i/o disco

i/o disco is an interactive installation which was unveiled at EDC Las Vegas 2022, a 3-day electronic music festival among the largest in the world. Inspired by old school arcade games, the power of music, and the story of the first house DJs in Chicago, the installation featured an original two-player cooperative rhythm-based game, House Hero. i/o disco was enjoyed by thousands of festival-goers in May 2022.

I was contracted by Project Wonder, the creators of i/o disco, as a project manager and for my expertise in games and experiential.

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‘Cause it’s not over til it’s over: 4 nights of Permission to Dance On Stage in LA

I have something to confess. During the countdown I designed to help BTS’ fandom, ARMY, prepare for their long-awaited return to real life concerts, I sometimes didn’t take my own advice. Like on November 24th, three days before the start of Permission to Dance On Stage – LA, a four-show engagement at SoFi Stadium. I posted a journaling prompt encouraging ARMYs to savor their feelings of anticipation, inspired by a writing exercise that was shown to increase how much college students remembered enjoying their spring breaks (Chun, Diehl, & MacInnis, 2017). I believed—I still believe—that it’s a useful strategy to more fully enjoy something you are looking forward to.

But I never did that journaling exercise myself. I was afraid to.

How do you even begin to approach emotions that have been two years in the making?

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Strong Experiences with BTS’ Music

“I don’t know what came over me but I cried for hours repeating the song over and over again. I didn’t cry beacuse of the visuals or sound itself. I cried beacuse the song made me feel loved. It was like that song pulled me back to myself.”

anonymous BTS fan

I was a presenter at BTS: A Global Online Interdisciplinary Conference, a virtual event that took place May 1-2, 2021. The conference was hosted by California State University, Northridge.

My presentation was on the topic of Strong Experiences with Music (SEMs). It included preliminary findings from my mixed-methods study of BTS fans (known as ARMY) about their most intense experiences with BTS’ music, and any lasting effects or personal growth outcomes they attribute to those experiences.

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Luv, Happiness, & Dynamite

“We just hope the world gets more positive, and be happy. That’s our goal.”

RM speaking about BTS’ new single “Dynamite,” USA Today

Recently, I presented a piece of writing on BTS and positive psychology at an online ARMY conference. In describing different approaches that a positive psychology perspective could offer for understanding and amplifying BTS’ positive influence, I purposefully excluded positive emotions as a major topic. That was a mistake. I was trying to avoid the (understandable, incorrect) perception that positive psychology is only interested in “surface-level happiness”—that it’s only about feeling good. But by doing so, I played into a pattern that I actually want to reject: the undervaluation of joy.

“Dynamite” is an explosively happy song, and the music video is bursting with exuberant dance-around-your-bedroom and rainbow-firework energy. It’s a timely reminder that “just feeling good” is actually much more important and impactful than the pleasantness of the fleeting emotions themselves. “Dynamite” is a testament to the fact that we ought to take happiness, and the things that bring us happiness, seriously.

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BTS and positive psychology: New pathways for exploring BTS’ effect on well-being

I presented a virtual booth (short paper) on the topic of “BTS and positive psychology: New pathways for exploring BTS’ effect on well-being” at Rhizome Connect, a virtual social and scholarly event for BTS fans. The conference took place August 7 – 16, 2020 and was presented by the Rhizomatic Revolution Review, a peer-reviewed publication about BTS.

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Bang Bang Con: The Live – Experience Design Case Study of a Virtual Concert

Last weekend at around 4:30 AM, I rolled over to turn off my alarm, already wide awake from excitement for a virtual concert by BTS called Bang Bang Con: The Live. I had slept in my “concert outfit” (merch t-shirt) and my ARMY Bomb lightstick was on my bedside table ready to go. Waking up at crazy hours for BTS is sort of a no-brainer for me at this point; in fact it all feels like part of the experience for ARMYs who live outside of Asia and Oceania. I tweeted to assure my ARMY friends I was awake.

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