a way to express and celebrate individual freedom, which sometimes acts as a soundless communicative tool to convey a message that contains social issues.

A central figure in New York and France, Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) was revolutionary in that he turned industrial objects into artistic pieces, illustrating how industrial revolution had changed the everyday life with technology as part of everyday life. If Henri Matisse created what’s called “retinal art” that pleases the eye, he wanted to create one that stimulates the mind. And his works did just that, with initial response being. ‘what is that, how is that art?

Dada was not made to impress the general public but “offend.” Hugo Ball, a Dadaist was spot on when he said, “For us, art is not an end in itself, but it is an opportunity for the true perception and criticism of the times we live in.”

I am not an artist nor an art historian, but I do understand how certain traumatic world events breathe a new life into something innovative and experimental. It can be disturbing and obnoxious for some, but that is the exactly what makes the world amazing, the diversity and beauty of it all.

Even though Dadaism is often described as “a phenomenon bursting forth in the midst of the postwar economic and moral crisis, a savior” and sometimes a monster, it was a voice and cry of people seeking help, a historic event that acted as a groundwork for new breed of art such as avant-garde, surrealism, and pop art.

It’s not clear what “Doom Dada” really means, but from what I see and feel from the music video, there is more to it than the Space Odyssey reference, more than Choi’s beautiful face. This is a message to the audience, the media- what the technology has fundamentally done to the human race. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider Korean Pop Music. It’s grown, and grown quite a bit.



© 2013 – 2014, Tomi. All rights reserved.

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