Read this to me
Rhizome Connect showed the power of BTS and ARMY
Discussion, inspiration and connection for ARMY and scholars of BTS — those were the intentions behind Rhizome Connect, an online event held by The Rhizomatic Revolution Review  (R³), from August 7th to 16th.
With over 2.000 participants, 55 presentations, and the help of a lot of special people and teams, this free event also offered virtual social spaces to bring attendees together and engage in meaningful discussions.
Let’s remember some highlights from these amazing 9 days!
Seeking our own Magic Shop
2020 started off with great perspectives for ARMY in academia, with the BTS Global Conference in Kingston University, and the launch of projects such as ours, The Rhizomatic Revolution Review  (R³).
BTS also had a promising year ahead with the release of Map of the Soul: 7 and a worldwide tour announcement. As a pandemic caught the entire world by surprise and got in the way of many plans, the tour had to be postponed.
That would not stop BTS from having a remarkable year, as we’d see from all the records broken by 7, as well as the release of SUGA’s second mixtape (D-2), BTS’s online concert Bang Bang Con The Live, and as we shall still see from their upcoming single Dynamite and a new album on the way.
Even though ARMY’s opportunities to see BTS live are still uncertain, we thought of multiple ways to at least stay in touch with each other.
In the true style of BTS’s Magic Shop lyrics (Let’s make a door inside your heart / (…) The Magic Shop will comfort you / (…) You gave me the best of me so you’ll give you the best of you), and inspired by the Global Conference and by Bang Bang Con the Live, R³ created Rhizome Connect for ARMY to create more memories together. And, in the true style of Pied Piper, we also wanted to combine the fun with academic projects related to BTS or ARMY.
A multiplatform event
Rhizome Connect was made of 3 spaces:
- a BallRoom, with social events and pop ups for discussions and interactions, on Discord;
- an Expo Hall, with posters, written or pre-recorded presentations, and booths, available on the Rhizome Connect website during all days of the event;
- the Main Stage, where the live panels and interviews happened, all streamed through Our Magic Shop’s channels on Twitch.
Ballroom brought interaction, fun and discussions
Participants were encouraged to join Discord for social events (selected according to the attendees’s time zones) such as the Sunshine social clubs, Questions & Answers sessions, and pop up topic channels with rotating discussion questions about their favorite BTS concerts, merch, ARMY projects, food, and more.
Optional badge ribbons indicating their pronouns, languages they speak, when they became ARMY, and more, were also offered.
Here’s some fun data we got from them! (Note: this data is self reported and only accounts for some Discord server members)
- 175: 21-30 years
- 65: 16-20 years
- 65: 31-40 years
- 28: 41-50 years
- 9: 10-15 years
- 6: 51-60 years
- 2 were 60 years old or older.
- 331: She/Her
- 13: He/Him
- 1: Zie/Zir
- 325: English speakers
- 60: Spanish speakers
- 36: Portuguese speakers
- 32: French speakers
- 31: Indonesian speakers
- 23: Hindi speakers
- 21: Korean speakers
- 20: German speakers
- 6: Japanese speakers
- 6: Arabic speakers
- 61 Map of the Soul: Persona
- 53 Wings and/or You Never Walk Alone
- 39 Love Yourself: Answer
- 37 Love Yourself: Tear
- 32 Love Yourself: Her
- 30 Map of the Soul: 7
- 29 The Most Beautiful Moment in Life
- Other options: pre debut; 2 Cool 4 Skool; O!RUL8,2?; Skool Luv Affair; Dark & Wild; 2017 AMA; SNL; Carpool Karaoke; and Bang Bang Con; 85 participants.
Expo Hall brought academic insight and fandom experiences
The Expo Hall featured 35 posters, booths, and presentations.
It was a space where many participants presented research findings with topics pertinent to BTS and/or ARMY, and also an opportunity to introduce new fanbases, events, projects and art. Rhizome Connect registrants can access the list and full content of the presentations on the Expo Hall page.
Live events happened on the Main Stage
Rhizome Connect’s live panels took place on the weekend of August 14th to 17th.
The topics varied from the Bangtan Universe (BTS’s fictional universe) to critical analysis of BTS’s media coverage, BTS and mental health, cinematographic analysis of BTS’s Music Videos, academic experiences on BTS research, BTS as inspiration or background for professions and hobbies, fanbase management, and ARMY publishers.
17 live events were in English language, and 3 were in Portuguese.
They are available to watch through Our Magic Shop’s Twitch channels: OurMagicShop and MagicShopp2.
The full list of live panels, presentations and interviews can be accessed on the Main Stage page.
Transparency and accessibility
Because R³’s philosophy encompasses horizontalism of connections and of knowledge-sharing and making, it was important for us that participation and all tools of Rhizome Connect would be free and as accessible to as many people as possible.
For that, the Rhizome Connect pages had translation options; live panels had automatic subtitles; and participants were encouraged to submit presentations in their native languages if they wished so.
The Rhizomatic Revolution Review  (R³) is a registered non-profit in the United States, with 501(c)3 status pending. So far, we operate 100% self-funded.
Rhizome Connect was held with free tools (Google Meets, Twitch, Discord) and a website funded by R³‘s Editorial Board member Mackenzie Rawcliffe.
No fees were charged to the participants, presenters or panelists.
We are thankful for all the technical and operational support we got, which made it possible for us to spend less than U$60,00 to run a global event for 2090 registrants.
R³ will continue to seek ways to increase accessibility, both in our issues and in our future events.
“You never walk alone!”
So many people worked hard to make Rhizome Connect happen.
R³ would like to thank:
- Mackenzie Rawcliffe from R³’s Editorial Board;
- Marri Wright from R³‘s reviewers and marketing team;
- Sydney Rubin;
- Dr. Colette Balmain from R³‘s Advisory Board;
- Our Magic Shop fanbase;
- R³’s marketing staff;
- Dr. Bu Kyunghee from Asia Marketing Journal and R³’s reviewers team;
- all the panelists, presenters;
- all the submitters and registrants who couldn’t present or attend;
- everyone who attended and supported Rhizome Connect.
Hopefully we will meet again in 2021!In the meantime, please keep up with R³’s future activities and issues.