I have to first admit that while I started to appreciate K-Music, a tour to an agency is not something I envision I will do in my life. Yet, when one went to a mother-daughter holiday trip, as mother there is desire to experience something she appreciates and see her happy. Therefore one of the pillars of our tour is K-Pop related itinerary. We went to Hybe, Kwangya Signature Shop, YG stores and of course Hybe Insight. It is quite an experience to see so many cute merchandise and they are selling well even on the early morning (or late night), even those with functionalities I do not know for what (for example those cute pillows not to mention photo cards).
I single out Hybe Insight visit because unlike the rest which mostly shops for merchandise, Hybe Insight is defined as museum for its artists. I cannot imagine what kind of museum this is, I am used to the museum that keep arts, contemporary or old masters. This is totally different kind of museum, it is experiential museum. While BTS took center stage in this museum, but we also see that others are featured such as Seventeen and Enhyphen. The museum is situated in the basement of Hybe Head Quarter with area of 4700 m2. The museum focuses on bringing to live how performances, both music and also dance, even costumes are put together. It shows in great detail how music get made and how dance choreography brought to live.
The approach of the museum is multi sensory exhibition, nearly similar with installation art. We see dance steps being put together so visitors can experience the dance while surrounded by large screen of BTS and Seventeen members (Jimin and Vernon) dances, among others, in a section called Dynamic Movement. There is videos to show how dance training takes place to appreciate the effort and the technicality involves as well costumes as well to show how details matter. Costumes are displayed together with the accessories and you can really see how costumes get built for each individuals especially for great star like BTS to allow individuals expression and roles shone through but also to allow each individuals played their roles effectively (dancers vs visuals vs rapper, etc).
There is a section called Innovative Sound that talks about how music get made. There are interviews with producers from BigHit and Pledis, PDogg and Bumzu on how they build the music layer by layer, and to complete the experience, there are exhibits on the working room for RM, Suga and J-Hope as well as several digital musical equipments that the visitors can play with. It illustrates the efforts and the infrastructure once must have to generate great music, it is no difference than any other room of masters, be it paints, fashion, etc.
There were several large video displays played during several stages of visit (this is a guided structure visit, by the way, so your learning is truly structured well), in the beginning to set the stage, at nearly the end to showcase the successes (all those trophies speaks volume) and as well at the end with the Idol talked about their motivation and approaches on mastering their profession.
There is a room dedicated for silence, which is a smart way to help appreciate sound and music by imagining what if there is none.
I love the idea of mastery and excellence in everything I do and involve in. It is not about perfection but about pursuing growth in a discipline and structured manner relentlessly until we can create new. Sports is one area where you see people practice ten thousands time or even more obsessively simple movements reviewing every single practice and correct them until it is effective, efficient and until the athlete ‘own’ the movement.
In Hybe Insight, I learnt that in music excellence is also something that is truly important concept, there is no such thing as light pop. These light pop songs comprise more than 5 sections and multiple layers that are built on a beat by beat with multiple instruments played differently until it becomes ‘catchy’ tunes. The dances also built on a movement by movement that require massive coordination (imagine there are seventeen people on stage dance simultaneously!). I came out feeling inspired to go after excellence even more and to hopefully inspire people to pursue more mastery and excellence and become the best and masters in what they do.
On the lighter note, there is area for game (which my daughter enjoy thoroughly) called Beat Challenge where you have to match the beat. She scored decently and I was too excited to film and forgot it is in the area that I cannot film ( most area you cannot film, some you can take picture, though ). There is another interactive / game area where you can experience music through your movement and then send the picture to yourself. My daughter also tried this, I didn’t (although deep down crying hard wanting to try).
At the end of the museum (just like any other museum), there is a museum shop that everyone goes crazy about buying all kind of merchandise but what is interesting to me is a small corner that sell merchandise from recycled process. Let’s not discussed the appetite to shop by the visitors, let’s just say it must be a decently profitable store.
Verdict : Must Visit. However, they are going to close the museum down by 15th January until further notice, so for those of you planned to go to Seoul after 15th January, check their official website and their twitter first.