Looking back on our past conversations on RPF this past year, we have asked questions concerning what these real people have to do with fandom: how can what we perceive as real life be as fascinating and frustrating as fiction? Maybe specifically in media fandoms, we have learned to read their bodies through reading the character’s bodies for subtext. That would suggest that the real person is interesting as long as they are a derivation of a character. This derivation can be rooted in the visual image of the real person. These earlier posts would suggest that the interest in the real person is aroused by a parallel fictional person. Of course, to state that would be provocation to everyone who knows about music or sport fandoms (and I certainly don’t cover everything else by these two words). Hong Sooyun offers up a framework that can be extended to include all the RPF that doesn’t have an easily accessible fictional character ready.

(The) narrative concept of “EXO Planet”, in which a single concept is articulated across multiple forms of performance (music videos, stage performances, variety shows) and across multiple media platforms (TV, YouTube, virtual reality), can be read as a microcosm of the general K-pop experience. In both cases, the kaleidoscope is anchored by the idols themselves: not in their public personar or their private selves but rather as “charactes” that embody the performative negotiation between the two.


Hong describes the bodies of these idols as what makes the resonance possible while the narrative itself can move through infinite transfigurations.

Tentatively, a conclusion I am leaning towards is that this specific way the character’s stories go through repetition and variation is what makes them fannish, instead of the next bestseller biography. What do you say, is that a worthwhile direction to go in?

Fascination and Frustration in Real Life
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