Project Spaceship is a structured but flexible tool for “post-concert meaning making” created for ARMYs who will experience BTS’ Permission to Dance On Stage shows in Los Angeles in November / December, 2021. By preparing for the aftermath of the 4-night concert series before it even begins, I hope that Project Spaceship will help us both comfort and soften post-concert depression and transform our experiences into connection, growth, and inspiration.

Why a spaceship?

“In my view, BTS concerts take place in an entirely different galaxy. Landing softly back on Earth doesn’t just happen naturally.”

I wrote these words in April 2021. The first anniversary of COVID lockdown in the US had come and gone, and the second anniversary of when I had last seen BTS on tour was fast approaching. I wasn’t yet eligible for the vaccine. It was unclear what the rest of the year would hold. I was yearning for concerts and the specific, transcendent feeling of connection they create, like nothing else can. Actually, part of me was dying for it.

Now in November of 2021, we find ourselves just weeks away from BTS’ first reunion with ARMY since the pandemic. It will be in the same city where Namjoon put a name to the feeling: “This is communion.” That happens to be the same show I relived via DVD while writing my article about endings.

When I look back on that piece, I think this is the most important part:

“Perhaps there is untapped opportunity to create scaffolding around post-concert depression (or general post-concert meaning-making) and reminiscence once touring is possible again. Perhaps we can go even further, too: how might we harness the energizing, fulfilling aspects of our experience to not just recover well but to amplify our ‘joy and euphoria’ (Yap, 2020) in other parts of our lives?”

Project Spaceship (#PTD_LA_ProjectSpaceship) is a first step in trying to help myself and fellow ARMYs answer these questions. Let me explain…

A message sent in June 2021, looking back on their last concert with ARMY from October 2019: 너와 나, ‘우리’가 만나 가장 아름답게 빛났던 그 순간. 2021년 아름다운 별빛이 가득한 이곳에서 다시 만날 ‘우리’를 꿈꾸며. The moment that most beautifully shone when you and I became “we.” Dreaming of our reunion under the beautiful starlight in 2021.

Here’s how Project Spaceship works.

Project Spaceship (PS) consists of a Google Calendar, a Twitter account, and a series of Twitter hashtags. In these ways, PS will deliver time-sensitive prompts for ARMYs to reflect and share on topics related to BTS’ Permission to Dance (PTD) On Stage – LA shows in the weeks both before and after the concerts. #PTD_LA_ProjectSpaceship is designed for any ARMY who will experience any part of the 4-night series in any way, whether at SoFi Stadium, Live Play, or live-streaming from anywhere in the world.

You don’t have to subscribe to the Google Calendar to participate. However, since the prompts are designed for engagement at specific points in time, you may find it easier to follow them with the help of the calendar. PS is about planning and preparing well, so I recommend the Google Calendar to people who already use online calendars for that. I also suggest turning on your Google Calendar notifications so you can receive reminders as calendar alerts. Subscribe to the calendar by clicking this link.

You can also get updates and reminders by following Project Spaceship on Twitter and (if you want) turning on tweet notifications.

There are 3 phases to Project Spaceship.

Phase 1: Countdown. Began Nov 20

This was not your typical countdown. Rather than counting down to the start of the concerts, I counted down to the end of Night One, the “first ending” of the concert series. By contemplating and planning for the end in different ways before it even begins, I intended for ARMYs to be better equipped to confront whatever feelings and thoughts emerge after the shows were over. Not all of the prompts were about endings, though. There was also space to savor the excitement of anticipation.

There were 7 Countdown prompts: one for each day in the week leading up to the first show. See the Twitter thread here.

Phase 2: Soft Landing. From Nov 27 to Dec 2

I don’t believe that post-concert depression (PCD) is something to be avoided or eliminated. The truth is, many ARMYs who experienced PTD On Stage – LA had PCD “symptoms” in one form or another. The Soft Landing prompts were about providing support and connection for the moments when PCD would likely be most intense: the day immediately following each concert. I hoped to soften the harsher symptoms, reach out and comfort each other, and open ourselves to the possibility of personal growth that sometimes flows from intense or transcendent experiences.

There was one primary Soft Landing prompt shared after each of the four concert nights, plus another prompt for the period in-between consecutive shows. You can see a thread of Soft Landing content on Twitter here.

Phase 3: Reentry. Final prompt on Jan 2, 2022

Coming fully back down to Earth, navigating the aftermath of the concerts—what I am calling reentry—is the heart of Project Spaceship. And it’s the hardest part. There is no map. We won’t all necessarily be on the same journey.

During this time, I am suggesting a number of pathways for exploring the personal significance of the event and capitalizing on the positive, energizing, and meaningful aspects of the experience.

The Reentry prompts are spread out over the month following the final show, with the last one on January 2, 2022. You can see the in-progress Reentry thread on Twitter here.

Behind The Spaceship

PS is a prototype. It’s an educated guess at what might help ARMYs to prepare for, work through, and ultimately transform PCD, so that our meaningful concert experiences can become an even richer, more powerful, more connective, and more positive resource in our post-show lives.

PS is “evidence-informed.” While designing this project, I referred to some findings from psychology, especially positive psychology. I have been posting about some of these references on the project’s Twitter account using #PTD_LA_ProjectSpaceship.

Of course, this project has not been done before, so I don’t know how it will all turn out. Maybe there will be some parts that deeply resonate with you, and other parts that don’t. I hope you will take it all as an invitation to explore what works for you, and not as instruction on what you absolutely “should” do (there is no such thing anyway).

I am not formally studying PS and its effects or outcomes. But I am very interested in your feedback at any point during or after the project. Please tell me what you like, what you don’t like, what’s helpful, and how you think a project like this could be improved by DMing or tagging Project Spaceship (@ARMY_Spaceship) on Twitter.

Thank you to BTS and everyone who will join me on this little journey. 🚀

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