The Art House of Kpop

Philtre - "Last Scene"

Groups like Girls’ Generation and Super Junior may get all the attention, but there’s a lot more to Kpop than big name groups releasing hit after hit single. There are Korean musicians out there releasing music videos that can only be describe as art. Many of the videos coming out of Mystic89 qualify. So do the majority of these strange MVs. So how do we place these within the larger context of Kpop?

Art house is a term for a film that is artistic or experimental, rather than merely entertaining. It began as a way to refer to the theaters that specialized in artistic film, but is now synonymous with any art that is not part of the commercial mainstream. That last part is key, and something that is nearly impossible for the major groups. But even within the heavily manufactured world of Kpop, there exists a subset of music videos that can be defined as art house. Amazingly, importantly, there are artists in Kpop that are experimenting with the music video as a form of art, as something more important than hits on YouTube. These are their stories.

Puer Kim - “Oh”


A ferris wheel on low quality film. We step into a carriage and ride to the top. No view to speak of. Thick tubes of steel like spokes on a bicycle. It’s bright, but overcast. Perfect filming whether, the clouds diffusing light into soft, even rays. Puer Kim saying “Oh.” We move not at all. The giant wheel must be turning but we hardly notice. We’re sitting so very still. But not Puer Kim. Her shoulders sway. Her mouth forms perfect words. Oh, oh, oh, oh. Our view is Puer Kim. We are so still, and yet we move. We move at the request of her lips, we spin in soft, graceful circles, even trips around the sun. The clouds cover our view today. Will we remember this moment, one year from now?

Verbal Jint (feat. Eddy Kim) - “I Smell Autumn”


A mechanical motion. Raise the metal body. Feel it against the crest of eyebrow and nose. Find a subject in the viewfinder. Cradle the focus. Plunge the index finger down. Click. A simple noise. As if nothing happened, nothing changed. Shadow against a wall. An image trapped for all eternity in irradiated film. A woman passes by. Dreams in a field of grass. Fleeting. Dreams that you will print on resin paper and tack to your wall. Ice cream melts against the pavement.

Philtre (feat. Choiza and Lim Kim) - “Last Scene”


She wraps her ankles in strips of satin. A world of color, and she chooses black, white. A voice from another body wakes you. She waits for you. What was the question? There is something so vulnerable in the human face. Eyes smeared with emotion. Lips raw, red. Blood against the sheets.

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