It’s a truth universally acknowledged that creativity can transcend the boundaries of language, culture, and history. Art embodies a will to respond to the world, and to communicate that response to others; it is always there, no matter what the era, moving with or despite the times. As such, creative effort gives us ways to understand human life, like messages individually delivered but widely received—about the past, present and possible futures. It is both our heritage and our current advantage, and difficult to ignore.

Connect, BTS is a global project to connect five cities and twenty artists, each of whom contributes their unique philosophy and imagination to it. This project aims to redefine the relationships between art and music, the material and immaterial, artists and their audiences, artists and artists, theory and practice.

Today’s world is one of hyperconnectivity, yes—but is that always how it feels? Alone with their devices, as if watching their lives from afar, filtered, objectively, people can feel increasingly isolated, their confidence damaged. These effects are not always only personal; they can radiate outwards, affecting communities and nations.

BTS the band offers an homage to diversity and originality, a song of special attention to the periphery and the overlooked. Their music is an empathetic vision for the world. Connect, BTS reaches for a collective experience that might be only the beginning of new communication between art, music and people.

Daehyung Lee, artistic director, Connect, BTS

Daehyung Lee (1974) is the artistic director of Connect, BTS. Lee’s path connects different people, ideas, institutions, and genres. He is on the jury for the Ars Electronica Festival’s STARTS Prize and served as the art director of Hyundai Motor Company. He was the curator for the Korean Pavilion for Venice Biennale 2017 and advisor to the interdisciplinary playground ZER01NE in 2018.