BTS is always looking for a way to connect with their fans from every corner of the planet. And their latest project does just that by taking the group’s 2020 global art exhibition and turning it into an e-book that highlights the artists involved in the project while revisiting the installations. “CONNECT, BTS: A Glimpse of the Global Public Art Project” is a 400-page look back at the art exhibits the K-pop septet put on last year in London, Buenos Aires, Berlin, New York and Seoul that aimed to “connect five cities and 22 artists, each of whom contributes their unique philosophy and imagination.”
The event that took place from January-March 2020 as part of a celebration of the group’s seventh anniversary and the release of their album Map of the Soul: 7, included the unveiling of a large aluminum and steel sculpture by Antony Gormely in New York in early February.“It’s the belief that diversity can create a world where differences do not render us apart but ‘connect’ us together through our uniqueness,” the group said in a statement about the book that was released on Monday (March 29) in English and Korean. “We hope that you can be a part of CONNECT, BTS through this shared belief, and we hope that here is true inspiration awaiting our discovery.”
CONNECT kicked off on Jan. 14, 2020, with free exhibitions of works by the artists Tomás Saraceno, Jakob Kudsk Steensen, Ann Veronica Janssens and Yiyun Kang as well as 17 performance artists and teams including Jelili Atiku. Daehyung Lee, the curator of Connect, BTS, spoke to Billboard after the formal unveiling of the artwork in New York, describing the project’s goal of bridging the gaps of human connection. “When I had a very casual conversation with the BTS members and Big Hit [staff], we shared the view of the role of art in our society and how in the future it should be different from the past,” Lee said.
“Art is a really proven lens for all of us to understand different people and different cultures, but that good virtue and that good message has been trapped in the silo of the institutionalized [art world], so only a limited number of people have access. That’s the sad reality, yet at the same time we keep witnessing all the dividers around the world, for economic and political reasons, and we are building invisible walls around the world. [At the same time] people are communicating virtually, through [social media], with the same taste, same visions, but we are building huge and thicker walls. We keep forgetting how to communicate properly with our own neighbors, so that causes a huge problem because as human beings we have to be connected, we are social animals.”