‘Trans-Asia as Method’: Asian Fame, Global Celebrity: Analysing PSY and Gangnam Style

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Date(s) - 13/06/2013
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

ACJC Seminar rooms, Building H, 8th floor (H8.06)


 “Asian Fame, Global Celebrity: Analysing PSY and Gangnam Style”

Presenter: A/Prof. Gil-Soo Han (School of English, Communications and Performance Studies)

Discussant: Dr. Jinna Tay (School of Journalism, Australian and Indigenous Studies)

Psy’s hip-hop music video, Gangnam Style, has gone viral since its release in July 2012, attracting more than a billion hits on YouTube by December 2012. The music video has become the most popular in the entire history of website. South Koreans proudly declare that Psy has written a new history of popular music. Psy’s global popularity has been a significant source of encouragement for many Koreans who struggle to keep up with their financial challenges since they identify with his ordinariness and as they envy his success. Interestingly, Psy is satirical about the snobbish Gangnam culture, but his creative performance and the contents of the music video are indeed representative of the very Gangnam culture. Thus Korean audiences sit between admiring and ridiculing Psy. Fun and enjoyment seem to be a key for attraction of the music video as Koreans and global audiences look for their personal time and space in the neo-liberal context. This paper looks for key factors that brought about the popularity of Psy and his Gangnam Style music video in terms of his personal attributes and national and transnational contexts. The paper also seeks to analyse popular media accounts from Korea, and explore the socio-cultural functions and meanings that are varyingly attached to the popularity of Gangnam Style.