Interview with “EXP” members As a member of such a unique boy band setting, what do you guys think of this project and how do you envision pop music could exist in the art world? (an excerpted conversation between the IMMABB team and EXP band members)
Frankie: I certainly believe that pop music can exist in the fine art world when it’s presented in that form. Today most music is released on the radio and on TV and very rarely, if ever, is it introduced in an art exhibition or museum. When you give the fine arts world a chance to look at pop music as a fine art, they can see it in a more literal art form.
David: I would place this project on movie screens around a museum. No sound needed.
Bora: Why no sound?
David: I want people to guess what we are doing and why we are doing it, and silence allows the people who are viewing us to use their own imagination and form their own opinion.
Koki: I like this project because we are not Korean boys, it presents the contrast of cultural differences in a pleasing package.
Sime: It would be an interesting concept to non-Koreans because we are talking about Korean culture here, but not a lot of people understand it. For instance, when we talked to Yoahn (Han), he was saying there are so many small things that surprise people. It also must be interesting for you guys to see how we are taking up that culture.
Samantha: That is how different cultures communicate with each other.
Karin: Or don’t communicate with each other.
Hunter: Boy bands are so manufactured and machine-made. It would be very interesting to do what ‘N Sync had (that whole no strings attached thing). We have strings attached to us at certain points, and they show that a lot of these are forced or made, an idea of what should be.
Koki: Not only manufactured, boy bands are also imagining “a perfect version of male,” somehow we are like figurines. We should make a line of action figures.
Tarion: What if we are these figurines in the center that have strings attached to us, and when people come in there are these different buttons they could press, and we will learn 3 or 4 songs to do when they press the buttons. You know like Power Rangers when they all morph together, they become this huge machine, but they are different parts of that machine. So we are separate, but we come together.
Hunter: Or we could put six samples of our semen, and people need to taste them and guess which belongs to whom. (Laughter)
Bora: That could actually be a good art piece.
Bora: “ I wanted to see what would happen if I made American boys into K-pop performers, by teaching them how to sing in Korean and act like Korean boys, and complicate this flow/appropriation even more, since I’m in New York, where so many talents are just one online recruitment ad away.”
“Look, didn’t you know you can’t live on salt water?
The ocean inside you was a poison
When you let it all out through your eyes and from
between your lips for him.
Pick up all your clothes
strewn across floor as though you thought you could
take your skin off for him.
Didn’t you know?
No one wants to see the
flesh above your bones as if your
whole life were a reopened wound.
Listen, don’t try to
take the words out of his mouth.
He leaves and you write about him,
he gets up and leaves you
and you write about him,
but only what you
wish he had said.
Do you even remember the sound of your own voice beneath your tongue?
Whatever you want to say love,
You’re shaking like a leaf before him,
you’re glancing sideways when you step out of the shower,
you’re keeping your hands away from the tender places.
You crawl into yourself, you curl into yourself beneath
the sheets and you are naked and you are scared
and it is cold and you are alone.
What kind of life is this?
Always reaching for something other than
A tenderness of skin has been your birthright.
A fragility of heart.
But you can love
and be whole.
You don’t have to choose.”