This dissertation explores the multidimensional phenomenon of K-pop through the lens of hyperobjects, emphasizing its relevance to design and frames a new perspective on designing for music culture. K-pop, originating from South Korea, has evolved into a global music and entertainment industry, captivating a diverse international audience and transcending traditional boundaries. However, comprehending the complexity and impact of K-pop necessitates a fresh perspective that acknowledges its hyperobject-like nature.
Drawing upon Timothy Morton's concept of hyperobjects, this study employs a multidimensional analytical framework to examine the interconnected aspects of K-pop within the context of design. By conceptualizing K-pop as a hyperobject with qualities of nonlocality, temporal scale, and vastness, this research endeavors to shed light on its elusive nature and the multifaceted forces at play within the industry.
The dissertation adopts a mixed-methods approach, integrating qualitative analyses, design research, media theory, and philosophy to emphasize the relevance of design in understanding and interpreting K-pop as a hyperobject.
The literature review encompasses an exploration of theories, such as object-oriented ontology, Actor Network Theory, superflat, and Benjamin Bratton’s concept of ‘the Stack’, to establish a theoretical foundation for understanding the role of design in the creation and dissemination of K-pop's narratives and cultural significance. Additionally, it examines existing research on hyperobjects, popular culture, and globalization to situate this study within the broader academic discourse.
Qualitative methods employed in this research include in-depth interviews with K-pop fans to better understand K-pop material culture. Through content analysis of music videos, fan interactions, and social media discourse, the study delves into the visual, symbolic, and subtextual elements that contribute to K-pop's hyperobject-like nature and its implications for design. The research reveals that a perspective of K-pop as hyperobject creates a new paradigm away from the Holism of Modernism, and the cynicism.
Moreover, this research investigates the transnational spread of K-pop and how network interactions between fans and idols are successfully designed by official agencies. By examining the intricate relationships between fandom, technology, and globalization, the study explores how K-pop functions as a hyperobject that transcends physical borders, blurring the boundaries between virtual and physical realities, and influencing design practices and cultural phenomena on a global scale.
By unraveling the multidimensional narratives and cultural significance embedded within K-pop, this dissertation contributes to the academic discourse, particularly in the field of design, by providing insights into the role of design in shaping and communicating hyperobjects. It offers a deeper understanding of K-pop's global impact and its implications for design processes, visual communication strategies, and cultural analysis. Ultimately, this research highlights the broader relevance of studying popular culture, media, and globalization to better frame the objectives of designing for music culture.